“Something’s wrong,” I said to a friend of mine, as I stared, slightly bemused, at my computer screen. I was going away for the weekend, and researching the hotel online.
“Oh no, what?!?” she asked dramatically, looking around for whatever had just fallen out of alignment.
“The first thing I thought was They have a fitness center! ”
“GYM RAT!” she pointed at me, and we both laughed very hard.
It’s been the running joke since I joined the gym a month ago. I still giggle every time I say it: “I’m going to the gym.” Hee. Hee.
To understand why, you need only have been present at the interview with my new personal trainer—a lovely woman who’s been teaching aerobics since she was four.
“So, when was the last time you were in a gym?” she asked from the top of a rather long application form.
“Um…” I looked up and counted back. “Maybe 20 years?”
I knew it wasn’t exactly true, but it was close enough.
“Oh,” she asked. “What gym?”
“I see…so…what were you in high school? Were you into field hockey? Softball?”
“I was asthmatic.”
“Is there anything else I should know?”
“I don’t like to sweat.”
Suddenly, she was done with the application.
The truth is, outside of my daily walks in the woods and an occasional shuffle in a torrential downpour, I have never been a big fan of exercise. The last time I even thought about “fitness,” I was wearing pink leg warmers and a sparkly headband.
So, why now, you ask? Three reasons.
One, it has been so damn hot this summer, I have barely made it to the mailbox, never mind the daily walks. In gym-ese, they’re considered cardio, but I call them meditative, and I miss them.
Two, I no longer have the magic cigarette chemicals coursing through my body. In addition to decreasing appetite and increasing metabolism, these chemicals also deposit hundreds of nano-gremlins in your body. When you stop smoking, the nano-gremlins go into action, rapidly expanding into giant lumpy things that enthusiastically attach themselves to your butt, thighs, and upper arms.
If it’s not nano-gremlins, then it’s Three…the weird thing that happens after 40, when your body decides to relocate and get a change of scenery. What was here is over there now, what used to be right there you can’t really see anymore…and let’s not even talk about the seeing thing. (Bifocals? For real?)
Actual reason: it’s time.
Like any good American, I am now properly accessorized—water bottle with energy drink, keychain rope with key and gym pass, workout pants, matching colorful t-shirt, and new logo-emblazoned sneakers. I resist the iPod look for now, but “resistance is futile” they tell me.
The funny thing is…I kind of like the gym. It’s almost as meditative as my walks—if you ignore the incessant pop music and lack of fresh air. And I certainly feel better, which is the whole idea anyhow, right?