Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why do I do this to myself?

It’s been nearly nine years since I’ve gone to a gym. No real reason other than the time and financial restraints that come with having a young family. Plus I don’t really like working out. Sure I enjoy the end result but the whole gasping for air, heart beating out of your chest, sweating through multiple t-shirts thing I can do without.

Anyway that all changed this past month when one of the Superstition Little League sponsors, Fitness Works, decided to give all the volunteer coaches and their spouses a free membership. Not being one to pass up a freebie I sat down with Lola and we made plans on how we would make time for the gym.

As the time to return to the gym grew closer I became more and more excited. It’s not that I’ve had no physical activity in the past nine years (although some would argue to the contrary) it’s just that going to the gym is a whole different animal. I was so pumped walking through the doors Saturday that I climbed up on the check-in desk, threw my fist in the air, closed my eyes, turned my head skyward, drew in a deep breath and bellowed “FINALLY, BLAY-LOCK has COME-BACK to fitness!” The check-in girl asked that I climb down and quietly scan my key tag. I dutifully obeyed.

So Lola hustled off to some sort of Tae Bo man hater class where mild mannered women unleash all their feminine hostility for an hour or so and I jumped on the elliptical. I rocked the stairs for a half an hour (on level 5) and was feeling pretty good. Then I decided to lift some weights. I, of course, defaulted to my chest and tri workout from days of yore. Everything went great. It felt good being back in the gym.

Then I woke up Sunday morning.

As I struggled to put on my shirt for church I thought ‘This is why I never thought about returning the gym.’ So I resolved to change my routine, after all I’m older and have different fitness goals now.

Basically I’d just like the thought of taking my shirt off in public not to conjure up painful memories of a rather unpleasant shirts and skins basketball game in my seventh grade P.E. class (I’ll let you guess who was skins). So I agreed to go with Lola to some of these classes that she swears by.

Monday was my first ever spinning class. As I thundered away on the stationary bike being prodded on by our 95 lb instructor and a puddle of sweat the size of Lake Powell formed underneath me I thought “Why am I doing this to myself?” Too tired to form any type of a coherent reply that question went unanswered. Mercifully the class came to an end. The feeling of relief was so great that I didn’t pick up this internal argument again.

Then came Tuesday.

As I stood there on one leg while twisting myself into a pretzel during the Pilates/Yoga/Tai Chi torture fusion they call a class, the thought again returned “Why am I doing this to myself?”

Fortunately, during the three minute cool down where we lay still in the dark while the instructor encouraged us to release the stress of the day (most of which, for me, was caused by said instructor), I had time to reflect on this question.

My first thought was that I love food. Delicious food; bacon and chocolate, burgers and ice cream, breaded food, fried food, food that makes vegans recoil and the fat kid in all of us salivate. That coupled with my aversion to physical activity above and beyond swinging a golf club yields less than desirable results on the scale and in the waistline.

During my life I’ve had different goals for working out; to get stronger, to increase stamina and flexibility, to improve performance in sports, to lose weight. I imagine that most people fall into those categories, but there is one underlying reason that motivates people to work out: to look better naked.

Of all the reasons people say they workout this is the most honest. Plus I take every opportunity to say naked.

Don’t judge me, I know it’s childish but you’re no better. Go ahead, I dare you to say “naked” out loud and not smile. You couldn’t do it, could you?

But I digress.

Why am I doing this to myself? Is it vanity? Is it pride? Is it for a boost to the old self esteem? Yeah, probably a little bit of all that.

All I know is as long as these two opposing elements of appetite and au naturel exist there will be the necessary evil of returning again and again to that house of sweat and pain. Oh, what a world! What a world! At least I’ve got one less thing to wonder about when I’m pounding away on the treadmill tonight.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Here I was reading along, thinking that when the instructor told you to cool down in the dark and "release the stress of the day" it would be released in flatulence form.

    I love reading your blogs, they always make me laugh.... Oh and I can say naked too.


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