July 22nd, 2009
01:48 PM ET

What would David Beckham’s abs do?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/22/art.beckham.soccer.jpg caption="David Beckham #23 of the Los Angeles Galaxy takes a shot against AC Milan during the international friendly last week in Carson, California."]

Jack Gray
AC360° Producer/Writer

You can only take your health for granted for so long. Never one to have been a fanatic about blood pressure and cholesterol, I’ve lately become somewhat of a gym rat, unyielding in my devotion to physical fitness unless there’s a compelling reason to stay home…like it’s cloudy outside or I’m watching The View.

I’m not entirely sure what prompted this renewed interest in my overpriced club membership. Perhaps, selfishly, it has something to do with my recent beach vacation – a coconut rum-fueled derailment of self-esteem if there ever was one. Or maybe I’ve realized – amid all the talk about health care reform – that, although I’m one of the fortunate ones who currently have coverage, there are no guarantees in life.

I suppose it’s a byproduct of me trying to accept that if – at age 28 – I’m not as healthy as I could be…well, I have no one to blame but myself: I used to smoke and have been known to enjoy a drink or five. And I’ve tried, with varying degrees of success, to end my love affair with chicken fingers. Though, frankly, I’m not sure I want to live in a world without breaded poultry.

Regardless, following through with exercise isn’t easy. At least not for me. For me, going to the gym is like going to a wedding. I have to drag myself there and by the time I leave I’m sweaty and full of resentment. And thinking about cake.

At one point I was convinced the only way I would go to the gym was if I had a financial obligation beyond my monthly dues. So, I signed up with a personal trainer. (You’re welcome, American Express.) His name was Scott and he was a genuine ex-Abercrombie and Fitch model. Yeah, I hated him, too. Anyway, Scott got a kick out of making me run up and down the gym stairwell for an hour. He said it was for my own good but I think it was just an easy way to keep me busy while he admired his biceps. Three days a week, every week, for who knows how many months – up and down those stairs. Each morning I would show up hoping Scott had finally gotten a call from Susan Lucci requesting he give up his fitness career to play her frisky cabana boy, Pierre.

Now personal trainer-less, the burden of staying in fighting shape rests squarely on my shoulders. There is, in my view, no longer time to procrastinate. Life is short, the clock is ticking…pick whatever cliché you want. It may at times be painful and I may never have David Beckham’s abs…but hopefully it’ll buy me some more time on this earth.

Besides, the chicken fingers never loved me back.

Follow Jack Gray on Twitter @JackGrayCNN

soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    Hi Jack!
    I understand how u feel about the gym... yeah tough times. Going to the gym 3 times a week is easier said than done. haha just try your best and don't be lazy!

    July 23, 2009 at 3:37 am |
  2. shee

    Welcome back! It's been a l-o-n-g wait.

    July 22, 2009 at 11:35 pm |
  3. Minou, New York City

    Keep it up, Jack!
    You know, I think now that you truly realize that exercise (and eating healthy!) is essential to good health, I think you will have an easier time working out. Looking great is just a great by-product of working out. I find it is essential to really love your gym and feel comfortable in it. My fancy gym gives me that, my cheap former gym did not, and so I never went. Have good music in your ear to give you energy, and beautiful relaxing music (I love film scores) for stretching. Stretching is really important for your health, too, so don't think you'd only look stupid when you stretch and therefore shy away from it. You do have to eat well, though. My friend went from looking pretty wimpy to perfectly cut in no time bc he started working out with a good trainer who also advised him on what to eat! If I were you, I'd get a trainer again. It's all about keeping your body fit and healthy and flexible! You'll feel better about yourself knowing you do something for yourself, and you will like yourself better in the mirror.
    You can do it!

    July 22, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  4. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    Jack, How we've missed you! 🙂 Welcome back to the wonderful world of blogging! And good luck with your gym goings!

    July 22, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  5. Stephanie

    Great blog! Chicken fingers may not love you back, but baked goods will always be there when you need them!

    July 22, 2009 at 9:55 pm |
  6. Juan from IL

    Hi Jack,

    I was ready to go to the gym but decided to drink some real Puerto Rican Rum (that coconut rum is weak btw) with my chicken fingers and french fries instead. Watching "Black in America 2" with my babe Soledad on CNN!! Please don't tell her. LOL My only advise to you is.... hell life is short so forget this extreme workout stuff and live life to the fullest!! Btw, this rum drink is soooo good!!!

    July 22, 2009 at 9:47 pm |
  7. melissa

    Jack, first of all, I'm so glad you came back from vacation and wrote a blog. Truthfully, I expected more abouttoo big girls in too small 2 pieces at the beach (not that there's anything wrong with that). Instead, you write about being healthier. While I am very proud of you, I feel kind of like a failure now at my own attempts to get fit.

    Second, if ever I'm a lucky enough southern gal, who gets to visit NYC, can I meet you in the alley behind the gym? I'll bring the chicken fingers if you'll bring the dipping sauce....and maybe ding dongs for desert.

    July 22, 2009 at 8:25 pm |
  8. Lori from IL

    Jack -

    Great to see you back blogging - I love reading your posts!! Nothing like some time at the beach to encourage us to spend more time at the gym!

    I admire you for working out and giving up chicken fingers and things that are bad for you - I use my workouts to justify visits to Dunkin Donuts, DQ for chicken fingers, etc. - you get the idea! Keep up the good work - can't imagine this world without Tweets and Blogs from Jack Gray!!!

    July 22, 2009 at 8:20 pm |
  9. jamie, Philly

    oh Jack!

    My trainer at the gym had me only do exercises that involved my boobs going up and down...so i ran, did the eliptical, had him spot me on the weights, etc and he never once looked into my eyes...total gentleman that one.

    But at my new gym, i put on my ipod and silently smirk to myself as i watch the work out fanatics run as fast as they can uphill as i take my time and watch the tv. I just imagine them falling of the treadmill and breaking part of their boney bodies.

    as a chicken finger fan myself, i suggest portion control but i cannot cut out my Sangria, so i feel your pain in the pit of my stomach...or wait is that the chicken fingers i just ate...

    anyhoo....keep it up and you'll be even sexier in no time 🙂

    July 22, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  10. justus

    I feel so sorry for the LA galaxy fans because David B have failed them.
    Let me say this to all the LA Fans: I lived in London for five years and to honest with you people Mr. Beckam is more interested in his money making business that the fans. We had overrated him and he has not delivered yet. Please let him go back to Europe. I will like LA galaxy to start thing about bringing players in future like Supper Frank Lampard from Chelsea, Claude Makelele. I know these guys personal. They are loyal and very honest to their fans. Just wipe out Beckham from LA Galaxy

    July 22, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  11. Michelle

    Welcome back Jack. You really have to start doing
    your posts on television.It does not hurt to get into
    shape. Good luck with that.

    July 22, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
  12. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Hellooo Jack!!!!
    Welcome back to blog!!! I missed you so long!!! Yeah, It help me think what I have to taking train for my route exercise few weeks, I love my health! I must have to learn drink lot of water,too! Oh yeah, I agree with your comment and you too. Thanks for laughs for me and cheer me up!!! That is really funny blog I read!!! Kudos to you! Thanks for everything for us to read your joke comment! I am right now on twitter/Facebook. See you there! And also welcome back!

    July 22, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  13. Terri

    Thanks for the ab workout, Jack! I bust a gut every time I read your blog! Laughter is the best medicine!

    July 22, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  14. JJ

    You're doing great, man. Just one word of advice: If you can read a book while you're on the elliptical then you're probably not pushing yourself hard enough. I've got my eye on you!

    July 22, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  15. Tammi

    So glad to see a blog by Jack! It's been way too long!

    July 22, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  16. Heather,ca

    Well Jack your back!

    At least you have Sammy. You can run and play fetch. I have two cats who look at me like I'm nuts every time I try to get them bring back the cat toy. I get to rush over, they run after and wait and I do it over and over again. Yeah my personal trainers have paws and claws. I'll live a long life and they get nine lives just watching me .

    July 22, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  17. Jewelleigh

    Men don't realize how easy they have it when it comes to losing weight and/or staying in shape. A woman's body, because we give life and have to nurture that life, is designed to store fat. So when we diet and start to lose weight our body screams and fights back by producing more fat, oh yippee!

    I'm an exercise freak, spin/cycle 3 times a week, run once a week, weights 2-3 times a week, yoga, etc and yet I struggle to maintain my, what most books and site say, overweight body. What they say is true, after 40 it's all down hill baby andf I'm going full speed. woo woo!

    July 22, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  18. Stacy Kopper

    Ah, considerably older than you but still trying to keep up with the boys - a holdover from my father wanting to produce the first jewish quarterback for Notre Dame - I, too, signed up with a trainer at the gym.

    Just about the time my membership would have been up, I noticed a strange thing...the CupCake Truck started parking a few doors down from the gym. What was this? Some sort of sadistic cross-marketing?

    Needless to say, I re-upped. And, to celebrate, bought the four-pack of cupcakes.

    July 22, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  19. Jennifer NC

    Another great blog. Glad you are back!

    July 22, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  20. shelly drori

    Love the blog, funny, inspirational – i may even shed my snuggie and go for a walk in honor of your efforts to get us to be healthy.
    just one point. WHEN will your slim handsome face appear at the top of this blog instead of AC? i know he is handsome and cute and of course, you wouldnt have a job without him, but, hey he wouldn't get the ratings without you my friend. so, who votes for jacks pic? me for sure.

    July 22, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  21. Danielle


    I am not that much younger than you. I am 26. I do love playing sports, this is pretty much how I stay in shape. I have been to gyms, I am not one to try and lift weights, run on treadmills and have someone tell me how I should work out. BUT...now that I have done a number to my shoulder...I tore my rotator cuff in November, still played sports, til this spring, had it fixed and now I have to follow a strict guideline on what I can and can't do. I am going insane. I am out of shape because I can't sports. I love to run, and play basketball, and kick soccer balls around. I don't really have anyone to play with, so I advise you...if your into sports gather up a bunch of friends and have fun, it will give you a good workout.
    I have wisened up from this injury...I will start listening to what I am told. But if me athletics buy me some more time, then the injuries that come with it is well worth the pain.

    Keep on blogging and tweeting...love hearing from you!

    July 22, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  22. durox

    :} it's not about how long can one stick around on this planet... it's more about the way one feels, in the given time :}

    July 22, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  23. Helen, Reading, UK

    Good Lord, I do believe we've been graced by the presence of the lesser spotted Jack Gray (lowlevel producerus). This is a rare breed, most likely to be found in grocery stores and olive gardens, where they like to pester clerks, feed on breadsticks and Twizzlers, whilst muttering terms of endearment to plates of pasta.. I just want to say, dear Jack, your fans adore you – buff or not! In fact, I've always admired you for not resisting your late night breaded poultry urges. Life is too short to deny ourselves these simple pleasures. And I'm sorry for that Tweet about keeping an eye open for a guy with a harpoon while you were on the beach..I can't help but feel ever so slightly responsible for your current burst of activity.. Rest assured I will take up the slack from your decreased consumption of caffeine, Twizzlers and chicken fingers. I feel I owe it to the nation. Just hope you remember to post pictures of your Beckham-esque abs sometime..purely so we can keep up with your progress. Not so that we can print the picture to put in a frame by our beds. Because that would just be weird..

    July 22, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
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