Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pain and Gain

Each year, during the off season, I head to the gym to better prepare myself for the long season ahead. It is the worst time of my life. 

Thanks to repeating the action of pedaling a bike and doing absolutely nothing else, a cyclist's body is barely able to function in the real world. The upper body atrophies and other muscles that don't get used seem to disappear. Returning to the gym each year reminds me that they are still there. 

I know that going to the gym will cause me pain and that I need to use very little weight so that I ease into it slowly, but when the 60 year old guy who is rehabilitating from a joint replacement is lifting 3 times as much weight as me, I can't help but feel a little inadequate. As a result, I end up doing way too much, way too quickly. 

At the time, I feel invincible. Like I could lift it a thousand times with double the weight. Then afterwards, the pain sets in and I can't walk. It hurts to walk up the 5 stairs to my apartment. It hurts to bend down to untie my shoes. It hurts to lift my leg to put clothes on. My ribs ache when I laugh at something funny. And this isn't even the worst of it. 

Almost exactly 24hrs later, the muscle damage kicks in and it feels like I have been hit by a truck. I regret using more weight. I regret doing that extra set. I regret ever going to the gym in the first place. Then I realise... despite the aches and pains, I have to go back up there and do it all over again until it doesn't hurt anymore. 

All I need is a mobility scooter so that I can get there!

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