Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gym Culture

Those who know me can probably attest to the fact that I am not very athletic. I never have been. In fact I would rather stay inside and read or organize my pantry than exercise. But because I struggle with Fibromyalgia that leaves me enervated and crabby, exercise has been essential to manage my pain and stabilize my mood. So, in March I joined a gym.

I like the tennis and fitness club that I go to. The facilities are very nice, the locker rooms are clean, and cable is hooked up the the treadmills - which makes the time go by much faster. I have noticed, however, that the time of day really changes the atmosphere of the entire place.

I usually go in the evenings when my husband gets home from work. He can watch the kids and I can have some time to myself. I enjoy the drive because I get to go past the yacht club which has a nice coastal feeling to it, even though it is not on the ocean, but a large lake. I listen to NPR radio and get caught up on our nation's politics or new music on the World Café. I typically will do cardio when I get there; the treadmill or stationary bike. But I rarely do weight lifting. I admit it, it is because I am a little intimidated by the people in the weight room. After 5:00 is when the twenty-somethings do their workout and the men in particular make loud, laborious grunting noises and check themselves out in the mirror. Since I use the power ball for my crunches and weight lifting, I always feel that I am in the way or that everyone is watching me. It is probably all in my head, but I don't like that added pressure.

In the last week I have started going in the morning on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The place has a totally different feeling to it as it is almost all women. Today I went right over the the weights and did my routine without feeling watched or judged. I completed my 30 minutes on the treadmill next to an older gentleman who was actually going slower than me. And I didn't care that my work out clothes weren't attractive (trust me, they weren't!). I was comfortable and able to push myself. It's amazing what a simple change in time can do.

However, I am a little puzzled as to why they play ACDC and Kid Rock for the men in the evenings and Wilson Phillips and Air Supply for the women in the mornings. I thinks I'll have to complain to the management about that; it is hard to get pumped to soft rock ballads!

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