I’ve been going to the Y for months now and have actually (gack!) learned to enjoy exercising. I love the Y. I’d thought of joining a gym in the past, but could never get past the idea of all that spandex and lycra and all those muscleheads and really skinny blondes. Not my sort of scene. Not to mention what you have to pay to a gym for the torture of lifting weights or taking a spinning class or whatever.
I looked into the local Y (mostly for yoga classes) and found that they offered a really great discount for volunteer firemen and their families. Bingo! $31 a month and I have use of the whole place and the pools and the hot tub and whatever classes I like whenever I can manage to drag myself there.
I was really, really good about going for months: 4 or 5 times a week plus two evening yoga classes. Then the weather got nice and I found other things to do. I’m the sort of person that has to be regimented about this type of thing; any slacking off, even just a little bit, leads to a total collapse of my commitment. That’s pretty much what happened for most of June and July. I was lucky to get there twice a week.
But the Y is smart. If you’ll allow it, they’ll send you congratulatory emails when you’re making progress or nastygrams when you’re slacking off. I’d been getting these nice emails telling me that I’d lifted the equivalent of 5 African Elephants in the past month and burned enough calories to eat 3 ice-cream sundaes. Then I got a couple of those nastygrams that intimated that I’d not been trying very hard and that left me feeling like a lazy bum. So I started going again, every day, and now I’m feeling really great about being committed to it again. Plus, physically, I feel so much better! There were those days, in my first week back, that every muscle in me ached, but that only lasts so long.
That sort of inclusiveness, regardless of your level of fitness or commitment, is part of what I love so much about the place. There’s senior citizens there and a musclehead or two, plus that awful grunting guy I’d mentioned before, and ordinary people like me just trying to be healthier, one stomach crunch at a time. Plus, they send nice emails when you’re trying hard, with animated balloons and stuff. Today I’d finally lifted enough weights and spent enough hours there to earn a t-shirt as an incentive to keep going. A silly thing, really, but you shouldn’t lift the equivalent of 38 elephants without someone noticing.
(Plus I’ve finally got muscles enough to open my own pickle jars!)
Image from National Geographic