Monday, December 8, 2008

To Gym, or Not to Gym

Over the past few years, I’ve definitively proven two things: I have enough discipline to daily schlep my laptop twenty blocks to my favorite library, sit down and write a book, but I lack the discipline to slip on sneakers and walk one block to the gym. Hmmm.

This fall, I bit the bullet and bought a gym membership. I even signed up for some personal training sessions, a first for me. Yippee. I’ve taken the first steps on a road that supposedly leads to better health, more energy and greater happiness. Unfortunately I find that this road too frequently intersects the highway of do-these-pants-make-me-look-fat?

Generally speaking, I’m not a very appearance-focused person. I don’t care whether my clothes are baggy or awkwardly matched, I wear tank tops (despite flabby arm fat), I don’t always shave (even when people are going to see my legs), I can give or take makeup, and things like that. But when I make an effort to focus on exercise, I end up looking in the mirror more often. I poke myself to check for firmness. I consider buying a scale to keep track of progress – a purchase I’ve resisted for years because I don’t like focusing on how much I weigh. All around, I feel less good about myself, in the midst of doing something that’s supposed to be good for me.

I do think it’s important to exercise for health reasons, but I also don’t want to cultivate in myself any new self-consciousness about my appearance. Yet, I can’t seem to separate the two. What can I do? If I don’t exercise, I feel guilty, but happy in my skin. When I do, I feel a sense of accomplishment, but chubby. Is there a middle ground?


Original Designer Woman said...

Ok.. hmm how can I answer this one? lol

I work out at least 3 times a week, why? Because I have a goal to be fit and very active so when I age I will still be able to enjoy life hopefully without illnesses due to lack of taking care of my body if you get what I am saying.

I watch my mother everyday deal with symptoms of osteoporosis and it scares me because the reality is just a few days a week of weight training can prevent such a disease. So I choose to work out and live a healthy life. Now do I want to get up early and slip on my sneakers and wrap my hair just to get 30 minutes in at the gym? Sometimes yes and most times NO! But the long term effect is worth it.

Fast forward to a vision of a girl on a bike going TOP SPEED... she is surrounded by slim pretty girls and they are most likely there for vanity purposes, and I won't fib either... Going to the gym has this vanity thing about it, after you leave you feel beautiful and fit HONESTLY

So, that being said I go to the gym for many reasons. If there is something in this crazy world that makes you feel good then indulge!


Pauline Karakat said...

Exercising regularly is something I am trying to do for myself. I have a family history of heart disease and diabetes, so it is definitely a priority in my life. I just have to put it into practice on a regular basis. I think it is important to break a sweat once a day, whether it be walking, running, aerobics, yoga, pilates, etc.

Zanade is doing what we all should be doing...weight training. It is so important for our health and posture. I have to get myself in the habit of doing it more often too.

Great post! I can't wait to get home and some "face time" on my treadmill! ;)

Original Designer Woman said...

Good for you Pauline!

Chicks Rock!!

Aviva DV said...

Having just fought a losing battle to get myself to the gym today, I completely understand your plight. Although I usually don't feel chubbier when I go to the gym, I do often expect instant results and am disappointed when I'm not automatically more fit after one or two visits. Rationally, I get that this is a ridiculous expectation, but that doesn't change the way it makes me feel about the work. That said, I really do feel better--both healthier and better about myself--when I go to the gym regularly. The problem for me is that I'll go pretty regularly for a couple of weeks, start feeling better and then slack off out of a false sense of self-congratulation. It's a vicious cycle.

And why is it that it's so hard to get yourself to the gym in the first place? I'm usually perfectly happy (or, at least, tolerant of exercising) once I get there and 9 times out of 10 I feel better when I leave than when I arrived, but actually getting in my car and driving to the gym (it'd be a 30 min walk; if I had to walk, I'd probably never go) just seems so onerous.

Anonymous said...

We actually have a gym at my office, but I only go if I'm really keyed up and need to burn off some steam at lunch. I don't like the gym.

That being said, I do work out regularly. I do yoga every day. I bike around my neighborhood rather than driving. I take ballet classes. I play Wii Fit. There are a lot of active things you can do without feeling obligated to go to the gym.

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