Shortly after the first of the year, I joined a gym. It was not a resolution, because I don’t believe in resolutions. I joined for two reasons: I need to get a handle on the “love weight” I've gained since meeting my fiancé/husband a year ago this week, and I’m getting married in May (we already did the courthouse thing, but have yet to do the full-on wedding thing). Yes, I’ve become one of those brides-to-be who’s all about slimming down before I’ll even dare to put that Oleg Cassini wedding dress on my body.
The last time I joined a gym was in 2006. That was the summer my sister got married and, as the maid of honor, I wanted to look like a total fox in my full-length Alberta Ferretti dress. My roommate also joined the same day, and we each went once during our three-month membership. We actually put on our gym clothes on dozens of times, fully planning to hop on the treadmill or exhaust ourselves on the elliptical for an hour, but we never quite made it there. We’d always opt for happy hour margaritas at the Mexican restaurant on the way to the gym. Priorities.
Now, almost a full eight years later, and (I think) both wiser and more responsible, I am determined to stick to it. And I have! I’ve been going four to five times a week! I’d like to say it’s great, wonderful, I love it, and all that, but I can’t.
You see, I don't like to exercise. I know it's good for me, especially as I get older, but it's just not something I can get behind. I don't like to sweat, I don't like pushing myself physically, and honestly, if it weren't for this love weight, the only way you'd get me to run, is if I were being chased by a mugger or something. Although, even in that case, I'm probably more likely to lie down on the ground and give up, instead of trying to escape.
However, I can say that going to the gym has forced me to realize a lot about myself and my body, some of it that I'd rather not know.
1. I SWEAT MORE WHEN I’M ANGRY
Whether it’s stress-related or I’m just simply in a pissy mood, it’s amazing how much more I sweat when I think the world is the worst. In fact, I’ll start sweating five minutes into getting on the elliptical, as opposed to my usual 30 minutes in. It must be something about the rage inside that keeps me trucking along, as if I'm some how beating the anger out of me.
2. EXERCISE MAKES ME VOMIT
Every day for the first couple weeks that I was going to the gym, I’d throw up mid-workout, then again when I got home. I assumed it was because my body just hates the gym THAT much. After some Googling, I discovered my big mistake was both gulping water while I work out and not having something to eat one to two hours before going to the gym. Instead of my usual schedule of waking and working for hours while only drinking tea, I switched it up. I actually had a proper meal, as prescribed by my gym rat friend Natalie, one to two hours before going, and quit gulping water as if it was going out of style.
3. I SWEAT IN PLACES I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW POSSIBLE
My chin sweats. Not just my forehead or upper lip dripping down to my chin, but my actual chin. I’ll be there on the bike watching myself in the mirror (why do gyms think mirrors are ever a good idea?), focusing on the sweat just dangling from my chin wondering if I can pinpoint the exact moment when it will have the nerve to fall. My shins, calves, forearms, and other places I was unaware had sweat ducts also get their perspiration on, too — basically my whole body. It’s not pretty, and makes for slippery conditions.
4. I’M EVEN MORE OF A CREATURE OF HABIT THAN I THOUGHT
I always knew that I'm a very particular person, and very set in my ways. I needed things to be just how I want them to be, but the first time someone was on MY elliptical, my entire world was sent into a tailspin. I tried my hardest to try another machine, but it just wasn’t working out. Instead, I decided to creepily hang around the machine that I use all the time until it was free. It’s probably not the best gym etiquette, but I really had no choice in the matter; my OCD won that round.
5. MY NIPPLES ARE CHAFE MONGERS
After about a week of going to the gym almost every day, I realized my nipples were flaky and peeling. Lovely thought, isn’t it? So I lubed them up with some Vaseline to take the chafing down and was forced to upgrade my sports bra to one with a soft lining that wasn’t going to rub my nipples down to non-existent nubs over time.
6. I ACTUALLY CAN RUN AFTER ALL
I have tried easily 500 times to be one of those runner people. My sister is a runner, as are many of my friends, so why can’t I be one, too? Every attempt has been a failure. Out on the streets of New York or up along the East River Esplanade, I’d only been able to run for five minutes — barely — before I’d be forced to walk again. It was so frustrating. Sometimes I couldn’t even run the entire duration of a song. But then I discovered the treadmill! I can get on that thing and run for up to 40 minutes straight. Sure, the machine is propelling me along, but it’s fun to pretend that I’m mid-marathon while doing so. I’ve always had the very unrealistic goal of wanting to be able to run the Boston Marathon, and maybe that's not as much of a fantasy as I'd thought.
7. MY BODY ENJOYS A HUNGOVER WORKOUT
Perhaps it’s the masochist in me, but, man, does my body, in all its aches and pains thanks to too much fun the night before, really love to be pushed like hell when I'm hungover. Not only can I work out out harder in that state, but longer, too. I almost feel invincible.
8. MY BOOBS CANNOT BE TAMED
Even after I got a sports bra that put the nipple chafing to an end, it didn’t stop my boobs from bouncing dramatically with every up and down movement. It doesn’t seem to matter how small (I've opted for smaller sized bras for even more support) the sports bra, my breasts, which are bigger than I would like, refuse to stay put. Too much time on the treadmill always leads to serious back and boob pain.
9. I STILL DON’T LIKE VEGETABLES
For some reason, I firmly believed that working out would start me on the path to an entire health makeover, that I’d wake up and prefer kale to pizza. No such luck. Also, kale is really overrated, you guys.
10. MY COMPLEXION IS THE ONLY PART OF ME THAT TRULY LOVES THE GYM
I do not like the gym. I do not like how it makes me feel. I don't like the annoyance that comes with preparing to go, the anger that that comes from being reminded of my imperfect body, and the guilt I feel if I skip it. It doesn’t make me feel as awesome as I thought it would. And although I can see some changes in my body, it’s still the worst part of my day. I actually dread it. The only part of me that seems to think the gym is the greatest thing in the world is my complexion. My complexion looks amazing thanks to all this working out, and I’m constantly asked if I just got a facial. But that’s where the excitement ends. Maybe by April, after three full months of doing this, I’ll think going to the gym is the cat’s pajamas. Maybe.
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