The Lungs for It

I went upstairs at the gym and grabbed a treadmill.  I surreptitiously looked around me. I wondered if they would notice me.  It was my first time in this part of the gym.

I didn’t want to admit that I was a gym person, but I realized today that I am.  I read people’s profiles and they say things like, “Avid Runner,” and “Workout Daily” and I think, well that’s not me.  I felt that there was an expectation to making such a definitive public statement.  At the same time, I had my own definition of a gym person, and I find nothing wrong with this, but it includes someone who prioritizes workouts at the gym  among the to-do list.  A person who looks like they work out, and a person who talks about working out.  The look of a gym person includes not only their physically fit appearance and desire to wear those cute multi-colored gym outfits outside of the gym, but the snacks that she indulges in while remaining fit and in those lycra outfits.

Over a year ago I started at the gym because I had finished grad school and found myself with some extra time.  Additionally, I was getting married, and wanted to look my best.  So, I started slow, and told no one.  I didn’t want anyone to know when I failed or rather simply stopped going.  I also bought a few coordinated workout outfits, so I would look the part of a gym person.  I started with one class each week.  I got through the first class – a mix of cardio and light weights with high reps coordinated with music; I liked it, but I could barely walk without grimacing the next day.  I went again, and found it a little easier and I found myself a little less sore.  A few weeks in, I still felt each muscle group, and we had a guest instructor; I left without my usual feeling of being pushed to personal success, so I attempted a second class the next day.
I started spinning.  Now, this instructor is the complete opposite of a gym person.  He is physically fit, or he wouldn’t be able to take us through the up, down, low resistance sprints, and high resistance climbs that he does each week, but he is so encouraging, and he really doesn’t look the part.  He wants you to do well and feel good.  He also wants to push you a bit farther than you may push yourself as he turns your resistance barrier one level heavier.  The year ended with me consistently going to 2-3 class a week, and I was feeling pretty good about it.  I looked like I wanted to at my wedding and in my wedding pictures, but I still wasn’t a gym person.
I started another year of classes and felt less than fulfilled. My original and favorite class was offered with a different instructor that did not push me, so I found myself making excuses not to go, with the resulting feeling of losing something.  With a busy fall and a fear of trying something new, I stuck with the mediocre, same-old workout classes.
Recently, though, I did some research combined with my class experiences and put together a workout that I thought wouldn’t embarrass me as I ventured outside the comfort of the class studios.  It felt good, and I looked forward to doing it again.  I was sore in a satisfying way, and I knew that I had pushed my comfort zone.  But the main encouragement came from my spinning instructor whose class I still go to.  He saw me ending my workout and asked what I’d done.  As I relayed my new running goals and free-weight routine, he commented, that he liked the variety of my routine and that that I set good goals for myself since he knew I had the lungs for it.
The lungs for it…I had become a gym person, though from my own definition, I only wear fitted clothing to the gym, and I still rarely talk about my routine at the gym, but I do enjoy snacks throughout the day.  So, I feel good and I welcome the comfort and confidence from my growing daily routine.

2 thoughts on “The Lungs for It

  1. I enjoyed this both as a reader and a writer. On one hand, your story is a relatable one. I have pursued my own fitness challenges the past several years, but it took a long time to see myself as a fitness person, or in my case, a runner. I didn’t feel comfortable with the title. As if I wasn’t worthy. Likewise, with writing, I struggled with claiming such a lofty title as “writer”. But I write frequently. I write passionately. I have published my own book. So I eventually put the label on.

    The flow of your piece is very warm and inviting. As if you are sitting on a couch, healthy snack to your side, explaining your routine to friends.

    Thank you for sharing!


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