Weighty Matters for My Sins

“All you do is laugh, eat, and lose weight.”

So said my lovely bride one morning after stepping off the scale and not enjoying the numbers she was seeing. Logic dictates that a spouse’s weight gain is directly attributable to the actions of the other. Twas I after all who forced her to bake that recent lasagna. And the scones from the day earlier.

Her point about the weight loss is true, though. For the last couple of years I am an embodiment of The Incredible Shrinking Man. I hear regularly now about how my gluteus maximus region can no longer be located on a map. The part about my eating, however, is also true. I eat healthy portions at all meals; it just never sticks to my bones. In the eight years since I retired, I’ve gone from a size 34 waist to a 30.

This all came to a head last week when I visited our clinic for my annual physical. Our doctor since moving here in 2017 retired last year, and we’ve been assigned to a new one in the same practice. Gorgeous decided that she wanted to sit in on the appointment. She had questions. Apparently an agenda too.

When the topic of my appetite and weight came up, the doctor said that she felt that my overall body mass index is in a healthy range for my size, weight, etc. She explained that any weight loss is due to a reduction of muscle mass, which is quite common in older adults (clinically referred to as sarcopenia). We were told that muscle mass decreases approximately 3โ€“8% per decade after the age of 30, and this rate of decline is even higher after the age of 60 (I am 62). She suggested that one way to regain a bit of that mass is to include some weight training in my gym routine.

At this Gorgeous shot me a look. I am not a fan of weights. In fact, I detest weight training. My idea of weight training is carrying the grocery bags up to our condo from the car. Back in high school, I was always being lectured to by my track and field coach for skipping out on the required visits to the weight room at the end of each practice. In my mind, I didn’t need upper body strength to jump quickly over hurdles. It was my legs doing all of that work.

Of course, my track hero at the time, Edwin Moses, clearly wasn’t agreeing with me.

Edwin Moses. Source: Athletics Weekly

I know, right? I’m Edwin’s twin

All of your other vitals look good,” the doctor said. “Just keep eating the right things, but try working on increasing that muscle mass if you can.”

Gorgeous said nothing on the way home. She didn’t need to because her swaggering expression said everything.

For the last several years, we’ve engaged in a bit of a cold war on the values of our respective gym routines. While aerobics are a major part of each of our workouts, it’s after that point where we go our separate ways until we meet again at the exit to go home. She will head right to the weight machines, while I go to the floor mat area and work on my core stretching routine. Strengthening my core muscles has provided me relief in so many different areas, including my sleeping comfort. I keep telling Gorgeous that she needs to do the same, while she parrots back her own weight training benefits right back at me. Until now, it’s been a bit of a stalemate.

The very next day we visited the gym, and after our aerobic workouts I agreed to take my medicine and have her show me her own weight routines. This has always been the part of the gym that I walk by “tsk-tsking” to myself as I glance over at her sparring with either the lat pulldown or the seated overhead press. Now I was having to tackle the very instruments I’d successfully avoided all of my life.

And one of us was enjoying it all a little too much.

No one likes a show off!

I admit to some exaggeration here, dear reader. I have sampled the weight machines a bit over the years. Similar to when I “sample” the roasted butternut squash with kale at Thanksgiving. My brief forays into gym weight areas have been like visiting a foreign land where the language and customs are mostly unknown. I’ve sauntered in, completed a rep or two on the leg press, and then beat feet back to those safe environs that neither strain my muscles nor my pride.

I’ve now been to the gym twice now since that doctor visit, and both times I’ve included weights in my workout. Like using any new muscle in a different way for the first time, I’m experiencing a bit of soreness in both my arms. It’s somewhat depressing when even 10 or 15 pound weights will do that. Just to show I’m nobody’s fool, I’ve made sure to put the setting back to 60 or 70 pounds before wiping down and walking away. It’ll be our little secret. One swallow doesn’t make a summer.

I’m determined to keep it up and continue if for no other reason that I refuse to be the butt of any further mocking of my ever-shrinking body, so to speak. But it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Until next time…

27 thoughts on “Weighty Matters for My Sins

  1. I started weight-training (again) at the end of March…for the same reasons as your doc stated. I want to maintain (and even increase) my stamina and ability to perform everyday activities, even as I age. I’ll be writing about this journey on Ye Olde Blogge in a few weeks…but let me just say I have been completely humbled by where I have had to start at. The good news is that I am already seeing improvement. Gorgeous is wise as well as beautiful!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. My gym closed so I only have a walking routine now. I miss (not!) the upper arm machines. I always hated them but dutifully did them because I should. I’ve got great legs and my joints are properly lubed and oiled but my arms are skinny and baggy! Good luck with your new routine! Love the smile (smirk?) on Gorgeous’ face!

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  3. My husband and I purchased a weight set (one that comes all together, all we need to do is adjust it for the different weights… if that makes any sense). Anyway, it is hardly used and I feel pretty guilty about it (does that count as a workout?). I really need to heed your doctor’s warning and get back at it.

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    1. Kind of like all those treadmills out there that are used as a drying rack for clothes? Sorry, I’m probably not helping here! To be honest, that’s one of the reasons why I never bought a home exercise machine — I have to force myself to leave the home in order to do it! That did present some challenges during lockdown, let me tell ya. Good luck, Janis. I’m sure you’ll get back to it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. OMG Marty, you had me in stitches! Does all that laughing count as weight-bearing exercise? I mean, my hubby has been on a ‘diet’ to lose weight and is steadily losing consistently along with doing x’s (what I call exercises) and me? Ever plugging along, that old scale doesn’t seem to budge. And so I’m with Gorgeous – grumble, grumble about the numbers after stepping off that mean taskmaster scale.
    She deserves feeling smug IMHO!
    Oh and yeah, you could be Edwin’s youthful twin – facial expression and all!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just joined a local gym in our new home town and I hear you on the pain. What I don’t hear you say (except for reading between the lines) is that Gorgeous was right! Haha! Good for you both being gym regulars!

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  6. Gorgeous looks gorgeous! And you look great too – although you really do not look like you are enjoying that weight training at all. A year ago, I began doing a 10 – 25 minute weight routine first thing in the morning each day. I also do a 50-minute online session with friends twice a week. Once I got into the routine, it was easy-peasy. And the morning sessions I complete before my body & brain have fully woken up and can begin to protest. ๐Ÿ˜€ Good luck with your workouts. My they stick as well!

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    1. I really *REALLY* admire you for doing it first thing, Donna. Iโ€™m such a linear slave to habit that I donโ€™t think I can go out of order (i.e., aerobic first, stretching, and then weights). A put down in my family about sticking too closely to routine was that someone was โ€œprogrammedโ€. And that was before the invention of personal computer! I guess Iโ€™m programmed. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜†


  7. Ah, the reality of aging – saggy, baggy, and shrinking. Gardening season is my gym membership but winter months require the treadmill with the book holder. Seriously, the most important thing we could probably do for ourselves is join a gym on the day we retire. Of course, going to the gym is the challenge. You guys both look great, so soldier on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are some parts of the gym workout I love– the aerobic part for sure because it comes so naturally to me, plus I’m in a private zone listening to either music or a podcast. But the rest of (i.e. stretching) and now the weights is, well, work. But it has to be done, so that’s that!

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  8. So that’s the cause of the every shrinking rear of many an older man! Mystery solved, thanks Marty ๐Ÿ˜€

    I haven’t been a gym rat since I gave up smoking decades ago. I got really into it… until I injured my back. Now I stick to core strengthening exercises, as I’m afraid of tipping myself back into long-term injury. That said, I need to be more regular and routine like with my exercising which is decidedly hit & miss atm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s good to get to, ‘er, the bottom of that one, Deb. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Core strengthening is definitely the one thing that has saved me. Glad to know you’re doing that for yourself. It resolves so many things such as back and neck pain, plus one’s sleeping comfort. But I guess I’m going to have to pay attention to my muscles now too. Ugh.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. First, I have never thought to go with my husband to his annual physical. You can do that? As for strength training, I’m scowling right there with you. In my experience that’s how you get hurt. Something gets pulled out of whack & suddenly you need to see a doctor again. I can’t for sure but it seems like a scam to me, a way to get you into the office again. ๐Ÿคจ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We laughed at your response here, Ally. Not at you but at us! Gorgeous said from now on she wants me at her yearly gynecological appointment and mammogram. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We’ve each gone in for selective appointments for the other one, mainly to have a second set of ears and/or if one of us (usually her) has questions. In this instance, my weight loss was a concern to her. As usual, her argument prevailed.

      I agree about the dangers of weights. Things can happen. I once suffered a back spasm when I returned home because I lifted incorrectly. Needless to say I’m always wary of them.

      Liked by 1 person

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