Thursday, August 30, 2007


I had time between classes today, so I decided to check out the gym. It sounds so casual to just say it like that, but it was a big deal for me. Next week, I plan to start working out for an hour 5 days a week. I haven't been in a gym since I was 16, back when I would cry myself to sleep on nights before P.E. class.

I rant a bit from time to time about the soul-destroying culture of body perfectionism that either springs from or at least feeds the fitness industry. Not that I don't still believe that, but all that bluster also functions as a great excuse not to be in better physical shape. And I've come to see that a big part of my aversion to gyms is simply fear. I'm surprised -- I shouldn't be -- to realize how traumatized I still am by the experience of being forced during puberty to parade naked in front of, and compete in athletic contests with, boys whom I was just discovering a (horrifying and deeply shameful, but powerfully stimulating) sexual attraction to.

So I just walked right in that gym today, puffed up my chest a bit, and sniffed around. It's gargantuan. Lots of big rooms full of big machines. And a cafe.

My friend the Gardener, who knows all about physical fitness (did I mention he was a helicopter rescuer?), offered to come with me to the gym a couple times and show me what to do, and that's exactly what I need. I'm a little reluctant to put myself in such an uncomfortable and vulnerable position with a very new friend. But I'm gonna do it.


Dagon said...

That gym is particularly intimidating as it is full of UT Hitler-Jugend. One feels self-conscious in the presence of the Master Race.

evilganome said...

I'm lucky because I go to a very low key gym. Most guys are pretty average, and a lot of the ones that are buff are actually very nice.

I've been back at it for a couple of years now, and I'm glad I made the commitment to myself. I don't know if I look a whole lot better, but I certainly feel better.

If you can come up with the cash to work for a while with a trainer, I recommend it. It's a great motivator and you also get a feel for getting a good workout. Just remember, form is more important than how much you are lifting.

chwjohns said...

I can empathize totally. BUT, I think if it makes you uncomfortable but you know it shouldn't (you do know this, right?) then it's a good thing to try to confront it.

Becoming comfortable in the gym was nothing short of healing for me.