Yesterday I made good on a threat I’ve been making for years and signed up for a gym membership. I’m sure, like me, you are now wondering why I feel I must be punished in this fashion, but fear not, I have not entirely lost my mind. Well, not with this.
Many moons ago, pre-baby, Hubs and I joined the gym across the street from our apartment complex. We had progressed past the point our treadmill could take us and we still had many body parts that were not looking how we hoped they would look. We naturally decided that self-inflicted torture in an air conditioned environment was the way to go and even went so far as to enlist the abuse of a tiny blond girl to “motivate” us. She was 5-foot-nothing and made of caffeine and muscles. Her name was Heather. It was all I had in me not to say “corn nuts” every time I did something wrong.
Unfortunately for Heather, I am not one who deals well with perky people shouting at me while I sweat. Nor does Hubs, but he was far more committed than I to rid himself of the fat part of “fat and happy.” I am grateful to her for at least making me feel more comfortable in a gym and with the equipment in it. I fell in love with the leg press, mostly because I can press an insane amount, and a few other leg machines, which eventually got me into a pair of shorts that summer. I do not do shorts. Well, I didn’t do shorts. Now I do shorts and skirts. Skirts are amazing when you don’t have to struggle with chafing. Especially in summer. But, I digress.
I don’t do scales either. I get weighed enough by my team of doctors. And I try not to obsess over the number. If it’s going too far one way or the other, trust me, they tell me. I tend to go by how my clothes fit me and how I feel in them instead. In anticipation of warmer weather and a trip to Tahoe, I tried on my shorts. Big sad face. I can get them on, but they do not look as fabulous as I remember from last summer. I also cannot sit and breathe. Perhaps there has been an excess of queso this winter…
The fine folks in our IT department have a crew that goes to the gym in our office complex three times a week. We get on well and I’ve been invited to join them a few times. Their fitness level far exceeds mine and their smack talk is admirable. Intimidation level = Medium High. I had zero expectations of being able to keep up with them, but I gave serious consideration to what working out with people I like would be like. Their fearless leader also knows what he’s doing and guides them through workouts, so it’s like getting a personal trainer with all the knowledge but without being dipped in a bucket of perky. My excuses were slowly fading away.
The last excuse got ripped from me when I made a visit to the help desk for a quick fix and ended up in a conversation about the gym, yet again. No, all conversations with the Help Desk staff do not usually turn out this way. Most of the time it is snarky exchanges based in pop culture or what inane thing our kid has done now. We also tend to strut down amnesia lane guided by movie quotes or songs. It’s like in-person Pop Up Video.
So one of the guys comes back from the gym and gets his high fives and then I get the look. “So when you joining us?” Um…. Begin excuse generator in 3…2…1…”I am poor.” They were ready for me. “You know it’s only $10 a month, right?” Damn. No. I didn’t. “You also get a fitness reimbursement through our insurance after four months for up to $150.” Double damn. That’s like the insurance company is paying me to go to the gym. I’m sure it’s cheaper for them to do that than pay out a million claims on my out of shape, slowly deteriorating mess of a body.
I felt myself cave. “Will you go easy on me?”
Fine then. “I don’t know how to be a gym person,” I said as defiantly and as I’m-only-going-to-slow-you-downly as possible.
“We’ll teach you.” WHA?! Damn them.
The final nail was Hubs declaring one night that he signed up for the gym by his office. I was now officially surrounded. Fine. I packed my gym bag that night and brought my clothes to work the next two days without actually going to sign up. I meant to go Monday, as all well-intention habits of mine start on Monday and got derailed by actual work. The crew goes Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so I was spared an attempt on Tuesday. The weather was GORGEOUS Wednesday, so I decided to knuckle down, grab my bag, walk over and sign up. As luck would have it, the crew was planning to go at the same time and I could get a sample of what to expect after I spend my ten minutes signing up.
As luck would not have it, I signed up, got the tour and was released into the locker room, only to discover I left my sneakers at my desk. WHA?! Seriously, it took me forever to make myself commit and now I was literally wearing no pants in the locker room with NO SNEAKERS. I left that gym with my head held high and consoled myself with a congratulatory walk the long way around the parking lot back to our building. It truly was a gorgeous day and I was proud of myself for signing up.
I stopped at the Help Desk on my way back into work and stared at the crew, all sitting at their desks instead of sweating it up at the gym. They got derailed and weren’t going until 3 PM. Interesting. I proudly showed them my gym tag and got my first round of high fives. Also interesting. That felt good. All I did was sign up and I’m already on the team. They asked if I walked or drove over and when I said that I walked, I got another round of high fives. Not a ridiculous snarky high five, either. A supportive, “good choice,” “well-done” high five. A girl could get used to this.
At 3:15 I reentered the gym and girded myself for who knows what. They said it was a cardio day, so I pictured treadmills and the dreaded elliptical. What I got was “Super Sets.” Holy cow did we work out. I lifted weights and did machines I’ve never done. I was assisted in a way that didn’t make me feel like I’d never set foot in a gym, but also carefully checked to make sure my form was good and the weight was just challenging enough. We moved through that gym in a choreographed routine that was thoughtful and targeted. I was encouraged but not pushed and I was never made to feel I wasn’t involved. I sweat more than I’ve sweat in quite a while. I pushed my limit where I could and I tapped out when I just couldn’t and never felt like I would be judged. I actually enjoyed myself.
I work from home this Friday, so I’ll miss the next trip. The really ridiculous thing is that I already miss the trip. I know it’s going to be a good workout. I know I will not want to be there doing whatever it is, but I enjoyed going with them. I enjoyed going to the gym with Hubs, too, but it’s just not manageable for us to do gym time together right now, even with day-care for Miss O. I’d rather spend my home time with them doing other things. Going in the middle of the day is a complete luxury my job affords me and I know how lucky I am to have it. I eat lunch at my desk anyway, so it’s not like that’s changing.
I’m sore today, but it’s a good sore, as they say. I don’t feel like I hurt anything or can’t move, but I know the muscles that haven’t been used in a while are on notice. I’m glad I did this, not only for the promise of putting things back where they belong and getting back into those shorts, which is a completely reasonable #fitnessgoal, but because I like how I feel today. I also know I’m doing right by Miss O and Hubs in making sure I can keep up with them this summer and hopefully for the rest of my life. I’m also grateful to my friends at the Help Desk, who are truly helping, even if it is taking away from my couch time.