Written by Brandon Swofford Photos by Melissa Toribio & Juan Hernandez
“Undies? Check! Shorts? Check! iPod & Earbuds? CHECK! Keys and card? CHECK! Towel? CHECK!” Those are the words of me as I do my personal check-off for my belongings to start my workout for the day. When you head over to the iron paradise, you must come prepared. Eggs have been devoured, water has been chugged, and more water will be chugged as I step outside of my car and into the parking lot of my favourite gym. I locked the car like a boss and walked over to the door. And I parked fairly far because it helps to get some nice strides in for the LEGS. Mmmmmmmmm. I glanced over at the brick wall all around the building and see the indoor swimming pool filled with geezers and toddlers like a Pops cereal bowl through the glass windows. I held the door open for the strangers walking through because my heart is as gold as a Golden Globe. And humble too! I step inside to see the whitest of white walls and floors. Talk about Wonder Bread, this place seems dull. My white skin starts to blend into the interior design that I almost look like a walking shirt and sports bag. I stepped over to the front desk where we see the bored employee, who can’t wait to clock out, growl at my positivity as I checked in with my trusty membership card! They muttered, “Have a wonderful workout, you fiend!” I don’t mind what they call me because by this point I have already whipped out my iPod blasting “Lady Marmalade” through my ear-buds. I am ready. Daddy's gotta go to work. I pushed through the annoying children, avoiding any eye contact and keep my focus on what matters in the following steps… First... Getting Yolked.
1. Use Music As Inspiration I pushed the mini-gate and go through the mini hallway with two big, boring bathrooms as I made my way into the IRON PARADISE! Each step I made was to the beat of the music… “Gitchie, gitchie, ya ya dada!” I chugged some mouth-watering water and lifted…. My hand. My hand is lifted to reach for… my gloves. My gloves finally reached for the weights and I started pumping away. “Hey sista, go sista, soul sista, flow sista!” As I got stronger I simultaneously got more and more oblivious of the people around me! So, of course, I started belting “IF YOU WANNA GIUCHIE, GUICHIE YA YA, MOCHA CHOCOLATE-A WHAT!” Some are amused. Most are not. One time I was singing this song so loud while lifting and this lady at the front desk said “WHAT’S GOING ON? WHAT ARE YOU DOING? “ And then she chased me around with a jump rope whipping it at me like a Circus Ringer. One of those is true. After 134 lifts I make my way to stretch. Next on the playlist is usually “My Humps” by the Black Eyed Peas or “What Is Love?” by Haddaway. This time, it’s “Happy Birthday”. As I belted out this tune, the person next to me was wondering how I knew today was their big day. I touched my toes then look up to see the people sweating away. This place both smells and looks like sweat, except for that one person who is just casually walking with their nose in the air on my favorite machine. I MUST GO ON THAT MACHINE. MUST. But before then, I must keep myself as busy as possible...
"Next on the playlist is usually “My Humps” by the Black Eyed Peas or “What Is Love?” by Haddaway. This time, it’s “Happy Birthday”. As I belt out this tune and the person next to me is wondering how I knew today was their big day.”
2. Push Yourself To Try New Machines I was patiently waiting and singing along with my cousin, Celine Dion, I worked my gluteus on the Life Fitness machine. Neither of those details is false. I then reached over by the personal trainer’s desk on the far left side of the room to get some jump rope. I jumped away and felt the sweat pouring down my face as I got faster and faster. Even when I messed up, I got back in and started over. This was where I had reached it, the high… the high feeling you get when you work out and feel those calories being dissolved like the end of Infinity War. I was jumping, looking at myself in the reflection and singing "Reflection” from Mulan. I know what you are thinking... “Wow! He must really like doing this with people running away from him and his vocals!” You are right! I am a heart that must be free to fly! When will my reflection show who I am inside!? NOW, I SAY!
3. Always Stretch! After jump-roping outdoors, I walk back to the gym to see… that person with their nose in the air walking slower and slower on my favorite machine… I AM TRIGGERED! I could go up to them and say “Hey! Let me show you how it’s done!” But I am a patient man… let em’ have their fun… or their walk. I did a roundabout of the other machines tackling every other body part I had not worked on; thigh, calf, tricep, bicep, ab, chest, back and, of course, forearm. I glanced over after 27 minutes and finally, that person was making their way off my favorite machine and I leapt for joy! I sprinted over so I can do some running, I got on, grabbed my water and Daddy is home! Just before I finished my roll call and checklist, I realize I forgot something…. The stretch! I rapidly stretched my body before running and then pump the jams, pump it up. I run, run, run and suddenly I almost tripped. I saved my ass for a second, then, I actually FALL ON MY ASS. A THUD was made on the floor from my big butt, and I cannot lie, it was pretty embarrassing. I didn't sing. No “Lady Marmalade” can save me now. I blinked away the tears as I realize that I am not a God…. Yet.
4. Never Give Up I have been knocked down, but I got up again! Nothing was going to keep me down. In order to achieve the God-Bod in the iron paradise, you just got to keep pushing through. The evil wind is always trying to beat you down to the ground, the hammer of Thor may hit you like a whack-a-mole until to drown into the dirt, but you got to do whatever the flip it takes to show your worth. I can feel the intensity as I picked myself up, stretched my legs and started on my favorite machine... again. I ran some more as I sang along with Cher and the muggled around the gym have turned up the volume on the headphones louder to block the world out. THEY CAN’T HANDLE MY THUNDER. 5. Always Do A Cool Down After 2 miles on the thing, I am drenched like I just got off Splash Mountain while feeling awesome! Before leaving my baby, I got to cool a nice down and walked for about 4-5 minutes. This helped ease back into my inner peace so I could calmly leave my sanctuary. I press my towel on my forehead, chug more H2O and I sweated each step of the way to pick up my sports bag. I then made my way to the locker room dripping a waterslide of sweat, ignoring the people I walk past who slip and fall on their Weenus’. After showering the God-Bod, I walk out clean as a whistle and say “Thank you, guys!” to the people at the front desk. They are slightly more amused. I, however, am very amused at the start of my day has been conquered. If you can run a mile, you can run through the day.