That Time I Went to the Gym

I stared straight at it. I had to face it head on. That’s the thing with fears: you’re supposed to face them head on with no turning back, right? I’m not good with fear. I crossed the road and went to the buffet instead. I needed some lunch before I attempted entering that sweaty pithole wreaking of cramps, tears, and lactic acid build-up.

I hadn’t been to the gym in two years. There’s just something odd about the idea of going to a building full of metal machines with buttons and lights, and moving your body in ways it normally wouldn’t. There was something I didn’t like about the thought of hundreds of people staring as I tried to do a squat and my face turned bright red as a vein in my forehead popped.

I am not afraid of health. I am, however, slightly afraid of exercise.

Hey, I was on the track team for four years. I couldn’t run very far…or for very long…but they didn’t have cuts, and I was only competing against myself anyway, right? (That’s what they tell the slow people). Anyways, back to my story.

I ate my college cafeteria food as if it was the most delicious, elegant meal I had ever had. I put a napkin in my lap and cut my creamed corn with a knife. Wouldn’t want to choke. I was sitting with a bunch of friends, trying not to let the sweat stains pouring like ol’ faithful under my armpit due to anxiety about the gym harm me from laughing along with their jokes. I could see the treadmills from where I was sitting. I could feel a cramp in my side forming, just as it did every semester in grade school when we were forced to run the *gasp* dare I say it??? Mile run. DUN DUN DUNNNN.

After a whole bunch of negative self-talk and flashing thoughts of the jiggling that would happen when I tried to run, I was at the gym with my friend Emily.

Men. Men everywhere. And all of them had boobs bigger than me. They grunted as they lifted heavy things. Heavy things. The heaviest thing I had picked up in the past year was my cat who has a BMI in the slightly overweight range.

Most of my first gym trip is actually fading from my memory. I remember heavy breathing. And pain.

But I also remember laughs. So many laughs between me and Emily at how silly we looked not really knowing what we were doing. I make it sound as if we’re experts now. I have been to the gym a grand total of 18 times now. Wow, that actually sounds like a lot. I also remember how good I felt when we were done. You have all this stress and energy you can push into your legs, as you watch your body surge through the intense pain of a slow jog.

It’s so hard to convince yourself that the gym is a fun, safe place. But it really is. It’s full of people who are all there to reach some type of fitness goal, and definitely not to judge you. Even if you end up not enjoying the gym, you can enjoy more pizza since you burned the calories. That’s probably 50% of my motivation right there.

If you can get past the smell of the sweaty guy next to you with muscles protruding from every inch of his body, try it some time. I’ve already got my workout planned for tomorrow!


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