Me Vasa Es Su Vasa: The Viral Pleasures of Working Out Once Again

I am overweight. I know this. I live with this. And I always have.

Growing up, my father would become suddenly violent and constantly hurt me with his words and fists; when he was finally finished, I would always waddle to the fat-filled sanctuary of various foodstuffs that I had hidden to find what little relief I could in all kinds of nasty eats, the chub-inducing grub a comforting consort that was always there, always loving me, always healing me.

And then I died.

Nowadays, however, when this bastard life and the sons of bitches that live in it attack me as they are usually wont to do, instead of filling my gut with slop I just go to the gym and, each time, workout a little bit harder than the day before, getting stronger and feeling better, centering myself and my feelings. That’s pretty good for a “lazy usurper,” right?

Since my stroke three years ago, through excessively hard work I’ve managed to lose around 150 pounds, give or take the twenty that I recently put on during the Covid crisis when the gyms in my area were eternally shuttered. Before then, my habit was to walk to Gold’s Gym everyday and put in an hour or so of strenuous exercise, for almost a year.

Sadly, when the gyms finally opened back up, Gold’s stayed closed, this time for good.

As I was waiting for my expensive membership to end—no, Gold’s wouldn’t let that go even in a pandemic—a new place opened on the gravesite of the old Buy for Less called Vasa Fitness, 2500 N. Penn Ave. A few weeks ago, I finally joined and have been walking the half-mile to and from every day, exercising again and doing a pretty good job of it; not to get all positive on you, but I feel that if I keep my eyes on the thighs, I can get back on track.

And I’ll try to avoid Covid, of course.

Television’s “Marquee Moon” usually starts off the workout, beginning with the legs, cycling my way up to the arms—the worst part, personally—usually doing four sets of 25 reps each, an admittedly tedious routine that I learned when I was in rehab, slowly increasing whatever machine’s weight by ten to fifteen pounds every few weeks. It always leaves me with sensual pains that hurt so bad, every muscle burning with the softest of sighs.

But that’s not to say there aren’t a few things at Vasa that are mildly annoying to me. Whereas Gold’s Gym was a serious place for serious workouts, Vasa seems to be more of a youthful meat market, with a lot of presumably OCU kids on their phones. Nearly every visit, when I’m in the middle of a stressful workout, I’ll have to either wait or skip an important machine because some imbecile is blindly playing with social media or some other telephonic bullshit.

Personally though, like many places I step into these days, at 42, I always feel like I’m the oldest—and in here, the fattest—person in the entire gym and, truthfully, I usually am. For a long time, that inane fear of wrecked stares and whispered insults kept me out of health clubs until I finally realized that I’d much rather have a person insult me, real or imagined, for working out than not. In a word, fuck ‘em.

Vasa has three membership stages, with mine being somewhere around $21 a month—$26 after fees—and, in a couple of weeks, another $50 add-on, which, like most gyms, is a pretty expected fee. But, for that twenty bucks, I get a swimming pool (that I can’t use), a sauna (that’s currently closed) and, best of all, a hydro-massage chair that I’ve only used once but, if I’m being graphically honest, gave me pornographic pleasure as the small waves rolled up and down my taut buttocks.

So yeah, I’m overweight and, you know, I might be until the day I die. But at least I can be damn sure I won’t be buried in a piano crate.

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Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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