Monday, November 14, 2016

Never say Never

I joined a gym.

Even over the months that I typed nothing here, I often composed posts in my head, pondering how I'd start that opening paragraph - capture attention, initiate a story.  I can think of nothing more shocking than the statement above though.  I've been in exactly one gym - as a reluctant visitor when I weighed perhaps 80 lbs less than I do now, upwards of 15 years ago.

"Why," I remember asking Carrie, a friend from grad school, "would people pay to come here?"  The rows of machines, brightly-lit free weights, people pulling and pushing and bouncing around.  I shook my head - even if I liked working out (I don't), there are options at home!  Videos, games on X-Box, walks through nature!

So it was with no small amount of trepidation (read intense anxiety) that I drove to the building with the neon-orange sign, walked to the door, opened it then another door and hovered just inside the lobby that smelled strongly of rubber.  Like brand-new shoes or those mats that sort of give under your feet when you step on them?

I stuttered when the manager, wearing a bright orange bandanna around hair that emerged vertically from the top of his head, asked if he could help me.  I finally managed to explain that I wanted to look around, consider joining?  Or I could just escape - scamper back to my car, I thought when he called for a young man from the pack of them huddled around desks stacked with those giant tubs of protein powder.

"I don't belong here," I told Cam, staring at his elaborate hair style briefly before shaking my head and wondering if I were old enough to be his mother.  (Answer: probably.)  "But I'm not doing well - I'm sick all the time and I'm getting older.  And maybe if I take better care of myself, I'll feel better."

He nodded encouragingly, showing off the features of the building over the the thumping pop music that urged people to move.  I only relaxed for the moments we were in the pool area - the chlorine scent soothing me as did the quiet splashes and slow movements of the elderly folks drifting through the water.

"OK," I agreed when he asked me to join, returning his happy grin almost involuntarily and handing over my credit card.  It's like money, I told myself as I watched him painstakingly enter my information - once I was in the habit of saving, the dollars just accumulated.  And now I have more than enough, even when I splurge on things.

"You'll hit a positive spiral here," the guy I saw the next day promised, echoing my thoughts.  I laughed when he wrote down "help" over the spot where I was supposed to list my strength and cardio routines.

"I can't even think of a plausible lie," I told him.  "I have no idea what a routine would even be."

Then - after 3 days of going to this gym that stresses me out and sitting at a desk talking about my goals (My goal, by the way?  To show up there and try to exercise without hating every second.  That's it - that's my goal.), I finally met my trainer, hired to coach me twice a week for the next two months.

His name's Pete.  He wears a little topknot.  He's unphased by my distinct lack of enthusiasm.

"Slower through the resistance," he coached after teaching me how to adjust the leg machine.  I winced when my knees crackled.  "No, pull from your back," he corrected, touching the right muscles while I frowned and tried to get them to pull accordingly.  "Ass out," he noted when I was doing squats (Good gracious but I hate squats).  "Knees can't go over your toes."

I see him again tomorrow.  This trainer I hired.  At the gym I joined.

Because I'm taking afternoons off on FMLA to try to get better.  And while I wait for a new medicine to work, taking care of this body that carries around my mind and soul seems like a reasonable plan.

"Track your food," Pete requested after having me download an app on my phone.

"I'm never going to do that," I told him.  "My plan was cardio.  I'll do strength training since you feel so strongly about it.  But food?  That's mine still."

"Just track it," he said.  "Some of it - baby steps."

Never, I thought - or at least not soon.

I've tracked every single morsel since I left the gym last Thursday.  And when I wondered who in the world I am, I remind myself that I'm trying to get better and wonder if I might be wrong when I think this will never work.

1 comment:

Lucy said...

You rock! I think your analogy with saving is good, and even if you don't enjoy the actual time spent exercising (I always have to distract myself by reading), it will be worth it. I should follow your example and go back to the gym...

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