**Featured image: I love this picture of this little girl, because this is my expression when it comes to most things in my life. Ha! In other words, you may see this picture under many different circumstances!
Over the course of my life, because I have lived 10 years, plus 10, and 10, and 10 again (Thank you Melissa Etheridge for that little ditty), I have had a few different reasons for going to the gym, the biggest of which was to get my body into shape. I’m not talking about a simple toning. I wanted it strong, hard and firm.
The first time I became a gym addict, I was in 8th grade. I was so, so shy, and had a horrible home life, so I spent a lot of time at the local Y, playing solo racquetball and using the circuit training machines. The gym back then was an escape. The employees there, probably just out of high school or still attending, took me under their wing, so to speak. They’d always come hang out with me if they weren’t busy, teaching me how to correctly use the equipment, and giving me racquetball advice. They were very sweet, but I think they felt sorry me, which kind of sucked. The gym back then was a refuge. It was a refuge for years to come.
In my late 20’s with two small children, and a husband with a very ugly temperament, the gym once again became a refuge. My main goal in hitting the gym during this time, was to make myself stronger so I could defend myself against him. My body back then, was in the best shape it has ever been in because went to the local gym religiously. I worked out with a 60 year old man, really enjoying his company. I learned some very important lessons from him, too. I learned that no matter how hard you exercise your body, you will still get older. Your skin will still wrinkle. Your will still slow down. Your hair will turn gray. It’s the natural process, but you can do it with a healthy attitude, which will allow you to be active much longer.
These past two decades of my life, my gym time has been sporadic, but the reason I go, is not only to get into better shape, but to build a healthy routine, and to be around people, even if I do feel intimidated. I’m very self conscious. Not about my body, but about my overall self. The women/girls in the gym go in with full makeup, their hair in cute ponytails that don’t get messy the whole time they’re working out, and they have the cutest workout clothes ever. As for myself… I am a complete ragamuffin, and clumsy. A pure mess. My hair won’t all fit in a ponytail, my clothes are a bit baggy and don’t show a lot of skin, because it’s white (while everyone else is sporting the all year tan). Plus, I have no coordination at all.
Once I get into my workout, I can easily forget about all of that stuff, but it takes me awhile to relax, and I’m very conscientious of anyone around me. I worry the guy next to me will pass out because he’s sweating so much, and breathing so hard, he makes me want to pass out. I see veins popping in heads when people are lifting, and I want to yell across the room, breathe, don’t strain your head. I don’t like women only gyms. The atmosphere is too weird for me in those. I like a variety of people watching while I attempt not fall off of anything. Again… I’m a mess.
I love the gym. I love being around all of the different people, even if I’m not making eye contact with anyone. I love the energy in the atmosphere. I love the circuit training, because it feels good. I love watching others lift because I wish I could. I love watching the guys AND gals do an exercise, then check themselves out in the mirror to see if anything changed. I do it too… I just do it at home, because I know there is someone like me at the gym, watching.
Now I work out at home, and I love to run. I miss the gym, though. The energy, the time to just be around people who are somewhat like-minded, the chance to try something new. Some gyms have some different things I’d like to try. Like rock climbing. I really want to do that, but I need someone to teach me. Lately my goal has been looking for fun, active things to do.
Anyway… why go to the gym? It’s up to you as to why. Maybe you simply want to be around people, flirt, who knows. Whatever reason gets you there, though, is a good reason because you’re exercising! We all have different reasons for being there… or reasons for not being there. Your goals will change. Your reasons for going, or not going, will change. Just remember, your body was made to move. Don’t be sedentary. It will do things to your body, that you will regret later.