Fitness & Exercise
6 Things I Learned From Joining A Gym
With my 30th birthday right around the corner (not to mention the fact that I’m getting married) I decided it was time to take things (read: gravity) into my own hands and join a gym. I figured if I wanted to live a long time (I do) and actually be able to do active things like hike and bike I needed to build up some endurance. Because if I’m being honest, I had to climb stairs to get to the top of the water slide last month and by the time I reached the top, I was trying to hide the fact that I was breathing a bit too hard for a 29 year old woman.
I’m not very active. My job requires sitting on my couch, writing articles on my computer, while I eat Fritos. Ok, my job doesn’t require that I eat Fritos - I added that part in - but I occasionally do, because Fritos are delicious. Especially the Chili Cheese Fritos, but I digress. Like I was saying, I’m not super (at all) active so joining a gym was a step in the right direction. In my previous life I danced 6 days a week, for up to 4 hours each day. I was also a pretty decent swimmer so I’m familiar with being in shape and getting my heart rate up. The difference is that I’ve never tried to do that in a gym.
At the very least, this whole “gym member” thing has been a very eye-opening experience for me, and I’ve observed a few things over the past few weeks that I thought were worth mentioning.
1. There are love-to-be-naked women, and there are please-don’t-look-at-me women. The former strut around the locker room, sneaking glances at their bodies in the mirror and chatting loudly on their cell phones (hey - do you see the sign that says ‘Cell Phone Free Zone’, lady?) to draw attention to themselves. The latter have their towel tucked around them so tightly that they wobble back and forth trying to slide their panties on underneath, lest anyone catch a glimpse.
2. You need to be a freakin’ rocket scientist to work the equipment. For anyone who didn’t grow up speaking “gym” - walking into the weight room or even the room filled with treadmills can be insanely intimidating. Thankfully there are little figures drawn on each machine that serve to walk you through the motions of each exercise, but still - how many times have you seen people actually studying those and then trying to imitate what they see? The first time I walked upstairs to the area with the workout equipment I took a lap, grabbed a cup of (strawberry and pineapple infused) water, and then took the back staircase down, so that no one would notice my defeat.
3. If you don’t wear lululemon, you are a gym pariah. What is this, a fashion show? As if the initiation fee wasn’t enough, now I’m supposed to buy insanely expensive pants to SWEAT in?
4. Some women work out with their hair down and a full face of makeup. I split the difference. I pull my hair back, but makeup is a must. I feel less ugly when I’m huffing and puffing and I have some makeup on. So sue me.
5. Thin and young does not equal fit. I walked into my very first class, aptly titled “Brazilian Booty Camp” and promptly realized that I was one of the thinnest women in the class, which made me feel pretty good about myself. Not to mention, I was one of the youngest. The nice (54 year old) woman next to me helped to get me set up with a step, resistance band, weights, weight bar, and towels and wished me good luck. Looking at her (in lululemon) I felt pretty good about myself all over again. This was going to be so easy! And then the music started and after about minute 11 I thought I might die. The same lady looked over at me around minute 37 and suggested that I try it “without the weights for my first time”. Around minute 42 I was forced to leave the class because I thought I was going to throw up. The lesson here? Thin and young does not equal fit. Not even close.
6. Results are not immediate. This is my least favorite lesson - it would seem that my 8 minutes per day on the elliptical will not show me results right away. Which is really unfortunate, because that is definitely 8 more minutes per day than I was doing two weeks ago. Hmpf.