Sunday, September 9, 2012

Never Say Never

Two weeks ago, on August 27th, my husband and I joined a gym. It was the first time either of us had done such a thing, although we had talked about the idea for a few years. “I’m not a gym person”, I had been telling myself for quite some time. Extremely self conscious and worried over investing money into something I might abandon after only a few days, I had tried walking in my neighborhood for exercise and indeed that had been a most successful way for me to lose weight after the birth of my third child almost thirteen years ago. In the last few years we had done some hiking and had purchased a couple of swim passes for the local pool. However, we were not making these jaunts on a regular basis. And after tracking our food and losing some weight last summer, this past year we had both eaten our way through stress and had given in to the comfort of a new sectional couch and multiple cable channels. Much to our disappointment, we had both regained the weight.

Knowing the start of the school year was approaching and knowing that we knew that the months ahead were going to be difficult for a number of reasons, we began thinking about joining a gym. A family health crisis had clearly made us realize that getting fit needed to be a priority for each of us. We wanted to be realistic in our efforts but demand better of ourselves. We heard of a great special to join a gym for a year at a minimum cost. We discussed how we could go there on our way home by taking an alternative route. We decided we were doing this.

Walking into the gym, I tried to mask my nervousness. A trainer at the front desk welcomed us both as I told her we both wanted to join under the special we’d heard about on the radio. I added that I needed help. I had no clue how to begin to work out at a gym, had no idea how to work any of the machines, and had only used a treadmill at home. She quickly reassured me that the gym had trainers who would show us everything we needed to know and that we could design our fitness plan with the help of a trainer at no extra cost. Signatures went down on paper. We received a tour, and the best part of that was seeing people ages 18-80 working out. “This isn’t bad”, I thought to myself. Everyone there seemed to be minding their own business. No one was judging us. Folks were friendly but focused on their own workouts. Eric and I began on two treadmills, side by side, clocking in a half hour. We followed that up with a half hour strength-training circuit and then we headed home.

I made it back to the gym four times that first week, and Eric went five days. Last week, after suffering a bad head cold, I put in only two. But my sneakers and gym clothes are already packed for my return tomorrow afternoon and more importantly, I’m feeling empowered. Each night I check in with the kids, find out when they need me to pick them up after sports practices, and I think of my workout schedule. I walk into the gym, say hello to the trainers behind the desk, and I go right to work. I’m working on building stamina right now so I head to a treadmill where I briskly walk for 35-40 minutes and I follow that up with either cycling or the strength-training circuit. I’ll improve, but for right now, it’s about creating the habit of getting to the gym each day and staying for an hour.

 The act of joining the gym has reminded me the truth of the phrase, “Never say never”. So much for not being a gym person. Who knew I’d be this comfortable and this determined to get there as often as possible?! Oh yes, the best days of my life may indeed be those awaiting me in the future. But more importantly, today, right this moment, with my gym bag packed for tomorrow, I am happy. I am loving the feeling I have after each workout as I get back into my car. I feel the sweat dampening my hair at my neck and I know I’ve done something good. I am making healthy choices. I am doing this for me. I am doing this for my husband. I am doing this for my children and my future grandchildren. I'm doing this to honor the life I have been given and the opportunities that I am blessed to have. I do this to know I am choosing health and wellness. I have a long way to go, but little by little I am building a lasting, physically fit, active lifestyle and don’t you worry, I am going to get there, to those beautiful days in my future, and I’m going to be feeling great.

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