So, I joined a gym.

I am 23 years old and I have never had a gym membership. Up until last week, you could hear me yowling up and down the streets of Frederick/Middletown/Shippensburg/Chambersburg/Prague…probably that gyms were useless money sucks and that anyone with the motivation to get off their ass to drive to the gym definitely had the motivation to get out and go for a run. This was, of course, before soul-splitting shin splints kicked in and I quite possibly gave myself a stress fracture trying to ignore the pain. 

So, I girded my loins and cried a little bit on the inside and tried out a few different gyms. I tried SoldierFit (a Maryland thing…for now), which was a fantastic workout with a great sense of camaraderie but was also about 60 dollars a month. When I have 60 dollars a month lying around, I will bathe with it. Or, as my friend Paul put it so delicately last night, “roll it up and smoke it.”

So I tried again. I’ve done the Planet Fitness shindig before with my friend Christine (who also, interestingly, brought me along to SoldierFit) and while it was a lovely plethora of metal creatures all lined up and waiting for me kill myself on, there wasn’t much structure. No pool, no classes, and a terrifying stand up tanning booth that I physically took about six steps out of my way to avoid. Sure, ten bucks a month is actually pretty doable for me, but, again, there wasn’t much there I would have trouble getting a hold of elsewhere. I justified it like this: I have a yoga mat, medicine ball, and rather heavy books, what else do I need?

That justification didn’t last too long when I went almost two months and GAINED THREE POUNDS. Sure, a combination of drinking with friends, eating pad thai on purpose, and lazy mornings also affected that as well, but, I wasn’t getting out as much. It was starting to get too cold out to go running at night (shut up, I know). I rarely had time in the mornings and insert about four other excuses here. I was losing motivation…fast. 

So, my friends Liane and Meara brought me out to Fitness First, a gym with a few locations in Frederick. They still didn’t have a pool, which stinks, but they have so many different classes and when you sign up you get a fitness assessment, which really helps to gauge where you are in relation to fitness. I took a kickboxing class, a few total body conditioning classes, and just had my fitness assessment today and I’m actually pretty happy with my decision to join. Staff are more than friendly and helpful, the classes have kicked my ass, and I’ve had yet to wait in lines (which I had to at Planet Fitness a few times).

Though I’m fighting my inner conspiracy theorist (damn the man and all that), I know I needed to join a gym to actually keep working out in winter. I’m like a bear; I eat EVERYTHING in the fall and wrap myself in a snuggie and don’t leave the couch until April. And that’s, you know, bad in some cultures.

I did have an interesting experience today in the ladies locker room (woah guys, calm down. no, really. calm down.), when I saw roughly five separate middle aged women wandering through the locker room with their nonsense hanging out all abundantly. I was appalled! And then, I was appalled that I was appalled. Why would something like the human body ever freak me out? Especially a human body that has all the same parts as mine? I shout from the rooftops appreciating others and appreciating ourselves and getting past taboos but then there was one staring me right in the face. When did it become so taboo to be naked around others? It wasn’t even the body that bothered me; I have to see naked women at work for strip searches (…love my job) all the time, it was the lack of care. I was almost jealous that a woman could feel so comfortable in her own body. And these ladies weren’t all yogalates-toned fit nazis, they were middle-aged women of average statures. 

Has my generation become more uncomfortable with their body? Is it just an “age” thing that I’ll understand when I’m older? Do I still have too many hormones raging around my body?

Hm, a lot of questions. Maybe I’ll ponder them over my cappuccino, which yes, I did buy from a local small business. I have to damn the man some way!

More later,

-A.

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