Sometimes I feel like I lead several different lives. One of these lives is the me I am at the gym. I have never had a workout buddy so no one I know from other parts of my life really knows this part of me. Yesterday I got out of bed at 5:15 and put on gym clothes, went to a spin class, came home and left the house again with CF to carpool to work (and breakfast!) before I ever really woke up. Thinking back on the spin class later in the day it almost seemed like it was all a dream. And this is frequently the case with these classes. I like it much better than having to go to the gym at the end of the day, dreading it and just wanting to go home and put my feet up instead.
The gym is a little world of it's own. I'm guessing it's a lot like your gym, but what I mean is that people can have very different identities there than they do in the outside world. LT was telling me earlier today that she has a reputation for having a recognizable clientele. "What the heck does that mean?" I asked and she wouldn't really answer. I guess we're all a bit loud, a bit smart-mouthed. LT seems very serious when you first meet her but the sass comes out very quickly. I had to learn to hold my ground with her. One day she wanted me to do the squat machine that always, always, always makes little blood vessels in my shoulders red. I hate it. I whined to her, "Nooooo, please can I do that leg press instead? I like that one." "Don't you want your booty to look good?" "Noooo!" She was so surprised to hear any woman say that she caved and let me do my leg press. One day I tattled something silly she said to OT (no relation except they got certified together) and she was so mad at me she insisted I was going to do these single armed shoulder/lat pull downs until she got tired of watching me do them. "Well, you'll never get tired of looking at this!" I said as I pulled down the arm on her side and gave her the look that she always accuses of being "sultry." She threw her head back and laughed. Who says getting exercise isn't fun? She also told me once that people ask her what she has me do in the way of flexibility training. "Ummmm, nothing," she has to tell them. But apparently the other trainers like to tell people I've worked hard at becoming so bendy. Some people would kill to be as flexible as I seem to be destined to be all my life naturally. "You're the envy of the gym," she tells me. Me? The envy of meat-head central? Go figure!
And then there's the little part of me that's even more secret. But these are things about me that seem to be disappearing slowly, like the weight. I didn't used to have the guts to use the weight room, I still don't particularly like working out alone but it is something I have conquered. Basically since high school I have never changed in the dressing room part of the locker room. I do what I can to get dressed for the gym at home, and I always shower at home. If I was stuck getting changed into gym clothes there I did it in a stall of the restroom. I saw women of all shapes and sizes changing out in the dressing room but I still felt too gross to do so myself. Well, I did it quickly and there was hardly anyone even in the place but I conquered that fear as well last week. It's just stupid that something as simple as just using a dressing room like everyone else can remind me to appreciate how far I've come.
And just earlier today I accomplished something that I didn't think I'd ever really do. Now, I do spin classes, and go for long periods of time on the elliptical trainers, and walk up and down this crazy hill in my neighborhood. But I had not run since high school as well, not even a slow jog. I knew I was getting fitter and lighter but my knees are still a bit weak from years of carrying most of 300 pounds around. I didn't think I could... no, I didn't think I should run. I don't know where the urge came from but today I found myself cranking up the speed on my treadmill. I couldn't get away with a fast paced walking stance, and I found myself shifting into a runner's stance. This was at a speed that my husband could probably still walk with those long crazy legs of his, but there I was, basically jogging. I tried to ignore the awful feeling of my backside not enjoying the higher impact activity, and it was easy once I really looked myself in the mirror. I loved the sight, it made me want to keep going! Instead I slowed back down after one minute, and took two minutes of my usual pace before cranking it back up again. I didn't want to over do it. Again I did a minute like that and then slowed back down. But after not quite two minutes at the slower pace I realized that I had been in the gym for over an hour and a half and these were the last couple minutes of my workout. What was I holding back for? So I spent the last two and a half minutes jogging and I enjoyed every second of it. I take a lot of happiness from these small victories in life.
Do you appreciate your accomplishments? Will you conquer your fears? I know you can.