The gym is both friend and foe. My history with gyms has typically been a rollercoaster of overly excited 7 days a week, two times a day for an hour each visit to not going at all in a month.
But one thing that has always been steady was the way I picked a gym: where can I find parking easily and be around a variety of people who are a variety of sizes.
I always feared joining the gyms that were full of muscle building men and anorexic women who are the very essence of Jill Sobule’s “Lucy at the Gym” song.
However, when I joined the gym last month, being without a car meant that my criteria on parking didn’t matter. The most important thing became proximity.
Unfortunately the closest gym is made up of the demographic I had so whole-heartedly tried to avoid. But in abnormal fashion, I tried to take a negative and turn it into a positive. I told myself I’d use the attractiveness and the men and women who appeared to be addicted to the gym to motivate me.
My first workout at the new gym proved that my new mentality was working.
I left the gym feeling fantastic – despite my slightly embarrassing momentarily lapse in speech at the end. I could do this! And hey, hot guys would talk to me! EVEN BETTER! I totally scored!
The worry I’d had about feeling like the Hunchback of Notre Dame was gone – I was a new person! My self esteem was skyrocketing out of the galaxy!
My next few workouts were neither good nor bad. I sped through them without incident, aside from a particularly difficult one that had been panting like a Saint Bernard only 8 minutes in.
But then, Day 6 happened.
Neither of the girls talked to me; they were both in their own little worlds. And I’m sure they were perfectly nice people, but on that day, at that time, they were the female villan that turns into a dragon in Sleeping Beauty. And my job was to work out so hard that I was too exhausted to take note of the fact that they had perfect bodies and managed to do so without even breaking a sweat.
I hated them because they weren’t beet red and were in amazing shape.
As I left my workout, I momentarily thought about staying longer. Pushing through until I puked like the contestants do on Biggest Loser.
But my self esteem would just keep taking sucker punches, and so I left feeling worse than when I’d arrived and despite the fact that I’d gone more miles than any other workout to date.
I should have been proud, thrilled even, that I’d pushed through.
But those damn bitches got me down. And proved that while I may hold a laissez faire attitude, bordering on lazy most days, when it comes to others of my gender, I’m as competitive as they come.
I walked home my attitude more positive by the time I arrived. I realized that while there was little chance of me beating them in a race of stamina such as running, there would be a clear winner in the battle of wits.