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Thursday, May 16, 2024

Before You Go: The Ins and Out of Working Out

John Gray on what it's like working out as a grown man.

Question – How does a grown man fall off the treadmill at a crowded gym? Answer – he tries to run, listen to music, watch the Yankees, check out a cute girl and make sure his wife doesn’t catch him, all at the same time. Do the math; it just doesn’t add up. I know, because it happened right next to me.

Gold’s in Niskayuna, the middle-aged dude with the too-tight shorts walked behind my machine, gave his wife a peck on the cheek, hopped on the treadmill next to me while his wife climbed aboard an elliptical four slots down. We were going about 10 minutes when a young lady who looked like she fell out of a Victoria’s Secret catalogue got on a bike in front of us to the right. If only she picked the bike in front of Einstein he would have been fine, but as I jogged along, I couldn’t help but notice bobblehead type movements to my immediate left. It was the guy swiveling his head in all directions. I could almost here the Yankees radio announcer John Sterling in my head doing the play by play: “We got a real pressure cooker here. He looks left, wife is reading US weekly, coast is clear, quick glance at the hottie on the bike. I wonder if she’s married? Back to the TV, Jeter on second taking a lead. Back to wife, must be a good article she’s glued to it, look at the cute girl again. Ball two, Jeter stays put. Wife again, then girl, then Jeter, then wife, then girl, then Jeter then…bam! Oh my, he’s going, going, gone, right off the treadmill.”

His wife came scrambling up to him, “Baby are you okay?” He looked at me like a drug dealer who realizes he just sold to an undercover cop and is busted. I smiled and went back to the game. Jeter scored by the way, unlike my friend who lay prone on the floor. Who said the gym can’t be fun?

I do love working out. I know, I know, you look at me on TV and say, “Geez Gray, you don’t look like you work out that much.” I’m working on it. Plus, remember the camera adds 10 pounds and I have at least three of them on me at all times. It’s at this point of the column I want to speak to every nutritionist and personal trainer who might be reading this. Please don’t contact me.

Nothing makes someone feel worse than when absolute strangers say they want to ‘help you’. Help you is code for ‘get a new client’ and I respect that. Business is business, but like James Bond, I prefer to work alone.

I really shouldn’t laugh too loudly at that guy falling off the machine since I’ve had my own mishaps at the gym. The time I used too much soap in the laundry and bubbles came out of my butt while running. Or the day I went into the sauna, picked up a bottle I assumed was water and sprayed it in my face. Instead of a refreshing blast of h2o, I got hit with a mixture of water, menthol and God knows what else. It was like a scene from Alien when they shoot the creature and acid sprays out of it.

I’ve started spinning again. That’s where you sit in the dark and ride a bike to nowhere while looking at the derriere of the person in front of you trying to imagine you’re climbing a mountain in Aspen. I’m doing a charity ride in September called ‘The Ride For Missing Children’ and don’t want to let them down. In case you’re wondering, me falling off the bike or stopping at Friendly’s for a Reese’s Pieces Sundae during the actual ride would be my definition of ‘letting them down’.

A friend of mine keeps telling me if I REALLY want to get in shape I have to do yoga. I thought it was just a lot of stretching, but then I stumbled on this show on Fit TV called ‘Namaste’. They say the word Namaste means ‘I bow to you’. After watching the show I think it really means ‘half naked woman imitates pretzel’. Something tells me there are a lot of guys watching this show, but if their heart rate is up its not from exercise.

Before signing up for anything new I always research it and I have to be honest, some of the terms from yoga scare me a little. ‘Downward Facing Dog’, ‘Half Lord Of The Fishes’, ‘Little Thunderbolt’, the ‘Garland Pose’. Does your name have to be Judy to do that last one? My friend Bob took a yoga class once and he couldn’t walk for two days. Maybe that little thunderbolt got him.

I love watching aerobics instructors; they are so darn perky. Do you think they are like that at home with the hubby and kids? “Okay, who wants to eat their beans? Come on, give me two more! Don’t shake your head no. You can do it! Chew and swallow and chomp and chew. Feel the burn. Did I say two? I meant four!” Aerobics instructors are born liars. It’s never just two more.

One weight-loss trick that works for me is good old-fashioned greed. I buy an expensive article of clothing that’s just a little too tight and then hang it in the closet. I look at it every day and think, “I dropped a hundred bucks on that and I can’t wear it.” I’ll be eating bananas instead of banana splits in no time.

The funny thing is there’s one type of exercise you want to avoid to really lose weight. Trainers call it the ‘one arm fork lift’. It takes the food from the plate to your mouth. Less of that and there is generally less of you. Speaking of food, are you liking this new trend where restaurants print the calories next to the yummy stuff you’ve been scarfing down for 20 years? Yeah, me neither. It’s impossible to eat the bad stuff anymore without getting a side order of guilt.

Just in case my bike ride isn’t going well in September, I looked up the calorie count on that Reese’s Pieces Sundae I mentioned – 1,300 calories. Hoochie Momma. That’ll keep my fat backside on the bike where it belongs.

John Gray is a Fox23 News anchor and contributing writer at the Troy Record. He can be reached at [email protected] 

John Gray
John Gray
John Gray is an Emmy-winning journalist and writer. In addition to his 32 years of television experience, John is the author of three children's books and two novels. He is married with three children. He and his lovely wife Courtney have five dogs, three of them are rescues with special needs. They make their quiet home in Rensselaer County.

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