My Failures at the Gym: The Journal of a Wimpy Kid

September 3, 2013 /

By Malcolm Rivera for South Kern Sol

Being a teenager isn’t as easy as it seems. Take me for instance. For the longest time I was a professional high school student. That, of course, means that school was my job. Consequently, with academics being on the forefront of my mind, I rarely had time to dedicate toward my own physical fitness. After a very busy senior year, several factors made me realize it was time to get fit.

The first three years of high school weren’t so bad because my poor eating habits were usually offset by my PE classes or by tennis. But then the full brunt of my life style hit me senior year when I found myself without any time for sports, and surrounded by junk food every evening in the school library for “We The People” practice, a program centered on ones knowledge of the United States Constitution.

By the end of the school year, I had gained five pounds (making me 153 lbs.) from junk food alone. The embarrassing moment that made me want to do something about my lack of physical fitness was when I found myself panting after only having gone up five flights of stairs.

And so, on June 10th of this year, I began my journey toward a better me, with each visit to the gym, garnering some less than flattering experiences/memories along the way. And this is the Journal of a Wimpy Kid.


Day 1 – Today, started off well enough. I arrived at the gym in all the proper gear for a workout. T-shirt, shorts, running shoes, IPod, and towel. But oh, it only went downhill from there.

I told an employee at the gym my main goal was weight loss.

He told me, “A lot of running, biking. If you do lifting, lift less weight with more repetitions.”

Okay, running. I can do that. I’ll just run a mile, get a nice warm up before I get into the real stuff.

Six minutes (or .75 miles) later.

Oh God! Why am I still running?!? It’s been, what? At least 10 minutes.

WHAT? SIX MINUTES! You have got to be kidding me!

Forget this! I’m walking the last quarter mile.


Day 2 – Alright, cardio didn’t go too well yesterday. Maybe I should do strength training. Bench press seems like a good way to ease myself into this gym thing.

Let’s see here… Umm…I guess I should try to lift my body weight to begin with, so I’ll load 150 lbs. onto the bar.

Alright, got a good grip, I’m hydrated, I’m ready to go!

I was wrong.

I lifted the bar off the rack, and it slowly, but surely went lower, and lower, and lower. Before I even had a chance I had 150 lbs. resting on my chest.

I thought, this is fine! I can get out of this, totally. Yeah, yeah, I just have to move slightly to the… OUCH!

BAD IDEA! Maybe I’ll just lay here for a second, build up my strength, and then push this bar off!

I put everything I had into one, single push. And, of course, it was not enough. I lift the bar about a foot off myself before it came crashing back down.

Eventually, one of the other gym members just felt sorry for me, but apparently not enough to avoid embarrassing me. This house of a man came up behind me, lifted the bar with one hand, and told me, “Go do some leg exercises.”

But I did not follow the wise shaman’s advice. Instead, I sit, and lament the fact that I’m not as strong as I thought I was.


Day 3 – I finally decided to return to the gym after a three day hiatus. I’ve thought long and hard about this and I’ve realized that I have to play to my strengths to begin with.

1.     Attempt at short distance running:

Okay, the max mph this treadmill has is 12. So I’ll just run for a half mile, and I’ll be done before I know it.

But the stars had written a different fate. At the .45 mile mark I began to slow. And as I slowed, my legs began to collapse on themselves. I. Was. Falling. 

I desperately reached for the control console to hold on for dear life. There I was. Hanging onto the panel that told this death trap what to do, while my feet dragged on the running lane.

As a last ditch effort, I used one hand to hit “STOP” on the panel. And suddenly, I was saved. 

I gathered up what remained of my dignity, and I went to the stationary bike.

2.     Cycling: 

This is where shorts are a detriment rather than a benefit. Because the pedals were angled away from the seat, I had to put my legs in front of my body in order to pedal.

Oh the humanity! Little did I know what would happen next. As I began to pedal faster and faster I began to notice my short’s legs jumping every time I pedaled down. Eventually, my short’s leg popped up, moving toward my torso, and landed in a way that exposed my boxer briefs to everyone in the room. 

Praise God that only a few people noticed, and praise him even more that I haven’t run into them since.


ONE MONTH LATER – I hope you enjoyed my failures as much as I enjoyed writing about them. But I would just like to note a few things before we end here:

        I now weigh 142 lbs.

        I can lift 100 lbs. on the bench press

        I can run a mile without hurting myself

        I constantly post mile times under seven minutes

        I now cycle with exclusively in sweatpants in order to avoid further incidents

I’m still not the best runner, lifter, or cyclist, but I do feel better about myself. I feel better because I know, despite all the mishaps, I stuck with my gym, and I saw results.