My Headstand Hero

I went to the gym this morning and it was a sea of silver hair. I've got a few days off work as Julia is visiting. She fancied a swim so I toddled off for some cardio. I guess it make sense that silver-hair ration was high at 8.30 on a Monday; most people would be busy thinking murderous thoughts about heading back to work after the weekend.

There were about a dozen older gentlemen and I had a great time observing their behaviour from my cross-trainer perch. Some puttered serenely on recumbent bikes or the hand-cycle thing; some zipped along on the treadmill; one bloke tsk-tsked as he tidied weight plates back into their correct spots as some infidel had messed up the system.

Then there was my new hero. He was in shorts and a vest top with manly hairy shoulders. He was kneeling with his head on the floor, a dumbell in each hand. At first I thought, he must be having a little breather. Then he started to move and I thought, cool, maybe he's going to do dumbell planks?

But no. He got into a FREAKING HEADSTAND. Full body, perfectly straight…

image from
then somebloodyhow he slowly pushed the dumbells in and out along the floor, in and out, in and out. Then he did one side at a time. He just stood there, on his head, working those dumbells, for about three minutes. 

I've Googled every combination of headstands + dumbells and can't find a picture or video to explain what he was doing, I am hoping my description makes sense. I can only conclude he made up the move himself; he was just sitting around one day and thought… no, wait… he was just standing around on his head one day and thought, how can I make this look even more astoundingly impressive in front of those old coots at the gym?

Mission accomplished, dude. Minutes later Headstand Hero was cranking out pull-ups like a champ. Jaws dropped around the room.

My workout had been lacklustre up to that point but he totally inspired me. I got on the rowing machine to finish my session with 2000m. I noticed the strapping young man beside me had just set his boat to do the same distance. I challenge thee to a duel! I said to him, in my head.

I rowed furiously through the imaginary sea. We were going at the same pace for ages which I felt mega smug about, but then at about 1500m, 2000m started to feel like an awfully long way, particularly having not been on a rowing machine for about four years. My face was beetroot and my whole body was fried. I glanced over at my rival; he was serene, unsweaty and unaware beneath his headphones. He also had the machine set four levels higher. He beat me by about 30 seconds, damnit. But still, full credit to my Headstand Hero for inspiring me to kick some Monday morning butt!

19 thoughts on “My Headstand Hero

  1. There are some advantages when going to a mixed gym πŸ™‚ The gym I go is ladies only and mostly the ladies are pro-looking athletes or skinny teens. No headstand heroes there.

  2. Excellent! Thinking about the long term — what I’d like to be able to do when I’m that age — is something that inspires me. Not that I’d necessarily aspire to a headstand and dumbbell routine, but still… And good on ya for the rowing machine contest! We just bought some real rowing machines (inflatable double kayaks) so I hope to be getting similar exercise before too long.

  3. Just goes to show you can’t count out the old farts, they show us up every now and again don’t they? LOL! I don’t know if I would have been able to restrain myself from going over to talk to him and ask about his routine, he sounds like a cool dude!


  4. I love it when someone does something out-of-the-ordinary impressive at the gym.

    Go, the old folks!

  5. One of the best yoga people I have ever seen was well into her 70’s. Headstands, handstands, you name it, she did it. She was slim and thin and a real powerhouse.

    One of my original yoga instructors was just over 300lbs after giving birth to 3rd child when I first met her. (A low weight for her was 200 lbs.) She could hold all of that body weight, at her highest, easily – planks, Chaturanga Dandasana in beautiful form.

    I have a woman in my pilates class that just taught herself to run and is now doing daily 5 miles (in her late 60’s). She is slim-ish, but was not at all in shape.

    Saw your notes – smiled that you were a bloodhound on track to figure out the start of my foot debacle.

  6. wow – the headstand guy is hard core! Some people are just like that, I guess…

    Good for you for having a wee regatta with the strapping young lad next to you!

    (ps – I enjoy your posts so much – you always make me smile!)

  7. Fantastic…how cool to be able to do something outstanding like that! I’m terrible on the rowing machines – I can’t resist a race and then regret it when I collapse off the machine, panting like a racehorse, scarlet and dripping with sweat! Not a good look.

    Lesley xx

  8. I am so happy to have found your blog! I recently started on a journey to lose 200 pounds, so am ecstatic to read about others who have done the same. I can’t wait until I can do one of those poses, but I know it will soon come. I look forward to becoming a regular reader! Check out my blog at

  9. Wow, what an man! But I have to ask, why? Is there a physical advantage to working dumbbells in Headstand, and if so, what is it? Or is he just showing off his circus skills, which is not very much in tune with yoga philosophy. Maybe he was trying to impress chicks, looks like it worked!

  10. Cheers for your comments folks!

    @Blessed Love – lovely to meet you! Hope you’re enjoying blogging!

    @Paola – I have been pondering that one too! I wonder if it’s one those, “f*ck it man, I can do dumbbells on my head and I want the world to know!” Heheh πŸ™‚

  11. Wow, what a way to impress the older crowd at the gym although to be honest, that move would impress anyone at any age!

  12. This totally reminds me of this little old lady at a gym I went to in Japan! I’d be plugging away on the treadmill and the woman — had to be 85+ — would catch my eye and start doing push-ups. Had to admire the spirit. And maybe that is why they live so long over there! πŸ™‚

Comments are now closed on all Dietgirl posts. For fresh conversation please visit me at