Working it Out: Gym Hatred and Other Exercise Dramas

I have reached my first little weight loss plateau already. It came sooner than I expected; but once again, I am not 23 anymore, and can’t expect my metabolism to be the same as it was then! I’m doing pretty well on the vegan diet now, so I think it is time pump up the exercise.

I have mentioned here before that I was not a very active child growing up. In fact, exercise was connected to some of my worst childhood traumas. Ah yes, the classic childhood trauma of being the last picked for teams! As you might imagine, being terribly shy, overweight, and not particularly interested in sports did not make me a popular choice in gym class. To make matters worse, my gym teacher throughout all of grade-school (age 5-12) literally bullied me. She would do things like make me stay after class and keep hitting the goddamned volley ball over the net after everyone else had gone to change. She was constantly yelling at me (really yelling – private school teachers were still allowed to be abusive to a certain extent), calling me out and humiliating me in front of classmates – as if I really needed any more humiliation than I already got. She was not being supportive or pushing me to achieve, she was just a straight up evil bitch; and hypocritical too, considering that she had to be well over 200 lbs herself. I recently saw her walking into a restaurant in Savage (yes, she still teaches at the catholic grade school there, and if I heard correctly, might be the principal now. That ASTOUNDS me). This might be kind of extreme, but I told Dave that we were going somewhere else, because, now that I have some balls, I couldn’t be responsible for what I would say to her. My heart was racing, and I could feel the rage waiting to come out. Something along the lines of “Thanks for the bulimia, bitch. It truly hurts my heart that you are still allowed to influence children.” Sometimes its amazing how much people from your childhood can haunt you, and when you see them, it feels like your negative association with that person just happened yesterday.

Ahem, moving on. In short, I didn’t have very good beginnings when it came to exercise. I thought that I sucked at everything physical, which fed into my vicious cycle of unhealthiness. I didn’t exercise because I wasn’t aware that just because I happened to suck at team sports didn’t mean that I sucked at all physical activity. As I got older, I slowly began to discover independent physical activities that I love: hiking, skating, biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, dance,Yoga, etc. I am actually really good at a lot of those things. Right now the problem is that many of those things are outdoor activities, and it gets dark out before I get home from work each day. I’m just not as fearless (read: stupid) as I was in my younger years, and can’t bring myself to get out on the trails, alone, in the dark. It just isn’t safe. Perhaps with my dog and a can of bear mace…

If I’m not going to work out outdoors in the winter, I will obviously have to workout indoors. I’ve got Yoga, but I need some kind of cardio as well. In the past I have taken care of this requirement by going to gyms. I always start out as a good gym member – going at least 4 times per week. But then, my ambition slowly peters out. The main explanation for my flagging motivation is that I HATE gyms. Really, I do. They’re so boring to me! I don’t lift weights. I don’t do aerobics (I don’t like being confined to the class schedules). I’m a bad swimmer (10 years of lessons as a kid, and my skill level is still at “I won’t drown if you throw me in water”). That leaves the cardio machines. Treadmills don’t make sense to me – I could just take a walk during my lunch break. Stairclimbers hurt my knees (also, I work on the 9th floor of a skyscraper – I regularly take the stairs for free). I do like the stationary bike. But my favorite is the elliptical machine. I adore the elliptical. However, one, maybe two, machines does not a gym member make. Two machines doesn’t make the membership fee worthwhile, and they certainly don’t make showing up at the gym worthwhile! So, no. I will not be a gym member any longer.

Instead, I turn to the poor-man’s elliptical. Instead, I present to you, the GAZELLE!:

It essentially does the same job as the elliptical; it’s just a lot more rickety. So far, what I like most about it is that it gives me an excuse to watch TV guilt free (well, the shows that I watch are still worthy of guilt. But at least I’m not sitting on the couch!)! Apparently bad TV creates motivation where wasting money on a gym membership could not!

If you live in a cold climate, what do you do for exercise during the winter? Do you like the gym? Or do you find alternative methods?


One response to “Working it Out: Gym Hatred and Other Exercise Dramas

  1. Pingback: Fitness Smackdown « chaos to clarity

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