Single Mom Slice of Change:
I Joined A Gym!?!?
I’m a mess. A red-hot, completely flawed, probably in need of therapeutic help, certifiable mess.
I have a phobia about being watched. As a larger girl, I stress that people are looking at me, wondering how I got this way. Ugh, and if I’m standing next to one of my sisters who are no bigger than a stick pin… forget it. I’ll wait in the car. It’s a huge part of why I’m uncomfortable in crowds.
So please believe that it was shocking to find myself – albeit impatiently – in the lobby of a gym. It had taken years to get here, and only seconds to start finding ways to back out of it.
For instance, it’s close to work, a mere 10 minute drive, but how often would I go on the weekends? Even though I would be going in the bright light of day – it’s in a not so great part of town.
You know what – never mind. I don’t need to join a gym!
My trainer gave me a set of exercises to do. Except I have zero will power, and in the winter it’s nice and warm under the covers, and in the summer it’s just too hot to get up and immediately start sweating…
That’s ok though because I have friends pools, and swimming works every muscle in your body! Except… then I have to put on a swim suit and wear it… in front of my friends. Plus, I’d have to drive two cities over…
Luckily, I live next to a park complete with lake! Except, I live in Arizona, and the chances of me walking around the lake when it’s 115 outside are…
But, I told myself I would at least tour the gym. At 3:30, there were 3 people in the gym. Even I could find a corner dark enough to hide in. Except, the staff looked through me, gave me a tour that felt robotic, and literally uttered the phrase, “now let’s talk money”.
Feeling justified leaving without a membership, I was (kind of) ok with it. Bad neighborhood, dislike of the staff… and then I looked down at my GPS. Because I hadn’t reset it when I left the first gym, it was redirecting me to the next nearest gym with the same name.
It wouldn’t take nearly as long to write this next one out – it’s 20 minutes in the opposite direction of home. BUT I wanted to be able to say I vetoed it with a clear conscious. So why not stop in, check off a few boxes to end this clearly hair-brained plan, and head home.
First, the parking lot was packed. Where there are cars, there are people, and as we’ve already established… I don’t like people.
Second, I was nearly attacked as soon as I walked through the door. The staff immediately smiled, asked how they could help me, and even offered me water – the monsters!
Third, though not every machine was in use, a lot of them were, and not a single person turned to stare at the big girl taking a tour of a gym.
Finally, and this was the most upsetting – no one asked me to join. It was as though they were giving me a chance to decide for myself if I wanted to join. Have you ever heard of such a thing?
Ready to go and write-off this whole insane adventure, I went through my checklist: it’s out of the way from both work and home, the parking is crap, the gym is busy, and the staff is… well… nice – which makes it way harder to have a bad attitude.
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So, I turned, smiled, and prepared myself to brush them off. Instead of, “thanks, I’ll think about it” on my way out the door, I found myself nodding and asking, “is it possible to sign up today?”
I go nearly every day. The staff knows me by name, they ask about my kids, they notice when I bust my butt, and ask if I’m ok when I don’t. My self-conscious issues have eased thanks to my cell phone, and the Pandora/Netflix apps (depending on what machine I’m using). My stress levels drop after each visit.
I’m not a completely changed person. I dress at work during the week, and home on the weekends before I go because I’m still not comfortable using the gym locker room. I know the prime times to go before it gets too full, and there are still certain machines I’m too afraid to try.
But, with each trip, I accountability. Both the gym, and my trainer get snapshots of my workout summary. Most importantly, my 20 year old has asked to be my permanent guest after seeing how much better I feel after working out.
In the end, the only person holding me back, judging, throwing up roadblocks… was me. Once I got out of my own way, the path was clear.
Until next time, ask yourself: is it the situation, or the spin you put on the situation that is holding you back? How do/did you overcome it?