We’re So Vain

Every morning, my wife and I lug ourselves out of bed at 6 am. We feed the dog, chug a cup of coffee and choke back a yogurt. We then dress in regular shorts and T-shirt and head out to the gym. We’ve been doing this for a little over a month now, ever since we noticed our burgeoning waistlines after we’d quit smoking. I’d prefer to go later in the day, but we decided this was a task we wanted to tackle together, and since my wife works in the morning and I work in the afternoon, the only choices we were left with were to head out early or later in the evening.


Or every morning

Regardless, we’ve been fairly religious about going. Not religious in the hymn singing, kneeling and praying sort of way, but consistent. We go every day during the week. We alternate between cardio (we both dread cardio day with a passion) and weight lifting. On the weekends we take a break but try to do something active outside, such as go for a long walk or roller blade or something.


This is the kind of weightlifting I could handle

We’ve also changed the way we eat. We don’t keep sweets in the house anymore. We try to eat smaller portions and while I used to be a dedicated carnivore, we rarely eat meat any more. We’ve almost gone vegetarian. We eat more nuts, legumes etc. Sometimes I have nightmares about salad, but that’s a story for another day.

By doing these things, my wife has lost about 15 lbs and I’ve lost 10 lbs. We’ve both gained some muscle mass. We both feel better about ourselves. We can do a bit more, lift a whack more and we don’t get as winded as we used to.

That being said, neither of us are glamorous people. When we go to the gym, we look tatty (not in a cool tattoo kind of way) and barely awake. Our hair is fairly messy. Our clothes are old because we don’t want to wreck our better clothes that are still wearable in public. We don’t wear make-up…err…my wife doesn’t wear makeup. I never do anyways. That would be silly.


Silly, right?

However, I’ve noticed in the change-room that I’m in the minority. When I go in to change, I see men doing their hair, making sure not a hair is out of place. They’re preening in front of the mirror, flexing, checking themselves out and I just don’t understand it. Why do people worry about their hair when they’re about to spend an hour plus sweating their arses off? Isn’t their hair about to be messed up anyways? Do they think a woman is going to stop her workout to jump their bones?

When I approach the gym, I do so like a man who goes to a job he doesn’t particularly enjoy – reluctantly but realizing that it’s something that must be done.

That sounds harsh, I know. Honestly, there are days I enjoy going. But on average, the last thing I’m worried about is how I look while lifting and running my butt off. What I’m concerned about is getting my hour in and getting the hell out of there. I want to put in my work and I try not to be lazy about it, but screw looking fabulous while doing it.

When I asked my wife, she said the female change-room looks pretty much the same. The difference being they actually chat. Unless two guys come in together, I don’t think I’ve actually witnessed two males spark up a conversation on purpose. I’ve seen a few say ‘sorry’ when they get in the way and sometimes we nod our head in someones general direction to say ‘hi’, but it’s a pretty silent tomb-like place overall.

But like I said, maybe I’m the crazy one because there are even articles in prominent magazines about how to dress for the gym. Or maybe I’ve just handed in the towel and resigned myself to looking a mess when working out…and much of the rest of the time, also.

Or maybe I’m just a grumpy puss because I’d rather be sleeping…


Comfy cozy



  1. I have been running for years; never been to gym in my life. I generally only speak to the security guards on duty at some of the gates around our suburb.


    I occasionally talk to myself, which has gotten me a few odd looks now and then.
    and most people I encounter are non joggers who appear to be marching purposefully somewhere and don’t take too kindly to a bloody cheerful charlie yelling a greeting a 6.30 in the morning! 🙂
    I too gave up smoking after walking up the garden one afternoon and suddenly finding I could hardly draw a breath. It was one of the scariest moments I’d ever had.
    That was 2 years ago. Never regretted it for a second.

    • I quit more because my father died of lung cancer and he asked me to quit before he passed away. I liked smoking, although there is no denying the health benefits of quitting. I feel healthier, that’s for sure. Although, I still find myself hankering for a smoke now and again. Usually when I get emotional or am in a high stress situation.

      I used to run, but I got shin splints and they were no fun. I tend to stick to the no-impact cross trainer now. 🙂

      • Shin splints? Every runner gets them.
        Try leaning against a wall and do the wall stretch.
        One leg behind the other”Front leg flexed at the knee and straighten the back leg. Then swap.
        A few sessions and you will never suffer again.

        I know what you mean about the smokes. Me too!

        I wonder if every bit of craving ever really goes?

        • I think I actually had the fracture kind. I never went to the doctor, but they hurt for weeks before they finally healed. I do run on the treadmill sometimes, but only for very short periods of time at a run. I find I enjoy biking and roller blading more. Roller blading is an excellent workout, although I look like Bambi.

          I think I’ll always crave them sometimes. Luckily, I don’t drink much because I could see myself sparking up after a few wobbly pops.

  2. I work out and lift weights at home, it would just be to frustrating to cart 3 kids to the gym with me. And as far as the premping and wearing make-up i rarely ever where make-up maybe a little eye liner when I go to church, but thats about it.

  3. Never been to a gym. Only seen the inside of them on TV. I smoke, I still enjoy it. I don’t exercise either, never did. Luckily for me, I’m not overweight, at least. I live in the ‘most obese’ province, and I think that’s a ticking time bomb.

    Either way, it’s amazing, the human vanity! 🙂

  4. I don’t get how gym is a place for flirting and bonding with strangers… I had a friend who used to gym with me and she’d strike up a 15minute conversation with the personal trainer mid gym session. I’d just be standing there in my yellow, over-sized t-shirt wiping the sweat dripping from my red face, looking less than flirty.

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