Resolution Pain

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I don’t know about you, but this New Year’s resolution stuff has been a humbling experience so far.  Not quite as humbling as being reduced to tears while completing the initial fit test of Insanity…but humbling nonetheless.  Yeaaaaah, that happened.

D joined a gym and I felt pressured to take advantage of the “free guest” option of his membership.  Not because of anything he did, but for the simple fact that I didn’t know how to avoid the gym anymore.  It’s right down the road from our house, it was free for me, and I don’t always have something better to do.  So against my better judgement, I went.  And I was displeased at the thought of it.  I felt like I was on my way to Globo Gym or into battle.  I just knew there were going to be all these gladiators in there, sweating and hollering and staring at all the lesser ones (me) that shouldn’t set foot in their arena.

Thankfully, none of that stuff was true and overall, it hasn’t been that bad.  Although, there certainly have been some cringe worthy moments for me.  On day 1, I stepped on a treadmill and hit start.  In an attempt to increase the speed…I was changing the channels on the TVs.  What’s worse is I didn’t even know I was doing it until I got off that thing and D asked me what show I was trying to find.  Ugh.  I got on an ab machine and thought it was locked out because I couldn’t make it move.  I made D get on there and unlock it but as it turns out I was going in the wrong direction with the moving parts.  How ridiculous I must have looked.  But I’ve gone back since and I’ve actually gotten my own membership, and I’ve been able to do more in an hour than I’ve done in years.  I’m in pain but I’m proud.  And I’m watching people in the gym to find out how machines are supposed to be used before I make an ass of myself again.

As much as I didn’t want to,  I’m on the gym kick.  And yes I know…some people are so annoyed with people like me since we’re taking up all “their” machines being all “New Years Resolutiony” and all.  Thank god they’ve got willpower though, to hang tough for a few weeks when people like me fall off the wagon.  Or at least that’s what’s been said about a million times across social networking sites.  I noticed it before, and thought it was rude but I ignored it since it didn’t have anything to do with me.  But now, that makes me mad.  I didn’t want to post this for fear of offending someone but I decided I should share my feelings since everyone else seems to do the same with little regard for how it might make someone feel.  It’s not directed at anyone in particular but more of a generalized complaint.  Here goes nothing.

Newsflash: you’re in the wrong place if you think weight machines and treadmills belong to you just because you’ve shown a longer commitment or you’re in better shape.  Thing is, they’re everybody’s machines since we’re in public.  Feel free though, to kick me off the machines in your personal gym.  Dare I say, I think you have a social responsibility to let me use that machine and be happy I’m there trying to make the same commitment you have made.  And it wouldn’t hurt for you to know where the defibrillator is…just for posterity’s sake.

I’m no expert but I think there has to be some happy medium.  Yeah, I agree, you should get off your butt and do something on a regular basis.  Maybe you’re strict enough to pair your physical activity with a limited diet of kale smoothies, egg whites and other gross shit, but I am not.  But that doesn’t give you the right to judge me for eating birthday cake or pizza or convince yourself that I shouldn’t even be in the gym if I’m going to eat that stuff.  There’s no need to be cranky because you want that pizza too and you’re too proud to just admit right out there in the open that eating pizza is fine.  Much to my surprise, there’s a “free pizza day” at my new gym.  I didn’t know what to think of it at first.  At the time it seemed counter-intuitive to put that temptation right in the face of a determined gym-goers.  Then I thought it was actually kind of nice.  It’s nice that they are acknowledging that you can be committed to your health and still have pizza on occasion.  They’re saying, “Hey, we know you eat pizza when you’re not here!”  And I know it probably sounds weird to those of you reading but at least you were at the gym working out and making an effort when you ate the pizza versus sitting at home watching TV and ordering for delivery.  At least you kind of earned it?

Please, don’t be sizing people up in the gym.  Don’t be looking at the weight I’m pushing and criticize me for it.  That shit is CRUSHING me and you could kill my frail little spirit so easily (and I think you know that).  Whatever you’re able to do, that’s great.  Whatever you’re working to achieve…go ahead friend!  In my case, I would love to feel better about myself and enjoy my health.  But I think even more than that I’m hoping for stress relief.   If I found a way to physically rid myself of some burdens then a lot of other things would fall into place.  So before you write me off based on your standards and goals for gym going…try to consider that maybe I’m not aiming for the same things you are.  Our measures for success might not even be similar.

We all have to start somewhere and think before you judge someone that may not be in as great of shape as you.  At some point in your life, YOU were the one in someone’s way at the gym.  You have no idea what battles strangers in the gym face.  Maybe I have a thyroid problem and I’m on medication that makes it nearly impossible for me to lose weight.  Maybe I’m a stay-at-home mother of four and now that all of my children are in school,  I have a few unclaimed hours for the first time in 8 years to take care of myself.  Maybe I’m somebody that’s been on both ends of the spectrum and everywhere in between at different times of my life.  Perhaps I’ve been out of shape and overweight, and I’ve been in incredible shape, and I’ve been beaten down from a lengthy eating disorder that still haunts me everyday.  Maybe I’ve been so scared of failing that its kept me out of the gym for far longer than I intended.  You never know, so think before you open your big ole’ mouth.  Your negative attitude can be detrimental.

But conversely, thank you to those of you that have been in the gym for a long time and show us newbies that what we want can be done.  We see you, and even if we try to pretend you aren’t there because we know we’re not worthy, we see you.  You make it not so painful to show up when there’s a million other things we would rather be doing.  And even if you aren’t aware, you’re silently encouraging us all and inspiring better health.  Kudos to you!

Hope you all are still on the wagon, whatever your resolutions were.  Best of luck for continued success.

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6 responses »

  1. Everybody started somewhere, don’t ever let the “regulars” intimidate you. Plus, once you make it past Valentine’s Day you’re basically one of them.

    Keep it up and soon you’ll be joining me at Salem Lake for a jog!

  2. First off, congrats on taking the first step! Getting to the gym for the first time is one of the most intimidating experiences ever. It’s just as bad if you take time off (say, 6 months or so) and then go back in as I did today.

    I’d like to offer a couple of tips for you. Whether you find them valuable or not will depend on your ultimate goal and reasons for going to the gym, and I’m certainly not going to judge any of it. My main goal is to get back to a healthy BMI and keep my cholesterol and blood pressure in check, which is NOT an easy task given the gravitational pull of chocolate, donuts, candy, and everything else that’s good in the world. I apologize in advance if I’m telling you stuff you already know. Anyway, enough rambling and on to the tidbits:

    -Take it slow and keep it fun. Those are the only ways to ensure you will stick with it. Burnout is very common 1-2 months in, especially with New Year’s resolutions.
    -Do the right kinds of exercise. Cardio is great, but its most efficient as high intensity, short duration. There’s no need to slave on the treadmill for an hour unless your ultimate goal is endurance running. If you’re just trying to get in shape and lose fat, I’d be on there no more than 20 minutes, but make it a good 20 minutes that gets your heart rate up and keeps it there nearly the entire time.
    -Weight training is where it’s at. If your workout lasts a total of an hour, you could increase your total calorie burn by 40% by doing just 20 minutes of good weight training.
    -No amount of ab crunches or situps will cause belly fat to melt away . They’ll make your core muscles better at sucking in the gut, but the only way to get rid of it is to burn it away. Speaking of:
    -No amount of exercise will overcome poor eating habits. This is not to say pizza, cookies, and the good stuff needs to be banned. But everything in moderation. 🙂
    -Pro Tip: Calorie counts don’t matter. The quality of food does. I could go on for days about this if you’re interested.

    Congrats again!

    • It certainly is difficult to make all of this a habit. I’ve got to work on my diet too, and I know it. But there are some things I’m not willing to give up. Which I think is fine since I’m not trying to become some fitness model. Just hoping to lead a more balanced life. Best of luck to you too, as you re-enter the gym!

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