Working out has never been something I enjoy. When you’re a kid, exercise just happens. (Or, at least it did until Nintendo glued many of my generation to the couch.) Sick of me, my mother would send me outside into the yard where I was quite content to amuse myself by riding my bike around in circles until dark.
Now that I’m an adult with considerably less energy and free time, I have found that getting myself onto a treadmill or running a few miles outside requires a great deal of motivation. On nights where I stride into the weight room at Planet Fitness I often halfheartedly slink right back out, at a complete loss of how to use the metal disks and sticks to tighten up my thighs. When I do start lifting things, I must stop before whatever magical point others hit that results in… results, because I still look and feel the same.
So I have taken to paying someone to force me to move my body in ways that will burn the beers, booze, and delicious food that I am fortunate enough to have available to me. And as the economy is still rough, I tend to take group fitness classes. Which provides some of the most amazing people-watching in the city.
Earlier this year, I started attending a cardio-weight combo class with a coworker of mine. On a tony street, the overwhelmingly female clientele were almost all decked out in head-to-toe Lululemon. In the midst of torturous isometric tricep exercises, their faces were gorgeous and makeup remained in place. At the same time, sweat poured down my forehead, smudging my mascara before dripping onto my stretched-out Old Navy tank top. I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of pity coming at me from the put-together princesses, so I stopped going after a while.
Now, I seem to have settled on semi-regular yoga attendance. There’s a studio less than a block from my new job, so I’ll often escape the office for an hour at lunch to stretch out and get some low-impact (and low-pressure) muscle strength. While there are always the people who are committed enough to their practice to invest in the spendy gear, there are also people like me, rolling in in a freebie t-shirt and the world’s ugliest Old Navy gaucho pants.
But the engagement rings! My God. As the noon sunlight streams through the windows, it catches the bling on the left hand of so many yogis in the room. How does one practice with such a rock on the finger? I know I’m supposed to focus on my breath, but sometimes the mind wanders a bit. Especially when the eyes are blinded by dozens of prisms reflecting at once.
In 2012, I think I may take up boxing. I could log less time on the hamster wheels at Planet Fitness because it’s cardiovascular exercise. And, judging by how my brother winces when I punch him in the arm, I think it might be my true calling. Also, I can’t get distracted by sparkly engagement rings if everyone is wearing big gloves.