There are people who live and die by exercise – who thrive by working hard at the gym. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. I wish I was. I signed up for a gym membership three years ago, and have spent a majority of that three years feeling guilty because I was paying for something that I was not really using. I HATE those machines at the gym – the ones that keep you going but get you nowhere. Just shoot me and get it over with. Even with individual TVs on each machine, it is sheer torture for me to run or walk on a moving belt, have my toes fall asleep while on an elliptical, or climb (and climb…and climb…) on an automated stair climber. When I watch TV, I want to relax, not feel like I am going to collapse. And, let’s be honest…the food network that I like to watch does not give me much motivation to burn calories. I want to eat them instead. I have to FORCE myself to stay on those machines for 30 minutes, and I hate every one of those minutes.
So, I tried the classes. My gym offered a wide variety of those, and they were better than the machines by a long shot. But, I had to plan my day around the times that they were offered. Most of the time, they were smack in the middle of my morning – at like 10:30. By the time I got home, showered, and dressed, it was almost time to think about picking the kids up from school. I didn’t have enough time before or after the class to get a whole lot done, which was enough to keep me from going.
I tried yoga. Those classes were at 8:30 am – a time that I felt like I could handle. I spent more time falling than balancing, and could never quite touch my toes, let alone stand on my head – but I actually kind of liked yoga. My problem was the dark room that was supposed to be relaxing. For me it was suffocating. I thrive on natural light. My curtains and blinds are open from sunup to sundown. I feel really closed in when there is not enough light. If I could practice yoga on the beach, I think I would be in heaven. But, in the heat of the desert sun…not so much. The dark room was not really my thing.
Exercise under all of the above conditions was a chore…and one that I hated. There were times when I was more consistent than others, but most of the time I just ended up finding other things to do that felt more important. But, then I felt guilty for not taking better care of myself…not using the expensive gym membership…and not liking to exercise.
I have found a solution that I can live with. I finally cancelled my gym membership…and it was a glorious day. I am letting go of that guilt. Instead, I am going to do some exercise that I actually enjoy. I love to be outside. There is something about the combination of fresh air and sunshine that makes me happy. I don’t like to run, or I would have taken that up long ago. But, I like to hike.
For a year and a half we have lived within walking distance of some hiking trails. I have utilized them a little haphazardly, but have always enjoyed hiking those trails when I have made it a priority. I have also felt guilty when I have chosen hiking over the gym, however, because I was not getting the best work out possible. Some of the hills are steep, and are tough to climb every time. But, there are also a lot of flat or slightly sloped areas that don’t push me. However, I don’t hate it. I don’t even dread it. Rather, I look forward to it. I enjoy the time to myself to think. The fresh air clears my head. I can go whenever I have time…for as long as I want. And, I am exercising…that is a HUGE accomplishment for me.
I may not ever get the perfect workout on the trail. I may not ever be completely toned or have the perfect athletic body. I probably won’t ever be able to do hand stand push ups or 50 burpees in a row. I may not ever fit into a size four. You know what, though…I am OK with that. At least I will be doing something, which is a whole lot better than nothing…and I will be enjoying it.
So, good riddance to you, sweaty gym that I hate!! I’m moving on, and I’m not looking back. I’m no longer going to allow you to make me feel guilty. You will find me on the hiking trail…enjoying the sunshine and breathing the fresh air. I will not miss you…not even for a second.