Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Further flashbacks and lessons learned

I've hit the gym this week and I may have uncovered the reason behind the huge aversion to exercise I've had for the past 3 odd years.
There's an important distinction: I love being active - dancing obviously, playing football with the kids I babysit, generally power walking around.  I dream of a day when my friends will want to go rollerblading or ice skating with me (nobody will) or when I can find someone to play 1 on 1 basketball with, etc etc.  I took a kickboxing class a couple of weeks ago, it was great.  But I've always (certainly since being in New York and surrounded by gym maniacs...people in this city LOVE to work out) maintained a stubborn anti-gym stance.  I like the fitness to be a by-product of the fun, not the ultimate goal.
In spite of all this I finally caved, swallowed my pride and joined the gym across the street from my house.  It's $10 a month, it's a 60 second walk, it's a no brainer.  And I've been four times already - Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Now that I've started it seems so easy and my previous feelings have melted away.  I have one chief theory, thus

Last time I was going to a gym it was in Winchester at River Park Leisure Centre, and also while I was at Alton College.  At college I would dash to the gym in my free periods and just pound the treadmill or the bike, staring fixedly at the calorie counter on the control pad willing myself to go faster and burn more calories before I had to leave and go to my next lesson.  Like a robot, jump on gym equipment and manically try to burn 5000 calories in 40 minutes.  Not possible, not healthy and I know now not a good way to exercise for actual results.  This of course was during a spell in my life when I was treating myself and my poor body not very well at all and giving myself a very hard time.  No wonder I was always falling asleep in class/on the bus/in the library/anywhere I could find a space.

In general my gym experiences were not very happy - they were forced and counter intuitive.  So when the Planet Fitness opened up across the road and suddenly everyone I knew became gym bunnies I was like bleurgh no, gyms are not good, gyms make you feel pressure and they make you feel inadequate among many other negative things.  In my (admittedly tiny) brain, Gym = Sadness, Frustration, Disappointment, Self-criticism, Fear of Failure etc etc etc.  'I don't want to deal with all that in relation to exercise EVER AGAIN' screamed my (equally tiny) subconscious every time someone mentioned going, or told me I should join.  

So far, and I am only four sessions in but so far, I'm feeling really good.  I think the key has been saying 'I'm going to the gym for an hour' because an hour is really nothing.  If you're busy enough an hour will fly by.  If I tried to set myself goals like 'I'm going for 2 hours every other day and 3 at weekends' there's no way it would happen, I'd start slacking off and feel incredibly down on myself for doing so.  
Part of that is definitely fitting it in - sometimes you just don't have the time.  On Monday I didn't have an hour for the gym, not a solid hour including the post-gym activity of preparing to move on with your day.  It's no big deal.  And being so close to home makes me an incredibly lucky gym user.  I don't need to factor in walking time, or plan to carry my gym stuff around with me all day, or remember to bring a towel.  It feels very good to go home at the end of my day and know that I can go do the workout thing and still have a ton of time.  An hour of gym is an hour more than I've been doing for the last 3 years so, here's to me and the continuation of my motivation.  

And also getting the hang of adjusting some of the machines because today I embarrassingly spent 5 minutes clanking the adjuster lever around trying to get it to stay where I wanted and failing miserably so eventually I just gave up, pretended to see someone I knew and surreptitiously walked away.  So there's room for improvement.

Also I have EVEN MORE pictures.










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