I recently updated my mugshot, the picture the Toronto Star uses on my blog and occasionally in the paper.
A few generous readers complimented me on the photo.
I just finished a disgusting meal from one of those "Italian" pizza/pasta chain restaurants.
I walked in to find half the gym occupied by a throng of out-of-breath middle-aged women trying to keep up with a spastic aerobics instructor. Their clothes soaked with sweat, the ladies flailed their limbs off the beat of the tinny techno playing from what could only have been a Casio boombox. So close were they to complete coordination failure, I thought the odds were good one of them would tumble into the exercise machines.
Continuing my walkabout, I noticed a troublingly high number of spray bottles for cleaning sweat off equipment.
Now convinced the local drinking water was causing a hyperhidrosis epidemic, I fled to the nearest exit, and saw eight framed pictures on the wall. Every image depicted the same gang of middle-aged aerobics women in action, but in each the women were dressed in a different costume. Hockey jerseys. Lumberjackets. Togas. Mother of God.
I cannot wait to get back to my gym.
During the work week, I go to the gym Mondays and Wednesdays, between 5 and 6:30.
It started out as the time tainer Joe was available, but after my sessions with him ended I kept up the routine.
And why not? I grew comfortable in that time window and familiar with the regulars. Bobby Shortpants. Guy whose shoulders are so wide and waist so thin he looks as if he has wings. And the rail-thin woman wasting away on the elliptical. I knew who I'd see and what to expect. Used to the rhythms of gym life between 5 and 6:30 on Monday and Wednesday, I knew when it was safe to go in the locker room and when it was populated with exercisers prone to aggressive nudity.
But this past Wednesday I could not make my regularly scheduled trip to the gym. No big deal, right? I went Thursday at 5 pm instead. And found my workout world had been turned upside down.
It was like a different gym. New people. Different smells. The music pumping out of the gym speakers was 80s rock instead of techno.
I began, as usual, with a brisk walk on the treadmill. On a machine beside me was Winnipeg White. It was not his sweat-soaked red T-shirt or saggy shorts that drew my attention, but his bright white legs. Not a blue trace of vein or splotch on the skin. Just featureless white legs - the kind you see in Florida on middle-aged tourists from the Midwest.
From there, I walked toward the weight room and into bottomless stare of Hungry Eyes. About 40 years old and muscular, the man made no effort to hide his interest in me. And this was while he was pumping his legs on a resistance machine. No heavy breathing or signs of exertion, as if the upper part of his body was unaware of what the lower was doing. Just staring at me.
I cycled through my weights quicker than usual to get hell out of that room.
Back to the treadmill for a jog. In front of me was an overweight man labouring on an elliptical with the elan of a partially tranquilized hippopotamus. He was leaning way back, his face curled in anguish. He was closer to a major medical event than any other exerciser I have seen.
On a Thursday evening, the smell of sweat in the gym is as tangy as always yet somehow different. I think if I spent even a minute searching for the right adjective to describe this particular variety of sweat, it would be a new professional low for me.
Eight adventurous days in Morocco - including a night in the Sahara, a drive along the switchbacks of the Atlas Mountains and four hours straddling the unforgiving back of a camel - and yet somehow this trip was the laziest, most detrimental to my health, I've ever had.
I went to Morocco for a friend's wedding. Before I left, I expressed concern about interrupting my workout momentum.
Blog readers offered advice.
Other readers recommended I pack a resistance band. I had never heard of such a thing.
I am about to go to northwest Africa for a wedding. What can I say? I am an international man of leisure.
But seriosuly, I am worried about the interruption to my exercise regimen.
I will miss at least three gym sessions. And with little but eating and drinking on the itinerary for the first few days and nights of this trip, I could be faced with starting back at the lightest end of the weight stacks upon my return.
Maybe I can lessen the effects of the debauchery during the second leg of the trip ... when I will be in the freaking DESERT!
I am trying not to second-guess my decision to join a bunch of other wedding goers, also city slickers from North America, on a safari. Sounds fun, I know. Once in a lifetime opportunity, and all that.
But by now you know me. I am a nervous nelly. I need to control. Exacerbating these crippling tendencies is the fact that I don't smoke anymore. What am I going to do in the desert? I will be voluntarily putting myself without reach, alongside a bunch of people who have also never done this kind of thing, where I can't smoke and where, if something happened like I got impaled by an errant tree goat, I could do nothing but accept my fate. Sounds like a recipe for massive, stress-induced weight loss.
I will keep you posted ...
I just finished eating some clumpy, tooth-cracking hippie cereal to try to atone for the excesses of the last several days.
The big deal that I am - don't let the one to five reader comments per blog post deceive you - companies, p.r. firms and various hangers-on often solicit me to promote their products and ideas.
4) Cell phones on the treadmill. There's this dork who keeps his BlackBerry in the pocket of his retro three-stripe jogging pants. I think he wears them in an effort to appear street credible. But his Yorkville haircut, sheared at varying lengths near the top and mussed just so, says he is anything but. What could be so important that he can't wait until after his 20-minute jog? I don't know because I crank up my iPod when his phone rings.