Wellness Wisdom: The Great Gym Return

“Aerobics:  a series of strenuous exercises which help convert fats, sugars, and starches into aches, pains, and cramps.” ~Author Unknown

Definitely a good start to the 2016 workout kickoff. In this first week I took two step/sculpt (i.e., step class with weights) and one Zumba class, and half a yoga class at LA Fitness (the latter was the worst teacher on the face of the earth with a monotone and a complete lack of terminology that was an embarrassment to yogis everywhere, so much so it was endangering students through her lack of instruction – so I’ll reserve these classes for my DVD at home or pay more to go to the yoga studio by my house).

Now here’s the thing – I hate “gym” environments in a lot of ways, but over my life I’ve learned that I really don’t give a flying fuck about the beefcake types that hang out there and find that “my people” are in the classes at working class gyms. I don’t have fancy matchy matchy ensemble and most of the people in the classes don’t either. Unlike the gym I went to years ago in Santa Barbara, most of the women in my classes aren’t in full makeup or perfectly sculpted. It’s what I love about my hometown.

So being in Portland, it’s quite ironic joining a place called “LA Fitness” with all their stupid posters of what they consider – in their words – “Perfect”. Yes there’s actually a poster of a woman with just that word under it. And of course, one of a man looking all angry that says “Power”. And you guessed it – not one poster that says “Healthy”. But honestly, I have learned to roll my eyes and keep walking.

Being back in gym-land has reminded me of how different my regimen has been for the past couple of years on bike/foot/yoga mat. I’ve gotten great exercise, but my heart rate hasn’t been consistently up there – and no amount of speed walking is going to compare to the pace of a Zumba class or the whole-body workout of StepSculpt.  After the first Step class, my husband actually had to rub my shoulders and give me a heating pad as I hadn’t done weights in far too long and pushed myself way more than I should have. I am huffing and puffing in classes where in my younger days I could have easily been at the front, teaching. I refuse to wear t-shirts while working out as I hate anything touching my pits while I’m sweating and with that, it makes it very real looking at your arms and such in the mirror. It’s a mixture, of course, of horror and motivation. But for me, it works. I know what my body is capable of, and I need to give it the strength and endurance to match what I’ve got inside of me.

So how’s it really going? It’s hard. But it’s worthwhile. I’m remembering the steps, as the choreography of these classes are like riding a bike, and that feels good. Knowing that each time I go it gets a bit easier, and each morning after I am less sore and more confident in what I am capable of. With the things I’m facing these days, it’s one of the best things I can do to take ownership of my future.

“I have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.” ~Marsha Doble


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