We manage our gym shifts (along with Alf and Seb) to give everyone as much flexibility as possible, especially as all of us are involved in shows four nights a week even if not actually performing in every one now. Both gyms are meant to be manned from 7am, when someone shows up to clean up the inevitable mess, put the weights back where they should be, disinfect the bench/seat/seatback surfaces (all those lovely sweaty bodies, not to mention the seated naked people) and then hoover everywhere indoors and mop the matted areas.
‘Manning’ is a bit of a loose term. You may be in the office sorting stuff on the computer and keeping a wether eye out for people behaving stupidly: you may be giving advice on how the equipment works or spotting for anyone who needs it – or you can be training yourself provided you wear the ‘STAFF’ shorts and make yourself available if needed. It’s called ‘mixing business with pleasure’…
…especially admiring the bodies and watching the biceps (and everything else) develop!
This morning, two new guys were already in the gym when I arrived at 6.45. Looking around rather anxiously and clearly anxious about how to use most of the equipment or what to do. New to the gym game, then and, to be honest, looking as though they need it. They were also seriously overdressed by the standards of this place (and the temperature) ‘windcheater’ tops over shirts, training pants over shorts, trainers and socks. Sensing that they needed advice and encouragement, Tone wades in. Shirtless and barefoot and noticing they are looking hard at what muscle I have and, surreptitiously, at two other guys working away on bench presses and clad similarly to me. No naturist in at that point.
One can excuse the trainers if handling heavy weights: to be honest, we’re supposed to encourage gym users to keep them on, although it is rather easy to ‘forget’.
I asked the guys if they had warmed up, and when they had not, sent the out to run around the track which surrounds this place just inside the ‘adult-side’ fence. They returned very sweaty and I suggested that they lose their tops, which made them very anxious. I insisted, as politely as I could. I could see why they were anxious – skinny hardly describes it.
Whatever I’m teaching, I make the point that instant success is not expected, but the desire and effort to improve is all that is necessary. Casting a glance at the other two very well-built guys and trusting that they would mind their business, I told the skinny guys that they just needed to focus on their training, not to be embarrassed (‘we all started with no muscle development)’ and that I would be happy to work with them as part of my job (which it is – make the punters happy!). Slowly they relaxed their guard and the training pants came off as well.
To be fair to them, they really started to enjoy what they were doing. All light weights and lots of repetitions, to get their bodies ready for harder work in the future. Until more folk started to arrive, including a couple of very fit girls. Suddenly they decided they’d ‘had enough’. Which I could tell they hadn’t.
‘Will you be swimming later?’
‘If we can find somewhere where no-one can watch!’ They were, at least, honest about their embarrassment. I suggested that other pool users had better things to do than stare at them, but they settled instead for a bus ride to the beach where they could then walk out of range of anyone else (the beach goes for miles).
I wondered if they would be honest about something else. ‘You here as a couple or just friends?’ The look that passed between them answered that question. I had an idea. Something we never ordinarily do. I contacted Dave on the radio to get his agreement, and then invited them to come to our place after we came off duty at 3pm. ‘Just you guys and my partner Dave. Lift a few weights – totally private, not like here. Maybe even wrestle a bit?’
One of the guys admitted that they bought gay wrestling DVDs and wished they were stronger. OK. They to the beach, us to our general duties!
3pm came and went. Dave and I in our apartment. No sign. So Dave decided to shower and then the door buzzer went. As I needed to go down to the reception area to admit them, I kept my shorts on, and brought them up in the elevator to our top floor. Opening the door, there’s Dave stark naked in the bathroom door, towelling his hair.
‘OK guys – here’s the rules. All clothing stays on the doormat except your underwear – and you won’t need that either because our stuff is totally private. You want to take a shower first, wash the salt and sand off?’
They went in together – good sign.
Our roof terrace, as I have written before, is not overlooked, has our personal weights and stuff on it plus mats and, to their horror, beds of nails and glass for us to keep us in training for the performances. Not to mention the balance blocks. But it was weights first and, with Dave and I naked as we almost always are at home, it didn’t take them long to dump the wet towels from around their waists…
Enough. No pix of skinny guys here. But they really put some work in. After some drinks, Dave suggested a gentle wrestle, to see what they knew. One thing led to another… to oil… and to us having two really sweet new friends. I guess Dave and I showed off a bit with the fakir stuff and some balancing on our canes (useful warm-up for tonight’s show)…
And they say they’ll be in the gym tomorrow before 7am, and shirtless at least.
Invitations to our private quarters are rare, and will remain so. Our personal space, etc. etc. but just once in a while (and when our very special friends from US or UK come to stay with us) we’ll put out the welcome mat. Just as long as the clothes stay on it!
Off to set up the show now – I’ll finish this after and post before bedtime!
Picture theme for the rest…beefing up the guys. Obviously.
And, in contrast to those rather well-equipped gyms…
…a guy making the best of a bad job, who sure deserves better!
To end for today, a prizewinning street workout boy.