Editor’s Letter: January 2019

Some people really seem to love the gym. I see these people when I’m at the gym looking like I might be having a medical emergency. They talk to each other about workout stuff. Their clothes seem to be purpose-bought workout gear as opposed to free T-shirts from events they’ve attended over the years.

Their Facebook profiles are littered with pictures of them smiling after running the sorts of distances that I would only run if a wolf was chasing me. There tend to be pictures of abs, which is fair enough because they tend to have good abs. They love the gym, and I can’t blame them.

I don’t love the gym – as in, I’ve realized I’ll never be the type of person who just can’t get enough of working out. In the year-and-a-half I’ve been going there, I have however become quite fond of my gym. I’ve also had several revelations about the sort of workout that works best for me.

One revelation that came to me was this: I am a lazy, lazy man. Left to my own devices, I go into the gym, do 30 minutes of “cardio” – you may also know it as “working up a mild sweat on a stationary bike” – and go home.

So what I do now is, I take classes. If you haven’t been to the gym lately, they’ve now got all these concepts like “high-intensity interval training,” which is basically a fancy term for “use all of this equipment, and be quick about it.” An instructor leads us, which is great because there’s no way my brain would make my body do any of this stuff on my own. As it turns out, letting a fitness pro do the thinking and following his or her lead is a good way for me to work out.

The other revelation I’ve had is that gyms don’t have scoreboards. This is Fort Lauderdale; gyms are diverse. I’ve been in classes where everybody else looks like they could play for the Dolphins or dance for Miami City Ballet; I’ve also been in classes where I’m the youngest person in the room by 20 years. Turns out, I can easily be the most useless guy in the room in both of those scenarios.

But here’s the good news – it doesn’t matter. The person next to me might look like a graceful porpoise doing some complicated maneuver with hand weights while I look more like a manatee with a drinking problem. But I’m not battling that person for a place on a podium, I’m trying to go home feeling better.

In this, our health and fitness issue, we offer a few suggestions for being your best physical self. Let me offer one more: Gyms can be intimidating, especially in a place that has as many beautiful people as Fort Lauderdale. Find what works for you, and don’t worry about how you compare to anybody else.

Oh, and if you see me, I’m fine. It’s not a medical emergency; that’s just how I look at the gym.

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