This year, everyone in my office was given a gym membership. I wasn’t exactly sure how to take it. What do you do when someone gives you a gym membership? Do you thank them graciously or slap them for the insinuation?
It’s not a pretty sight when I exercise. I’m painfully uncoordinated, graceless and clumsy. Last time I attempted crunches, my daughters almost called 911 because they thought I was having a seizure. Plus, as my sweet children like to say, I break a sweat brushing my teeth. Let’s face it; nobody wants a sweaty clumsy middle-aged woman on a treadmill next to them. Somebody (or maybe a few people) is apt to get hurt.
However, I figured since I had the gym membership, I might as well use it, so I went shopping.
Let me explain. I haven’t been to a gym in a very long time and I had no idea what the dress code was. I had to do a little research. Turned out I needed a whole new wardrobe.
Suited up in my unflattering gym clothes, I went to sign up and have a look around the gym. As I feared, there were a lot of physically fit people hanging out in there. They all seemed to know what they were doing. I didn’t see one person falling off the equipment or rolling on the floor looking like they were having a seizure. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to fit in.
I started by walking around the track. Surely I was less likely to injure myself by walking, right?
Here’s the thing: I cannot put on brand new shoes and walk around a track without securing several blisters. I’m just lucky like that. So after two laps, I was ready to have a seat.
Luckily, I discovered a pilates/yoga class that was supposed to be low impact and didn’t require shoes. I thought I could probably handle it.
As the room began to fill up with impossibly fit people who had no doubt been taking classes for decades, I wasn’t so sure. I just tried to look confident and mimicked their stretching. By the time the class started, I was already exhausted.
Much to the chagrin of those around me, I laughed a lot during the next 45 minutes. Apparently you’re not supposed to laugh during yoga. However, I couldn’t help but laugh when the instructor did a backbend and expected us to give it a try. I couldn’t do a backbend when I was 10, let alone now at the age of … a lot more than 10.
After the class, I felt pretty good. Sure I was a sweaty, shaky hot mess, but I had joined a gym and taken a class. I was on my way to fitness!
Then I woke up the next morning. I could barely get out of bed. I was in so much pain trying to get dressed I actually cried out a prayer for death. I lay on the floor in tears and thought about the people who had given me the gym membership and all the horrible things I was going to do them.
That was a week ago, and I’m ashamed to say, I haven’t been back to the gym yet. Maybe somebody like me just isn’t cut out for gym membership.
Or maybe, just maybe, I need to push past the pain and set some fitness goals. Maybe I need to push myself and strive to meet those goals. Maybe there are benefits to be gained from the pain.
Ha ha! Naaahhh.
— Rebecca Todd is a freelance writer and the author of the book “What’s the Point?” available at booklocker.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.