After being queen of the couch potatoes for a very long time, I joined the gym in January, complete with one-year minimum agreement that was required to take advantage of the corporate discount. I went twice a week until I decided to run my 5K, at which point I started going three times a week so that I could prepare and train for the race. I did really well, and while I hated everything for the hour I was there, I felt pretty good about myself.
Then I went to Israel and it all went to crap.
I ran once at the beginning of our trip, and then told myself it was okay that I didn’t go on any more runs because a) I was walking miles every day, b) it was too hot, c) normally I need to exercise out my stress at the end of the day, but I had none, so why ruin my relaxation? Then I got back from Israel and work got crazy and I had a ton to catch up on. Then June came along and I went gluten free and felt awful, and told myself a short break was okay. June sped along, and then I learned that you can see your workout frequency on the gym’s website. It became quite clear, in chart form, how I had very much not been exercising three times a week.
But honestly, I already knew. I had not been feeling as great, and it wasn’t just all the stresses and disappointments and lack of gluten of my life recently. I try to exercise not for weight reasons/the ability to eat more cake, but because my stress and anxiety become a lot easier to handle when I’m regularly working out. I know this, and I need to stop listening to all the excuses I’m making.
That being said, I’ve learned a lot in these 6 months of gym-going, and it’s that I need something to motivate me. I’m planning to run a 1.7 mile race in July, but I don’t need to train for that, and I’m planning another 5K in the fall, but that’s a long way off (I hate running inside anyway, which I’m forced to do thanks to humidity). So I am turning toward exercise classes. My friend Jess, lover of Soulcycle, has been trying to get me to go spinning for a year, and I have adamantly refused on the grounds that I am not spending $35 on one dying-feeling exercise class when the gym for the entire month is $70. But then I got a free Flywheel credit, so I gave in and went with her.
And…I didn’t hate it. I felt like I was dying the entire 45 minutes, but it also felt good to be pushed harder than I would push myself normally, which is how I felt when I was training for the 5K. You can give up at any time on the treadmill and no one will know, but everyone will see you walk out of that class, and there’s something in the power of perceived peer pressure and judgement. And there’s also what I’ve always known about myself: I need to make things work for me, or I won’t do them. Running three times a week is not for me. Mixing running with a hard class and a class I like (like yoga, or omg you guys the gym offers STEP CLASSES) is a good mix for me, and one I think I can stick with.
And then I can eat a lot more cake.