Rodney Warner, JD
Rodney Warner, JD

I’ve been going to the gym for over a year now. I’m there usually at least three mornings a week. I would guess over half the weeks I was there five mornings a week. I would highly recommend anyone (with medical clearance) do it as well.

Don’t have the time? Find the time. Because being a couch potato isn’t increasing your life span. The more you exercise, the longer (in all likelihood) your life will be. It’s an investment in time that has a return. You could spend time in front of the TV, but what do you get out of that?

I write a lot, and make a lot of phone calls, at work. It’s not a physical job, and other than what I write, not a very tangible one. Did I do a better job one day compared to another? Maybe, but when you work out, you know.

Either using free weights or weight machines, you can track your progress. This is what I did last week, this is what I did this morning. Yes, it’s only a number on a plate inside a machine, but it’s easy to track. And it’s gratifying. When I started, I might’ve pushed, pulled or lifted 40 pounds and now maybe I’m up to 90.

What I really appreciate is the mental aspect of working out. If you don’t focus, you’re not going to do well. Just before you push/pull/lift, you need to visualize the bar moving, the plates being lifted, the belts moving, concentrate on the force your body is going to exert. You need to narrow your surroundings to the task at hand. When I’m at work, e-mails are coming in, the phone is ringing, people come in and out of my office, I walk around trying to talk to people. It can be very hard to focus.

Think a gym will cost too much? It can cost a lot, but not where I go, Planet Fitness. It’s a franchised chain of gyms. Initial fee is $20, the cost is $10 a month with no contract. You can stop, and stop paying at any time. You don’t get zumba, spinning, a pool, aerobics classes, basketball court, child care or a bar, you get the basics. Weight machines, cardio machines, weights, locker rooms. The one I go to is very clean and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I spend far more on gas going to and from Planet Fitness (it’s nine miles from home) than the membership fee. What do you spend $10 a month on? What are you getting out of it?

If you think going to a gym will give you a chance to scope out eye candy (of either sex), Planet Fitness will probably disappoint (certainly when I’m there at 5:40 am). It’s mostly us paunchy mid aged folks, keeping it real, working up a sweat. There is a lot of skin, but mostly on the scalps of us guys. There are some younger and some older folks (one guy I met told me he’s 82) there and it’s no monument to glamour. Which is a good thing. It’s not a place to pose and is welcoming to those of us with something other than classical Greek bodies.

So what do you have to lose? Give it a try!