That Time I Tricked Myself into Going to the Gym

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Recently, as in within the last couple of days, I decided that I would stop wasting the gym membership I am paying for and actually take my happy ass to the gym. Except, describing my ass as “happy” is inaccurate because I’ve been doing a lot of sitting around on it and it’s tired and annoyed that I refuse to pry myself out of my computer chair in search of physical activity.

That’s probably more than you ever wanted to know about my ass, but you all knew what you were getting in to when you started reading my blog.

Short and Feisty, keeping it real.

Anywho—I have a really hard time getting motivated to go to the gym. I know, I know, who doesn’t? (…beyond the freakshows that live every day just so they can go to the gym after work and be amongst their people. I dated one of those about 7 years ago, and I’m only still a little bit bitter that the call of the weight room was almost always stronger than the call of my company)

But lately, the thought of getting my out-of-shape-self into the neighborhood YMCA had gotten me so anxious that I began to panic. My best friend, a former trainer, asked me to pinpoint what is was that was making me so anxious, and my predictable response was, “I have no idea.”

Was it fear of failure? Fear of looking ridiculous? Fear of tripping on the treadmill and falling flat on my face?

No! None of those! Which makes the presence of those stifling feelings even more frustrating! Which then leads me to berate myself for having them! Which in turn makes me more anxious!

Hooray for anxiety and panic disorders!

Whatever it was, when I would drive passed the gym, my palms would start to sweat, my heart would race, and I’d floor it until I’d cleared the next intersection.

But the fluffy bits around my midsection have started to jiggle—something I’ve not yet experienced as a previously fairly athletic person. I played a lot of team sports, ran 5ks and half marathons, and supplemented all of that movement with my hyperactive nature. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling any love from my newly developed love handles.

Back to the gym I go, then.

“What if,” I told myself a few days ago, “you just go to the gym to pick up the group workout schedule? You don’t even have to stay to workout.”

“That’s pretty low stakes, I think I can manage that.”

“Yeah, I think we totally can. And so you don’t look too out of place, why not throw on your workout gear?”

This was when I started to get a bit suspicious about my motives.

“But wait, you said we didn’t have to workout—“

“Yeah, I meant it! Just get in the clothes so you can get used to the feel of the spandex on your skin again. Then it won’t feel so strange when you put them on tomorrow to workout. It’ll feel like second skin.”

“I guess that checks out, but your wording also creeps me out in a ‘Buffalo Bill’ kind of way.”

I threw on my spandex running pants and a t-shirt from the film I worked on earlier in the year. I’m usually not someone that would wear workout clothes for anything other than their express purpose, but my inner monologue was making a lot of sense.

“Ok, hop in the car, drive to the gym, and remember—under no circumstances are we to work out today!”

“Got it.”

Drove the 2.5 miles to the gym and got out of the car. Without the pressure to actually perform, there were no panicky sensations or attacks threatening to incapacitate me in the parking garage.

Since it was the middle of the day, there were a plethora of older men and women working out in the pool, soaking in the hot tub, and participating in “chair aerobics”. They didn’t seem to be having such a tough time, but I was still convinced that the goal of my day was to pick up that piece of paper—which I did.

I turned to leave when my inner monologue made me pause in the gym lobby–

“You know,” says me, “we do have to pay for parking, even if we’re only here for 5 minutes.”

“UGGGGH, I didn’t even think of that! I’m trying to penny pinch now that I’m not working full-time. Now I feel like this whole trip was a waste!”

“Why not just go for a quick walk? On the treadmill?”

“YOU SAID NO WORKING OUT—“

“And would you really count a quick walk on a treadmill as working out?? You who has conquered 13.1 consecutive miles more than once??”

“I guess not.”

I head upstairs, put my purse on the ledge underneath of the screen and above the handlebars that monitor heart rate, and hit the green “go” button.

I had my headphones in my purse so I popped those in, connected to the gym wifi, and turned on the Spice Girls Pandora station.

And then I walked.

I walked until halfway through the song “Spice Up Your Life” where my 5th grade self took over and kicked the walk up to a jog. I made it through the end of the song, huffing and puffing and slowed the pace down again. I wasn’t even supposed to be jogging, so there’s no shame in returning back to my walk.

A ton of 90’s dance songs and 2 miles later, I had walk/jogged my way to the end of my workout—the workout that I promised myself would never happen but the one, both physically and emotionally, I desperately needed.

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