I recently started going to the gym again.
The two major reasons are to gear up for the upcoming softball season—because you have to be in peak physical condition to play a game with overweight, arthritic old men—and to earn a buttload of minutes for the annual GetFit challenge at work.
When I’m working out, I like to picture myself in the Rocky IV montage seen here:
Now, there are a few small differences between Rocky and me.
The first is that at the end of my workout instead of screaming “DRAAAAAGGGOOO” to show my intent to physically decimate another human-being; I’m usually mumbling “cheeeseburrrrger” because, well, I intended to decimate a cheeseburger.
Another difference is that while Rocky is training off in the remote, frozen tundra that is Cold War Russia, I’m in a swank gym using Nautilus equipment instead of lifting boulders and chopping wood.
The big difference between the two of us is determination.
While Rocky can find that extra something to run up a hill in the snow or lift an ox-cart containing all of his friends, I have a complete and utter inability to find that extra ounce of drive to push a little harder on the weight bench or run a little farther on the track.
No, no…instead, I find myself only reaching those levels of determination when I’m in the sauna after my workout.
Once I’m in that sauna, I get in the zone and it turns into a real challenge.
I try to push it and see how long I can stay in that hot box before I break. Can I go twenty minutes? Can I go half an hour? Can I make it a solid forty-five minutes in that thing?
If there’s anybody in there with me, it is officially an iron man contest to see who can outlast the other.
Sadly, that’s when I really get locked into pushing myself to the limits. I’ll be all dehydrated and struggling to keep from falling off the bench, but like hell if I’m not going to tough it out just long enough to watch the minute hand squeak past the five or to see the fat guy give up and lumber off to the showers in defeat.
I fear that my determination and willingness to test my limits is really being exerted in the wrong places.
Forget trying to get in that last bench press or another half mile. I’m all about pushing a little longer to sit on my sweaty ass in a tiny box with a bunch of equally sweat naked dudes just to prove I’ve got the eye of the tiger.