What kind of masochists are we that we go to the gym to experience pain for our own good? I was there again today and learned a few things from Eric, a trainer.

First was confirmation that the bicycle crunch is far superior to any other kind—it works your external obliques as well. I did three sets of 40 each. What a burn. Hot and wiped.

Secondly that a “chin up” is when your fingers are pointing towards you, and a “pull up” is when they aim away. Using the chinning bar is as good as it gets for building up lats and then working on your abs by doing hanging crunches. Make those pull ups wide too.

I wasn’t too swift today. I could do 6 pull ups (up 1), but only 5 chin ups afterward (down 5). But I did all the bar work at the end of the work out. And this was one of the few times—maybe the first—when I was at the gym two days out of three, so my muscles didn’t get much rest.

There was a woman in the gym who was astonishingly muscular. Someone said she might use steroids. Whatever. I watched her work, she was pumping the iron vigorously, and she was a real inspiration. Her chest and muscles made me feel very puny.

Eric also said that to be able to show abs takes not only muscle and low body fat, which he said I have, but also that you just have to be born with a body that can show your abs. Fortunately I might be one of those lucky guys who can display something like a strutting turkey. But I’d like to believe that hard work can produce successful results for almost anyone. What do you think?