Last week at the gym I was in for a weight session. I’m not going to lie and say that I enjoy doing weights, but after several gibes from the men in my life (boyfriend, little brother, even dad at times, saying things like “no real runner neglects her upper body”) I decided to give my ’upper body muscles’ a go some eight months ago (however, so far I am not too impressed with the results. Instead of feeling ’fit’ I often look myself in the mirror and get this feeling I look bigger than I used to do… although that can just be the result of me spending too much time with my super skinny and tiny looking Chinese female friends).
Anyway, since weights are not my fave thing to do, I was utterly happy when I entered the gym and immediately bumped into my trainer friend Rocky (who's originally from Hunan) who had already finished work and who was also getting ready for a training session.
-Wanna train together? He asked.
Fancy bumping into him like that! He’s not only good company to a normally boring-1-hour-weight-session, but since he doesn’t speak any English its an excellent opportunity for me to rely on my Chinese.
We started off at the free weights section, lifting, chatting (OK, I did most of the chatting), encouraging each other and getting all red-faced and stuff (I had to try a little bit extra since I was working out with a trainer). I have to say that Rocky had a very interesting way of training. I have been taught (once again by the muscle men in my life) to start as heavy as possible and then go lighter in case I cannot finish my repetitions. But Rocky started fairly light and then went heavier (telling me I was making it 'too easy for myself' since I was not doing the same as him. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he didn’t believe me when I, in a high-pitched voice, tried to explain that ‘I started lifting this heavy one, and it was so heavy that now I can only lift this lighter weight’).
Still, all was good until Rocky suggested we’d do a stomach machine (stomach curl I think it is called). I normally don’t do this machine (regular sit-ups is my religion) but was happy to tag along to enjoy the company. Rocky started off and while he worked himself sweaty on the machine I rambled on and on about how much I wanted to go to Hunan and all the things I wanted to eat there.
I was so busy chatting that once Rocky was done and it was my turn to sit down I didn’t even stop but continued to talk while doing the stomach movement. 15 repetitions later I looked up, still talking, only to find Rocky looking at me with a wild expression on his face.
-You…. Did… the same weights as…. Me?! And it wasn’t even hard for you?
-Oh? Did I?
I hadn’t even noticed. In fact, I hadn’t even paid attention to what I was doing, nevertheless how much weight was on the machine?! I was too busy talking about spicy eggplant.
-Eh… ehum… yes. Although it was… hard! I offered, seeing that Rocky didn’t seem to be very much in love with the thought of me being as strong as him.
-You western girls are too strong!! I am too weak! I really have to get stronger. Why am I so skinny… oh my gosh… (我的天啊。。。)
-Eh, no really?! It’s… all the running you know?! Gives you great abs! You should try it sometime! I tried.
Although I had clearly lost him.
The final 3 repetitions he added some insane numbers of weight to the stomach curl, probably to prove to himself that he wasn’t ‘as weak as he though,’ although the pain mirrored in his face when he tried to work the machine was hard to watch (I, on the other side ended up removing some weight in an effort to make him feel better).
We finished off in the stretching room where Rocky kept going on and on about western women being ‘太厉害’ (tai lihai –too tough) and about him having to work out ‘more’ and ‘harder’ to 'get more fit.'
Oh dear. All over some silly machine that I don’t even normally use?! I’m guessing that in the future, I’ll be working out alone.