So it's come to this, people. I have embraced the cliche. Last week, 5 days into the new year, I joined the gym. Although honestly, it's got less to do with the fact that it's a new year and more to do with the fact that it is my FORTIETH year. 40, people. 4-0. True, I won't celebrate the actual date of my birth for several more months, but I was born in 1971, which makes 2011 my 40th year. And going into my 4th decade with the body I'm carting around now simply isn't an option. Its got less to do with appearance (which is one of the perks of approaching 40--not that how I look has stopped mattering to me, but it is not one of the primary ways in which I identify my worth any more) and more to do with health and longevity. I don't think 40 is "old" by any stretch (although my 20-year old self is on some alternate plane of existence right now breathing into a paper bag at the thought), but its hard to argue with the facts of aging and the physical changes that come along with it--muscle turning to fat more readily, risks for cancer and heart disease increasing, blah blah blah.
I know, I can hear the "wauh-wauh-wauuuuuh" of the SNL Debbie Downer skit, too. But what can you do?
So I joined the gym down the street from me and if nothing else, I am getting a good look at the throngs of resolution-driven masses flocking to Zumba and crowding the elliptical machines. I have always preferred gyms where the people working out are never going to win a beauty contest, and are there because they need to be there, not so that they can be seen in all their chiseled-abdominal and perfectly coifed glory.
And let me tell you, this gym delivers. We are a motley crew; I'm sure the woman in the row behind me, channeling a combination of Ally Sheedy a la Breakfast Club and South Park's Kenny, would agree. I was on the elliptical machine for an hour this morning and could see her, hooded sweatshirt zipped up almost over her mouth and hood pulled up & tightened around her face until just her eyes and nose were showing, the entire time. I'm not sure if she is on some sort of extreme sweating weight-loss regiment or if she thinks she's invisible. A little weird. But perhaps no more so than the woman on the bike in front of me who was wearing a shirt one (clearly not her, but one) might wear to work or out to dinner. I'm no athletic gear snob--when I work out, I wear a pair of old yoga pants and one of Husband's old t-shirts. But I don't think I'd ever go the gym in a V-neck, three-quarter sleeved, animal print, synthetic fiber blend...maybe that's just me?
And then there's always the guy on the bike or the treadmill or the elliptical or doing crunches on the floor who has to announce to the room that he is working at full-exertion capacity by grunting repeatedly throughout his entire work out. He's fun, isn't he?
Last week I joined my friend Rachel at a Body Pump class--which is a weight-lifting class set to techno music. The music makes you feel like you're having fun. The music is a dirty, dirty liar.
That being said, I completed the class (and didn't even pass out once!) and I promised to participate with my friend each week, and yes, after one class and a bit of time on the elliptical, I am already seeing definition in my legs. So that's good. Painful, but good.
On Wednesday, I am meeting with a personal trainer for my one complimentary training session. When I first saw the trainer last week, he was plodding across the weight room floor with a rope tied around his waist, hauling about 200lbs in weight plates. So yeah, I'm really looking forward to that. And by "looking forward to" I mean "am dreading with every fiber of my being." Just so we're clear.
I've done this so many times before--joined the gym, committed to getting in shape & healthy--and I've generally always fallen short and stayed the same shape & size as before. This time, though, I'm drawing on my NaNoWriMo experience from November--I set a goal and I stuck to it; something I am, sadly, rarely successful with. But I did it with the writing. And I if I spend the same amount of time exercising and being aware of my eating habits as I did with my writing, and make it a non-negotiable in my life, as I did with the novel in November, I am hopeful that this time will be different, and when I celebrate the actual day that signifies my 40th year, I will do so with a body I am happy to be living in, and a lifestyle that is a good model for my child and for my next 40 years....
wish me luck!