Saturday, February 11, 2012

Facing my Fears by Going to the Gym

Me in college, early 2005
I've touched on this before, but I don't have a great track record with gyms. My college gym was tiny, decrepit and claustrophobia inducing. I managed to score a membership to a really nice gym in town for volunteer work, but I squandered away that opportunity because it was off campus. I also made a habit of hitting Taco Bell post-pilates, so I'm not sure if I got anything out of that experience.

In grad school, I worked out ocassionally at the campus gym, then frequently when I lived in Arizona. My first job offered a partial reimbursement for a gym membership. I joined the closest one to work, which was a women's-only gym. It was not my style. Despite working out there for the prescribed 30 minutes, three times per week, I think I lost one pound in three months. When I left that job, I wasn't sad to leave that gym. It just wasn't intense enough for me to make a difference.

On the way home from picking up Napoleon
Our wedding, May 2009
After that, Tim and I bought a house, and with it, an elliptical. Again, it was underutilized. I would slowly pedal along while watching TV, but some days, I didn't break a sweat. I considered this my bridal shape-up, and weighed in at 138 on my wedding day in May of 2009.

We got Napoleon the weekend after we came back from our honeymoon. About six months later, he started barking at the elliptical while I worked out. I realized it was because he never saw anyone use it before.

It wasn't until July of 2010 that I got serious about fitness. I went to Australia for a work trip. I'm not sure what really clicked there, the fit people everywhere, the super expensive food or the fact that a dress I brought to wear didn't fit, but when I came home, I signed up for Sparkpeople.com. Since then, I've gone from 144 down to the 130s, with the goal of reaching 124. I once told people I only run if I'm being chased. Now, I've completed several races, including a half marathon, and have plans to complete a triathlon and marathon, and ultimately, an Ironman.
In Sydney, July 2010

And that is what brought me back to the gym. The gym where I knew people would be watching me workout. The gym where I might not be able to make it through a class. The gym where people would undoubtedly be fitter than me.

My temporary gym home
I had a groupon for a fancy gym nearby and because I need to start working on my swimming, now was the time to use it. I had no idea what to expect and I found it all very intimidating. There were lots of people there dressed to the nines looking like they already completed a ultramarathon before coming to work their triceps. The machines were fancy and foreign to me. But there were also new moms, people rehabbing injuries, retirees and people just getting started at fitness.

So far, I've swam twice, taken a spinning class and tried a core strengthening class, all of which totally rocked. Spinning was awesome - my heart rate was up the whole time and I felt like I was really working. The core class wasn't challenging until I tried to get out of bed the next day. And I'm learning a lot about swimming already. I also hit up a toning/lifting class today, which wasn't really what I expected. I'll see if I'm sore tomorrow before I pass judgment.

I'm not very comfortable there yet, but I'll make sure to get my $35 out of this.

2 comments:

kilax said...

I am happy you have finally found a gym you feel great in and are trying new classes! I would love to try spin someday. And I totally know what you mean about feeling the abs workout the next day.

A work trip to Australia? Amazing!

Hi! I'm Erin said...

Gyms can totally be scary! But good for you for facing your fears. It's so awesome that you have all those long-term goals that will help keep you motivated.