Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta gym. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta gym. Mostrar todas las entradas

sábado, 17 de diciembre de 2016

Friends & Secrets

   It was very problematic for Sean to admit that his life had improved dramatically since he had joined the gym. He didn’t want to tell anyone about it and only went there once a day, six days a week. Of course, sometime people would ask him where he was and what he was doing, but he had created the illusion that he was attending cooking lessons at a school that happened to be in the neighboring building of the gym. The smell of warm and fresh croissants was almost constant and made almost impossible to focus on one's obliques.

 Sean had never been the kind of guy that went to the gym and cared about his body. Earlier in his life he openly mocked those who took too much care of their bodies and looks. To be fair, he still mocked only that he refrained himself from saying anything out loud because he would really look like a hypocrite if he said something. The difference was the he didn’t exercise because he wanted to look better but because he wanted to feel better, which were too different things. Most of the people there were just show offs that already had a great body.

 Since he was a little boy, he had loved eating candy. His favorites were salted caramel and chocolate. His life wasn’t complete when he was at school if he didn’t have a piece of chocolate with his lunch. It was kind of a ritual, a weird tradition that he had with himself. He kept that for years, until very recently. Actually, some of his friends had begun wondering what had happened to the chocolates he always ate and also about the ones that he kept all over the house in case he wanted something sweet to enhance his day.

 All of those chocolates had disappeared and no one really understood why. Some were not idiots and had realized Sean had lost some weight and, weirdly enough, he looked as if he had grown taller and bigger but not in a bad way. They asked him about it and he only answered he didn’t really knew why and that he partially blamed work and the classes because of the tension he went through every single day. Stress could be a powerful force and could certainly be blamed for many things, so it was a nice save that not everyone bought.

 One of those who hadn’t bought into the story was Billy. He had noticed something really strange one day they were at Sean’s apartment watching a movie. At one point, they were having popcorn and Sean asked if they wanted more. Of course, everyone said yes. To be funny, Sean raised his hands in the air and exaggerated a positive response. It was then when Billy saw it: Sean’s shirt had been raised and instead of a normal belly, he saw a body in the process of getting really ripped. He knew his friend had never been like that.

 Many times before they had taken trips all together. Billy knew his friends bodies, not because he had an obsession with them or anything but because he had seen them in their trunks and bikinis. He knew what they look like. So the new appearance of Sean’s body was a very big surprise for him. Now that he was thinking about it, he remembered that Sean had not attended their last trip to the beach. He had told them that he didn’t feel quite right but when they came back he looked exactly the same, like a normal healthy person.

 Billy decided to follow Sean one day. He worked for his father so he asked him for a day off from the office in order to attend some personal business. His father never asked many questions and agreed almost immediately. They following day, he woke up really early and decided to follow Sean by bike. He decided not to take the car as he suspected Sean would know it was him if he saw it. The first time he saw Sean that day was at seven o’clock, time he left at for work. He stayed in his office until midday, when he came out to lunch.

 It was then when he saw the first red flag: Sean had never been the type to eat big pieces of meat or a large portion of anything. He knew how to choose what his body was capable of consuming. However, he had never been the type to refrain himself from eating something delicious, even if hat something was not especially good for you. Billy remembered fondly the time the two of them had eaten a big plate full of spicy hot wings by themselves, no beverages or carrot sticks with ranch sauce. That had been a fun day.

 But now, he noticed that Sean had bought a salad for lunch, a salad that didn’t even had a piece of chicken or bacon or anything. And the worst part of it all was that he really seemed to be enjoying himself while eating it. Sean stopped looked from a distance and thought that maybe he was been too judgmental and a tad exaggerated. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea after all if Sean was taking care of himself. He was trying to feel better or maybe it was that he wanted to look hotter or even that he was dating and he wanted to look great for that person.

 That all went to the mental garbage when Billy saw Sean pulling a bottle of water from his backpack and drinking from it. That was just ridiculous. One thing was to take care of his body and all of that but drinking plain water with a lunch that consisted mostly on a bunch of leaves only a turtle would eat, was just insane. Billy thought that there was something really wrong with his friend because he had never seen him like this. Something had to be wrong, that was clear. But what could it be or why could it be?

 After waiting for several hours in a café across the street, Billy followed Sean again and the next destination, to no surprise, was the gym. Granted, it was not the type of gym that had many windows and looked more like a giant fish tank than like a human building, but nevertheless it was a strange thing. Billy decided to go in, as he would see nothing from outside. Of course, he had to pretend he was interesting in joining because otherwise he wouldn’t have been allowed entrance. A trainer showed him round but he didn’t really listened.

 He only saw Sean many minutes later, working out on a huge machine that seemed to be used to help exercise the abdominal area. He had no trainer besides him and seemed to be focusing a lot on what he was doing. For Billy, the sight was really strange but not because it was his friend but because he had never seen someone so focused to do something like that. For a moment, he even thought it was quite admirable that Sean had decided to take on such a challenge, but moments later he felt betrayed again, as a friend.

 He decided to confront Sean. He ditched the trainer telling him he would join after walking around alone and then walked, almost ran, straight to where Sean was. As expected, Sean was quite taken aback when he saw his friend standing there. But then he decided to finish his exercise and then finally stand up, sweating more than he would have wanted to in that moment. The two friends looked at each other and didn’t say a word, not until someone dropped a weight somewhere, slamming his foot. They both laughed, which eased the tension.

 Sean explained to his friend that he had always had self-esteem problems, going back to his high school days. He had always felt fat and ugly and he recently had realized he could actually do something about it. He had begun exercising over a year ago but the change in food had been done very recently. He didn’t call it a diet because he ate as always on weekends and he couldn’t say he was going vegan or vegetarian because his favorite meals consisted of pork chops in a pineapple sauce. Anyway, he was trying something to help him achieve his goal.


 He told Billy he was sorry for lying but Billy interrupted him saying he was a bad friend for never having really talk about their past in a much more open way. If they had, he would have known his buddy’s struggles and could even have helped him. He told Sean he was sorry and then hugged him, which was a first for the two as they had always been the kind of buds that only shake hands. It was a new beginning to their friendship, a much needed one.

jueves, 17 de noviembre de 2016

Match point

   The machine was launching balls every few minutes and Agatha attempted to hit them with her racket in the best way she could. She had never been very good at sports but, this time, she really needed to learn how to play something. One of her clients, a man who was very rich and famous, was very much into the world of tennis and had proposed her to have a match just before they sat down to negotiate a deal that would mean millions of dollars for everyone. At first, she didn’t want to accept but she ultimately did.

 She decided to join a huge gym near the office in order to practice every single day until the date of their meeting. Thanks to her boss, the man agreed on having the game a month later, giving her a good amount of time to learn the basics. Her boss insisted that, if she did well during the game, they would benefit greatly from the client’s good sense of humor, It was not uncommon in that company to try and make every client feel like they all understood their hobbies and passions. Rich people could get very weird and even dangerous.

 There was Mrs. Stevenson, for example, who had a large collection of snakes in her house. As a potential client, they had to make her feel accepted and nice so one of Agatha’s co workers had to go to her house several times and feed the snakes. Sometimes, it could be very easy but other times it would be awfully dangerous. He was bitten a couple of times but, Thank god, the snakes had no poison in them to do anything, so he never required going to the doctor or anything like that. The point was, they won that account and locked millions of dollars.

 Agatha herself had gone out with at least five different potential clients. As any decent woman, she had her limits. So it wasn’t a surprise that some of the people they assigned to her, never really got to be proper clients. Men always wanted more than they should get and it wasn’t once but many times when she felt really weird and uncomfortable, whether it was because of a weird attitude or an inappropriate way to touch her. In most cases, she preferred women clients but they normally got assigned one of her male coworkers.

 Anyway, she went to the gym every single day for the next month. The first days were extremely difficult because the automated machine that helped her practice had beat her up with several balls at high speed. The person at the gym said the machine had personality, which wasn’t really the best excuse or argument to be made for it. But she kept trying and by the end of the first week, she was able to properly hit the ball, even if the angles were all a little bit strange. In any case, that was the first hurdle she had gone over, so she was very happy.

The bad side of all of it was the sore elbows and shoulders every day after practice. She walked like a zombie at work and had a new tendency to fall asleep really early. It wasn’t that strange as the gym hours she could use were very late so Agatha got home around one in the morning. And then, she had to wake up at six o’clock in order to be in the office just in time. She couldn’t wait to end all of it with this new client and go back to boring launches or just keeping her desk job, which she really didn’t mind about, especially when she was so sore.

 In the office, she actually tried to learn a little bit more about her client before meeting him. All the information she had was based out of the report that her boss had given to her. But, of course, she needed much more than just knowing what the man liked. She really needed to know him better if the idea was to lure him into their company. She began her research in the office but, weirdly enough, there were a pretty low amount of articles about him and there was no picture to be found in any website. Not from a social event or a personal thing. Nothing.

 Agatha soon got tired of looking for the guy. She went to her boss’s office and asked him if they could talk about their client. But she has apparently chosen a bad moment as he was holding the phone and a hysterical woman was yelling at him from the other side. The voice was extremely loud and Agatha knew she wouldn’t get anything right then. So she then moved to her friend Cynthia’s office, in order to talk a little bit about how uncomfortable this all was. The fact that she was preparing so much for a meeting with a person she had never seen.

 Cynthia assured her that the client was very new and maybe that’s why there were no pictures or thorough information on the person. That night, during practice, she decided to play a little bit more violent. Not only because she didn’t know the gay but because she was really pissed off at herself for the job she had and the things she had to do to keep. As she hit every ball as hard as she could, she remembered the days she had wanted to become a baker. She had always loved that profession and would have loved to pursue it but things rarely go exactly as we want them.

 She stayed so late that night, than the next morning she decided to call in sick and just not go. It was a Friday and it was very well known that they were never really productive on Fridays. So Agatha could have a long weekend and try to reorder her thoughts and priorities as well as she could. She had a hearty breakfast and then spent fifteen minutes in the shower, with hot water forming some kind of sauna all around her. It felt really good,

 By lunch, she already knew what she was going to do. There was only one week to go to her date with the client and then everything will be over for her. She was determined to quit her job and use her savings to live around, until another opportunity showed itself. Of course, looking for a job that matched her skills was not the easiest thing to do, she had found out that she was fed up with all the clients and the extra work and everything she had no idea about. It didn’t matter how much money she won there. That money could help her survive a few months, if necessary.

 She was tired of pleasing everyone else but herself. She hadn’t taken a proper vacation in a long time and it was really due because every single day she felt tired and bored. Cynthia, for example, didn’t have to deal with clients directly like her so she didn’t really care about it all. It was difficult for anyone to understand why Agatha wanted to leave a job that paid so well but she was so frustrated with it all. That client, the tennis client, would be her last one and that tennis match would be the last thing she did for that company.

 When the day finally came, she prepared herself by buying the best outfit for the occasion. She wanted to look good but also very professional. It was very difficult to do in the tennis skirt she had bought, because of the length, but the idea was that she would distract him into thinking about something else and then he would sign anything and everything. The game started with a slight advantage on Agatha’s hand but it soon became a really even game, where they played as if their lives depended on it. The guy happened to be excellent at the game.

 When she finally so his face, she was able to put a proper image on the large amount of thoughts she had imagined about him and the game and everything that had to do with that moment. After two sets, one won by each, they decided to rest and talk a little bit. Agatha decided that was the perfect time to talk about business. However, he didn’t even have to: the man grabbed all the papers and signed every single one of them in silence and with a beautiful pen that he kept on his tennis bag. She never expected thing to go that way.


 The man told her he had decided on working with them the moment she showed her fierceness, her need to overcome an obstacle that she obviously had. To him, it was clear she had never properly played tennis. But he admired her obvious dedication to it. Just before the match began again, he asked her how happy she was working in that place. It was just as if he knew what she was thinking. So she just blinked her eye and told him they needed to keep playing.

martes, 12 de enero de 2016

Him and the gym

   It was very annoying, but it was more and more frequent that, in the middle of the night, he had to wake up to a cramp or some other time of pain. It would normally be in his feet or legs but sometimes it was his waist that felt the pain or even his face. He had gone to the doctor several times and to many different ones but none of them was able to tell him why that happened. He hated when it was obvious they were inventing what to say instead of giving him a science based and objective point of view. They just shot in the dark, trying to get it right.

 Many had told him it was the lack of exercise so he tried to jog in the mornings. Soon, he changed it to the afternoons, and then the nights. All of this happening in the same week, as he realized he hated to reorganize his life around such a menial activity. He didn’t understand how some people dared to say they loved to exercise often and for many hours. He didn’t tell this to anyone, but for him all those persons in the gyms and the parks exercising every single hour of the day, were just insane people without any real talent in them.

 Of course, he didn’t tell this to anyone when he signed on for a year at a big gym near his house. A perky girl showed him all the machines, explained the courses he could take (as if he was entering Harvard) and told him about the trainers that helped people there. Some even had experience in the military, which assured quality but also inspired some fear. In his first week he avoided the trainers and the courses and the dancing lessons, in order to focus only in the machines. It was a failure anyway but at least he wasn’t getting yelled at.

 The screams were constant in that place and everyone behaved as if it was extremely normal that a man build like a house would scream a bunch of skinny short women about how they couldn’t meet his extremely bizarre quotas of exercise. The man was clearly deranged somehow, always screaming and never really doing any exercise himself, only when he needed to demonstrate something he wanted all of them to do. Even then it was strange, because he would do the exercise so fast and in such a bizarre way, none of the women would get it fast and the screaming would ensue.

 He wasn’t the only insane one in the place. For a spinning class, there was a lot of yelling there too. The “teacher” there was a woman. She was very beautiful and her body was testament to her prowess in the exercise area but she was another one that yelled a lot. And he could never hold his laughter when looking at the spinning class because it was simply ridiculous. That woman yelling others to accelerate on bikes going nowhere, in a closed room with the concentrated heat that everyone was releasing, without the refreshing sight of the actual world.

 He exercised independently as long as he could but in every area of that place, there was a man or a woman kind of supervising that everyone make good use of the machines, normally looking after the cleanliness of everyone in the gym and to see that everyone was using the machines in the right way. To him, it was amazing how little sense of humor people in a gym could have. He saw a young man once trying to do a choreography he had clearly taken away from the TV on some of the running machines and they simply expelled them for that because they deemed his behavior “irresponsible” and “dangerous”.

 No one laughed there unless it was hypocritical laughter or if the person was talking on the phone. Besides that, the sound that ruled was heavy breathing and the eternal sounds of the machines and the one of the stupid music the put every single day. Every day it was the same playlist, from beginning to end and he already knew it by heart. And what was so annoying about it, is that it was there to make you feel you could always do more, like the music they put on shops and so on.

 Basically, the place was a laboratory, and every stupid person that paid to be there was a mouse or a hamster forever turning in their little wheel like an idiot, not ever thinking twice about anything. It was easy to see how brainwashed some of them are and the scary thing was that the results they had made them even more prone to stay there and keep on going and just obsess about the whole thing. He had hated to rearrange his life around exercise but many others were happy to do it, dedicating even more and more time per week to what they called “the art of exercise”.

 “Horseshit”. That’s what he told his doctor after a couple of months going to the gym. They did a lot of exams and tests and it was revealed that the exercise had nothing to do with whatever was happening to him. The cramps would even get worse some nights and he had slowly became a person that slept on his chest, as it was impossible to him sleeping in any other way. His legs always hurt and his body was still as bad as it was months ago.

 When he saw the results of the test, he decided to quit the gym. He had paid for a year but he didn’t mind “loosing” that money because in any case he had already paid it and new that the people in the gym had already spend it in some stupid machine. So he decided to only exercise in the weekends and on the park and maybe doing something he would enjoy, for a change. He played football with friends sometimes, or with a Frisbee or he could even buy a dog and play with him. The possibilities were endless.

 Yes, he wasn’t ripped like those nutbags from the gym but he started feeling better once he decided to relax about the whole thing and when he decided to get massages and eat better. All of those decisions made him happier than going to an enclosed space to run like a lunatic. Now he enjoyed his life and, even without the killer body, he felt better and that’s all he ever wanted. He had always been happy with who he was and had been depressed the whole time being in the gym. With all the pictures and the trainers and the brainwashing, it was hard not get out of there thinking “I have to be like all of this people”.

 He sometimes saw some of them in the park or in the street and they always gave him this look of superiority. But the look wasn’t only at him but at the world around them. For some stupid reason, all of this toolbags that had once decided to go crazy in the exercise, decided they were better than the rest of us and the worst thing was that all the media and the society at large believed that to be true. We have been taken by the balls by a small group of people and now the prototypes of beauty are radically different than what they were a hundred years ago and even more than what they were on the Renaissance or before.

 But people can stand up to that and just move along, living their lives as they may and not thinking every single second about how they look. He laughed alone when recalling some of the conversations he had overheard in the gym while in the machines or in the locker room. It has to be left clear that he didn’t thought they were all stupid but some of them were such idiots, it was a very difficult thing to ignore. They talked about sex in a way it was simply funny to hear about it, as if it was an exhibition of the caliber of a two peacocks showing their feathers to the one female, who also happened to be ripped like them.

 It hadn’t been his thing but he new that some people liked it and he was fine with it. Even some of his friends told him he should have at list used his membership the whole year, at least once a week. But he told them he simply couldn’t stand going there anymore. Seeing the faces of people that claimed they had fun exercising but were there every day stressed out because they didn’t lose as much weight as they had planned or because they wouldn’t meet theirs trainer’s demands. It was a disaster.


 He finally decided to buy that dog and it was the best decision he ever had. Not only he had tons of exercise running after his furry acquisition, the dog also became his best and most loyal friend. And that was something exercising like a lunatic couldn’t offer. It couldn’t give you real feelings, only shallow ones that surfaced because you can’t even think as you kill yourself on those damned machines.

jueves, 11 de junio de 2015

By the gym

   Mario entered the gym when he was fifteen and never looked back. He trained day and night, before and after school and it went like that for years. Even when he got a job and more responsibilities, he still managed to head to the gym at least twice a day and even more time on the weekends. He was so dedicated to it that people of the gym had asked him several times if he would be their spokesperson or if he could replace trainers that were sick or late. And he did both that stuff, which made him mildly famous in the circuit of people who were obsessed with perfect bodies.

 For Mario, it had been the stability and discipline required which had been the hook to enter the gym. He had nothing of that at home, only two parents fighting for everything and largely ignoring him. It wasn’t very difficult to ask them for the money to join the gym, as they would always say yes just to make a point of how great they were as parents. When he was in his last year, Mario had already grown a couple of more inches and exercise had paid off with a body most girls wanted to date and most guys wanted to have. He was in the school’s soccer team and also in the swimming team. People thought he was obsessed with being the center of attention or that he did it because he was great. The truth was he just wanted to be out of the house as long as he could.

 He dated the most beautiful girl in school for prom and went on to model for various brands in order to help pay his college. His parents had split by then so the money had become a bit scarce. His modeling gigs were very needed in order to buy all that he needed in order to be successful as a business administrator. He wanted to put up his own gym and needed to understand every aspect of the business to be successful. In college, every girl was also attracted to him and they were all very forward about their intentions of dating him. But Mario was very focused and was only interested in finishing school as fast as he could to make his dreams come true.

 Sure enough, he got his degree at least a year earlier than usual. He started making enquiries about what was exactly needed to put up a gym. But he realized that his dream was still too far away as he needed a lot of money to open up his own place. The machines, the implements, the salaries of the trainers, the rent of the space… Everything was costly and Mario had barely had money to pay his tuition. Actually, he was still in debt with college. So the only reasonable thing to do was to look for a decent paying job and stay there for a while until he had the amount of money necessary to make his dreams come true.

 He continued to model whole working in an accounting company. All of his coworkers recognized him from several energy drinks campaigns or maybe even from his work as a swimsuit and underwear model. Again, it was the women who seem mostly interested. Some of them would stare for long periods of time during lunch and others would leave him notes and candy bars on his desk, usually with love letters about how beautiful he was. He always threw the candy and read the letters back home, sometimes laughing but usually thinking about his life. After all, he had never had a serious relationship and now that he was a bit older he seemed to be getting late to be with someone else.

 You see, Mario was still a virgin, even after graduating high school. He had been so focus on so many other things, that he never found the time. That sounds funny but it was what happened. He didn’t regret it but now, leaving on his own, he felt sometimes very much alone. He sometimes talked his each one of his parents but they would always talk and talk about their issues and never ask him about how he was doing or if he need everything. It was sad but he always called them on the first and second day of the month. It was something he scheduled in advance because he didn’t really cared about it. He had realized too that his love for his parents was not very high.

 One day, on those mornings he woke up at five AM to head for the gym. In the lobby, he accidentally pushed a guy that was delivering some of the goods sold at he gym’s cafeteria. The guy yelled at him, put back his cap as it had fallen on the floor with the push and moved past him towards the street. He had never seen someone so angry and he did think that the man could use some time at the gym. Then he realized he had checked the guy put, from his funny colored shoes to his kaki shorts, blue polo shirt and cap that had the logo of the company he worked for. Oddly enough, Mario couldn’t stop thinking about that encounter and his reaction for the next few hours, until work made him forget.

 Things were getting harder there as they were all being pushed into working more as the company had been bought by a bigger one and they had been advised they would be laying off people very soon. They all wanted to prove their worth by working like mules and Mario was no exception. Without that job, he wouldn’t be able to pay his bills and save a bit of money for his gym. He couldn’t afford that so he worked tirelessly for more hours and even on weekends from home. He had even cut off his hours in the gym but still went there every day as he was paid occasionally to coach someone who asked for it.

 One of those stressful days, he ran into the guy of the cap again. He was talking to the gym’s receptionist. Apparently he had already delivered his goods but the truck had to leave him there for a while, as they needed to get more energy drinks than usual. He removed his cap and revealed a head full of bright chestnut colored hair. It made his brown eyes look even bigger and his smile nicer. His smile? Mario realized he had been standing still for a while, staring at the man in a cap. He turned and faced Mario, walk up to him and said “Yes?”. Every single color in Mario’s face faded and he almost dropped his backpack to the ground. Then, the guy with the cap in his hand smiled and extended a hand. He said his name was Tim and that he was sorry for the way he reacted the other day.

 Mario was a bit relieved but not really nerves free. He was shaking a bit when he shook hands with Tim, even sweating a little. Tim asked him if he was an instructor but Mario only managed to shake his head in a negative way. Then a car horn was heard from the street: it was the truck that had come back for Tim. He said goodbye and left fast. The receptionist was looking at Mario so he headed for the locker room and changed there as he thought about what had just happened.

 By that afternoon, he forgot everything about Tim as the news of five people getting laid off was told to him as he entered the office. Luckily, he wasn’t one of them but the tension was starting to show. For some days now he had been growing dark circles around his eyes and he hadn’t been eating very well. The worst part was that they still threatened to fire even more people so there was no way to stop making efforts and trying not get canned. Besides that, he had received a letter from college where he was asked to pay even more than usual do to an error in their system. He called to complain but to no use. He had to pay or they would use the law to make him do it. Of course, the law was on their side.

 Worried about his future, he decided not to go to the gym that afternoon. It was the first time in a very long time. He just went home and had an early night. He didn’t want to think about anything and he didn’t care if people were calling him because of a modeling commitment or just to annoy him. He wasn’t in the mood to have any human contact. He just wanted a magical way to get his life on track, as it seemed it was heading to a cliff. He knew he couldn’t keep working like that unless he wanted a heart attack but he needed the job now more than ever.

 Bored and unable to sleep properly, he took his computer and tried to play a game or listen to some music but nothing helped his mood. He entered Facebook and checked out some old pictures and then realized he could look for the guy in the cap. The idea just appeared in his head and he just wrote Tim. Then he tried to remember his last name. It was in his shirt… Diaz. Yes, that was it. He wrote the whole thing and checked the results. Number seven was he, or so it seemed. The profile picture wasn’t him but the character of an old cartoon Mario had watched when younger. The profile said he worked for Nutrition Services, which was the name of the company that delivered every day to the gym. Mario breathed out and wrote him a message. A simple “Hello. I’m Mario”.


 He so nervous he jumped out of bed and started walking around. But then the sound was heard and they begun chatting. They spent several hours talking about everything Mario had wanted to talk for years. He didn’t care about the gym or work at that moment. He felt happy, at ease and not under pressure. Before they logged off, Mario asked Tim if they could have a coffee after work and Tim said yes. His smile while falling asleep was priceless, as it was what he needed, what he had always needed, to achieve long time his goals.