Stuck at the Gym

I was tricked. Hoodwinked. Bamboozled.

It was the old bait and switch and I fell for it like the naive softy that I am.

One of my besties needed support and backup and accountability because she had decided that now was the time she was finally ready to go to war, mano y mano, with her weight loss goals. She was about to enter the arena and she needed me.

Of course I had her back.

So I joined her gym.

Because she said it was the only place she could do it.

And another girlfriend who worked there got me a discount so I wouldn’t have guilt over spending the diaper money on it.

I would never have considered becoming a gym rat.

I had five kids and still felt reasonably fit. I could chase them down, wrestle them into pajamas and sit on them till they fell asleep. I was burning thousands of calories per hour just nursing the baby. I was bench pressing 35 pound toddlers and doing high hurdles over baby gates.

I didn’t have any weight loss goals.

Which frustrated the muscle-bound personal trainer who signed me up for the membership.

A lot.

“What would you like to accomplish here?” he asked, pen poised to write down my future progress. “How many pounds or inches do you want to lose? How many miles do you want to be able to run?”

“Look Mr Incredible,” I replied, “I’m here for my friend. She needs a workout buddy. When I get bored, I’ll leave.”

I thought maybe his pained look had more to do with his stretchy pants than any personal concern over me. I handed him a towel for his sweating brow.

“Research shows that people are more likely to keep coming when they have a goal to meet,” he insisted.

“Well then,” said I, “so long as you keep us entertained, we’ll keep coming.”

This was about 13 years ago.

My bestie met up with me twice.

But I kept getting sidetracked into trying new classes and machines and TV channels.

I’m stuck.

I would call myself “accidentally fit”.

And it’s all her fault.

And as I’ve gone around this block for a while, I would like to give a shout out to the excited newbies who show up en masse to the gym every January.

Thank you for entertaining me.

The pair of ladies sauntering on treadmills, discussing private business in loud voices should please just go around the corner for coffee. We can all hear you right through our earbuds. And yeah, we reckon Tony should marry her, too.

The cute little thing who showed up in full makeup and nice hair had better not look like that when she leaves. She had better look like she was hit with a tsunami during a heat wave. This is not a singles bar.

And the guy with the tight shorts and the three-day stubble who keeps dropping his 500 pound barbells on the floor like thunder and then standing there waiting for applause…no. You’ve obviously reached your weight loss goal. You can go home now.

The people who get my applause are the ones keeping it real.

The new moms, the elderly, the overweight and the physically recovering. You guys are the gym gladiators. You’ve decided to own the body you’re in and make it stronger.

You showed up.

Keep it coming. You can do it.

You have my respect.

And I’m rooting for you.

Gym Gymminie

My daughter cracks me up. When she was in high school, she was sitting with a small circle of friends during lunch listening to them discuss everything from weight to body image. They didn’t realize how much whining, in general, goes on within a gaggle of females regarding the female form. My girl decided that they weren’t loving themselves nearly enough, and got the ball rolling by announcing that she was going to name her teensy little poochy muffin top “Cloe”. She was going to love it, hug it, and treat it with all dignity and respect, as it represented all the happy foods she’d enjoyed lately. And when she ever decides that Cloe simply must go, she will politely invite her to leave via the mountain in our backyard.

It’s our family’s muffin-top remover of choice.

I myself prefer the gym for several reasons. It’s open at all the completely random times I have an hour to spare for sweating. It never has weather. There are no rattlesnakes. It always has restrooms. And there’s a TV monitor everywhere you look!

Color me crazy, but I only have time to watch TV when I go to the gym. I pick a machine in front of the channel I like. I can time it for the news, or Oprah or the Home Improvement shows. Or watch them all simultaneously.

But heaven help me! I have a major weakness for the cooking channel.

I went to the gym this morning and half the TVs had cooking shows on.  Seriously?  I’m trying to remove cheesecakes from my past here and they’re showing me how to make them.  And a really beautiful egg roll dish, and some excellent BBQ ribs.  I wasn’t too excited about the “beans n greens” soup recipe, but still.  I came home and now I’ve got two chickens simmering on the stovetop and some eggs were just hard boiled and I’ve got the stuff out to start the cinnamon rolls next. You gotta love the gym.

I carried five wonderful children in turn, and each one left me with an extra special bit of muffin-top that I fear is going to be a friend for life. I ought to pick a name for it that reflects its honorable and historical significance. “Bertha” seems about right.

So far this month, we got ourselves a new swimsuit and some new manners for our beach trips. I’m really not here to help you get a new body to go with it. Your body is all yours. You get to be in charge of it and all I really think is that you ought to love it and treat it with respect, since it’s all the body you get. No matter who else comes and goes in your long and triumphant life, your body is going to be right there with ya.

May as well give it a hug. Maybe a little pat on the back for getting you this far.

I’ll be spending all of May in the kitchen, which is one of my happy places for sure. I’ll also get around to telling you about zumba and yoga and turbo kick boxing. But right now, I’m just totally craving muffins!