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Reacquainting Myself with the Gym: Enjoy the Trip…

All my life, I have been accustomed to working out.  I have spent more than half my life in 3 sports for prolonged periods of time to which “choosing” to work out was never an issue.  It was simply something I did and didn’t think twice about doing.  Well now I am faced with forcing myself to “choose” to work out.  Blah.

When did this love for working out die out?  Maybe it was simply because working two jobs and maintaing some social, church and prayer time was completely exhausting!  I don’t have time for a riff-raff let alone any other additions to this schedule and yet, I realize there is a gapping hole missing.  I miss working out.  I miss feeling healthy and not tired and sluggish.  I miss the burn.  And for all of this yearning to fill the void, last night I chose to work out.

I left the house with my essentials: full water bottle, iPod, headphones and keys with gym card.  I was wearing and testing out my Bolder Band and a giant sweatshirt.  Normally, I would try and at least look put together in case I would run into someone.  Last night, I just didn’t care.  I wasn’t there to impress–I was there to work out darn it–but boy this was a trip!

the author in workout gear holding ipod and water bottle

The Trip: Part 1

Activity: Cardio and Endurance.

Music: Fun. and Fall Out Boy

Mental State: Do work son!  Ready to go!

I stretched my legs, neck, back and arms.  I rolled my ankles and wrists to loosen up a bit.  After that, I sound an open treadmill and I found myself in the center of the gym anxious as ever.  Anxiety rises.

Treadmill is on and walking starts.  I started walking at a good pace to get the blood going.  I had a full water bottle sitting in the cup holder, so I forced myself to drink it.  I knew I needed more water than just that one bottle, so I had to drink 2 bottles before I could leave the treadmill for good.  My hands started to feel clammy.  I started to fidget.  My anxiety level continues to rise.  Were other people looking at me?  I started to become self conscious and look around at other persons working out.  I tried to keep myself loose by stretching…

“Oh her hair is cute!”

“Her hair is done with full make-up for the gym?  Maybe she came from work or something…” 

“how is that guy running in a ball cap? If that were me, that would have flown off by now”

“oh crap, almost dropped the iPod….again….I need to switch this song to something else”

“holy geez that guy is ripped! I wonder how much he can squat…”

“WOW I could really help that guy out with hair color…”

“He is super cute…oh and there is his girlfriend….”

“Oh her workout gear is so different, wonder where she got it?”

“I hope I’m not bothering this guy next to me with my water bottle crinkle noise…oh well if I am!”

Yes that is literally everything that went through my head for the first 7 or so minutes so I switched to running.  

If you're on the treadmill next to be we are racing

Surely I was not the only person in the history of working out at a gym that this has happened to! After that, I switched walking and running every 7 minutes from there on out.  I did this for 30 minutes and polished off the second bottle of water.  Refill water bottle….next machine!

The Trip: Part 2

Activity: Stairs; Legs and Gluts

Music: Imogen Heap, Instrumentals 

Mental State: Motivated

I have a love hate relationship with the stair climb machine.  It is hard for me.  I was really going to do work on this one!  Left foot then right foot (repeat).  I almost wiped out because my toe caught the lip of the plastic where the mystery stair appears…then I tried to drop my iPod again.  So I just kept my head down. Sigh. Don’t. Fall. Off. Machine…. To my dismay, I was appalled at my progress as I was intentionally trying to burn calories.  DID YOU KNOW, 20 minutes on a low to moderate increase of speed having climbed over 40 flights of stairs burned just over 100 calories!?  I found my mind wandering here too.  You see there is a window on the other side of the machine that leads to where most of the guys lifting major weight go.  So of course I felt like I was putting on a show for them!  “HEY YOU STOP STARING AT MY ASSETS!”  Grrr…..just drink your water, Cate and calm the heck down….“WOOSAH!” ( Moving back to the mat…

The Trip: Part 3

Activity: Core Strength

Music: Jason Mraz: Geek in the Pink

Mental State: Cool. Calm. Collected.

Then, not 10 minutes later,  I was just annoyed.  There were a bunch of high school girls sitting on the mats taking up space and talking.  There are other places to talk. Don’t you go to the gym to exercise?  

Once I switched to planks, I was dependent upon the wall clock to know when my minute was up.  WELL guess who moved right in front of the clock!?  The talking young ladies!  I was scooting to locate the clock.  Could this girl not see me?  Was I not being obvious???  Squirm more.  Ouch this is really starting to burn….come on move?!  Has it been a minute yet….WHAT I HAVE 15 more seconds?!  At the end of my 15 seconds, I collapsed on the mat.  I was done with the gym at that point.  I was just done.  I was irritated and annoyed.  

I stretched for 5 minutes then, I gathered my things and I took my rear home.

Finale: Light Bulb Moment!

Activity: Reflection

Music:  Jimmy Eat World: “The Middle”

Mental State: Partly annoyed with a chance of irritation….

Last night, I realized why it had taken me so long to get back to the gym.  It wasn’t the being at the gym that bothered me so much as what happens at the gym.  I get annoyed at others lack of awareness or consideration toward other’s space and workout needs.  As humans naturally are comparing ourselves to one another based on a perception of progress.  I won’t wear form fitting clothes either because I feel like guys are always ogling over my body despite my perceived imperfections.  I want to work out without catching someone looking at my rear end or cleavage.  It is uncomfortable.  

I think my love of working out paused was when I felt my body change from this fit athletic little girl into a curvy young woman.  I have become overly self conscious with my flaws.  Yes, I have always been muscular, but as the years progress my muscle softens a little bit and is slightly more insulated.  I have let myself go a little bit.  That is directly in relation to me not eating healthy or working out as I should.

I am glad that I have become reacquainted with my old friend the gym as it has made me realize how important it is to take care of myself.  I have a feeling that we are going to become close friends as this year progresses.  I have identified my insecurities of being in the gym environment and flaws with my body.  The trip isn’t going anywhere so might as well enjoy the ride and concur these insecurities.

Look out!  Motivated hair stylist coming through…

Catie Manning

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