Have you faced your greatest fear at the gym? Unfortunately, what I thought was my greatest fear was pale in comparison to what transpired.

When I moved to Nashville, a membership to the downtown YMCA made sense to me. If my poor excuse for a white trash Miranda Priestly of a boss was getting on my nerves, I could use my lunch hour to escape and work out my frustrations. Also, if traffic was backed up after work, the gym would once again be my refuge until the congestion subsided. After a few days of getting accustomed to the gym, I was beginning to feel more comfortable in my new surroundings. 

As a side note, if you are one of the muscle bound guys that grunt while you are lifting those 300 pound weights to get other guys to look at you, then it works. But let me point out two things: 1. Your intimidating and 2. It’s an annoying noise that interferes with everyone else’s work out. Please be more considerate of those around you.

As with everything else in my life, the unexpected happened. A family member passed away; my truck broke down near Trinity Lane at night; and the boss’s ranting and raving got worse. Mentally, I couldn’t take it and in the process my appetite was lost, but the drive was there to continue to work out. Sadly, the result of my drive was embarrassment. On the way back to my locker from swimming a mile, I fainted.

You would think that a guy sprawled out on the floor in a towel would cause someone to feel compassion and help his fellow man. Instead, men just stepped over me to get to the lockers. After regaining consciousness, I threw on my clothes and decided to never go back to the gym again. My plans on leaving were short lived though. By the time I made it to the hallway for my escape, my body gave out on me again.

Fortune would smile upon me this time. The ladies who work in the nursery, saw me hit the floor. Like Florence Nightingale, the two ladies came to my rescue. They brought me into the nursery, found me a doctor and helped me back on my feet again.

For the next few weeks, I stayed away from the YMCA. My ego and dignity had to recover. What brought me back to the Downtown Y was a chance I took online. A personal ad caught my eye. Unlike the typical gay personal ad, which describes who, what, when, where and how for a one-night stand, this ad was seeking someone to hold him accountable for “legitimate” workouts.

Jason and I met and started working out three days a week downtown. We became pretty good friends, but he moved to Washington D.C. just a few months after we got set in our routine. Because of him, I met a wonderful person named Johanna. Motivated, energetic and fun loving are just a few of the words that describe her. But what impressed me most about this person is that she filled one of the voids in my life. That void was competitive swimming. I miss having a team that I can depend on as well as the smell of chlorine in the morning.  

Chlorine (the grunting of men) and some of the nicest people in Nashville can be found at the Downtown YMCA. Though this location of the YMCA is reorganizing, I hope it doesn’t lose the “blond,” who makes everyone feel welcome, or the rest of the staff, who take care of members that faint in hallways.

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

Red Bull Unlocked Nashville

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

Rumble Boxing Gulch, Nashville

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Post-Covid travel planning

Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?

For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:

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