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Keep Up With The Old Guy - Irrationally Exuberant [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Danny Adams

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Keep Up With The Old Guy [Feb. 11th, 2015|07:37 pm]
Danny Adams
[Current Location |Not The Gym]
[Current Mood |Snerky]
[Current Music |"Fly Me To The Moon" ala the Virginia Gentlemen]

I'll admit it: I'm one of these middle-agers who looks over the younglings in the gym with a bit of envy. I know I'm not the only one, and in my case, it's colored by the fact that aside from occasional walking and hiking when I was a youngling, I had a naturally high metabolism that meant I could stay skinny without trying hard. Nowadays moderate exercise simply means I don't gain weight, rather than losing it.

But until today it never occurred to me to wonder what was going on in the younger folks' heads when I came into the gym. Now I'm thinking of it as "Keep Up With the Old Guy" Syndrome.

I'd noticed flickers of this before but brushed it off, figuring I was imagining things: that sometimes when I was working out and I would periodically speed up on the elliptical or stationary bike, people of the half-my-age variety would speed up on their machines, particularly if I'd been going faster than them to start with. I saw that again today: every quarter mile on the elliptical I would increase my speed, and two people on treadmills a few yards away sped up too. (During the first two speed increases their conversation got more winded. After speed increase #3 they stopped talking altogether.)

I likely would have ignored and brushed this off too. But then after doing the weight workout I went to a cool-down on a stationary bike moments before another youngling got on the one next to me. The first half-mile on the bike I increase my speed at tenth-of-a-mile increments, then bring it back down for the second half. And I noticed yet again that when I sped up, he did too. That caught my attention because it's the first time this happened twice in a row during a workout.

Then, while I was staring straight ahead and listening to the Monkees burbling away in my headphones, I saw - not once, but twice - the guy next to me lean over and look at my speed. When he leaned back he sped up to go faster than I was.

I've got to say I was boggled. All this time being jealous of youth and strength and high metabolisms, and folks half my age or younger are trying to keep up with me? I don't mean out of jealousy - but maybe they felt like the old guy was showing them up.

Which made my day, I'm not too big to admit.

So take heart, those of you of my generation and older who are trying to keep yourselves healthy amid a workout sea of young faces. One way or another, you may be a better example than you realize!

(P.S. If they really were bothered by my workout, my leaving didn't provide any relief. As I was walking out a friend was coming in - a fellow who is a little older than me, in better shape...and an ex-Marine.)

[User Picture]From: al_zorra
2015-02-12 06:41 pm (UTC)
So many males are hyper competitive about EVERYTHING and must show their hyper masculinity in all places and times. Those opening scenes of the hyper masculine John Wayne African movie, Hatari!, is on my mind all the time these days. Early into the movie, long before we see the (just about only) female show up, they get to swinging at each other in a free-for-all, having first done the verbal egging on -- FOR NO FRACKIN' REASON AT ALL, except that's what real men do. Personally? I call bs.

Love, C.
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[User Picture]From: madwriter
2015-02-16 01:32 am (UTC)
I've certainly seen that in the gym - especially between guys lifting weights. The ones on the treadmill that day, though, were female. Though they didn't lean over to see my speed!
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