Monday, February 21, 2011

Y Me

I have fallen out of love with my gym.  This is really REALLY not a good thing.  You have to understand that my default setting is sitting with my feet up, McDonald's Carmel Frappe in one hand, slice of pizza in the other.  If my gym were a place full of music and sunshine, constantly pumped full of the smell of fresh brewed coffee and staffed by muscular, shirtless men who wanted nothing more than to rub my feet one minute for each I spend on the friggin' elliptical trainer I would STILL find every possible excuse not to go.  I have never experienced the fabled "runner's high" (to be fair, I haven't run since 1974), I don't notice any discernable stress reduction from working out, and the only positive feelings I have post-exercise come from the blessed knowledge that I won't have to do it again for roughly 47 hours.

I've had gym memberships in the past, and the biggest problem (other than, you know, hating it) was caused by me comparing myself to the other members.  The muscular men are not a plus if they're not there to rub  my feet.  The 22 year girl wearing skin tight bike shorts and a sports bra is just lucky that I lack the upper body strength to chuck a freeweight at her.  I'm wearing a sports bra too...but I'm required by law to wear a giant t-shirt over mine and I'm sweating like a pig while she flits about, barely perspiring.  I hate her.

So when I toured the Y, one of the first things I noticed in the exercise area was that it was full of MY PEOPLE.  They are overweight.  They have gray hair (not that I far as you know).  They sweat and they struggle and they are NOT in-shape, but they're trying to be.  Sure, there are a few Sports Bra Bunnies, but they're the minority and I LOVE that.  I don't feel like the fat, old chick in the exercise equivalent to a singles bar, I feel like this is MY gym and I belong.

Sadly, I only feel this way IN the exercise room.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I go to the gym after work.  I get there about 5:30, when every single person in the Greater Cleveland Area goes to the Y to get their kid from day care.  I search for a parking spot within the same zip code.  Yes, I understand that I'm there to exericise and I should be happy to park as far as possible from the door, but the fact is that the distance walked TO the Y from the car is typically only about 1/10th of the distance that will be required to walk from the Y to the car after the workout.  It's a mystery of physics.

So after ten minutes of driving around, cursing, and trying not to plow any loose children over with my car (hold their hands for God's sake!!!) I trudge in to the Y.

I wait in line at the desk to get my card scanned, behind the lady trying to sign up for "Parent's Night Out" next month, behind the man trying to sign his son up for swimming lessons, behind all the other poor SOB's who just want to burn some calories.

Once I'm able to check in I head down the hall, pretty pink gym bag over my arm, water bottle in hand, trudging past the Family Changing Rooms, past the Girl's locker room, and I open the door to the Women's locker room, which proudly displays a sign that says that anyone under 15 should use the Girls locker room or Family Changing rooms and another sign asking members to refrain from using cell phones anywhere in the facility.

Once I get into the locker room, the next order of business is to find an empty locker.  There is usually ONE, and it's located between the 12 year old who is talking on the phone and waiting for swim team practice to start and the harried mother trying to get her twin toddlers ready for swimming lessons.

Even though I'm not the fattest or oldest person there, I'm still not comfortable changing clothes litterally elbow to elbow with other people, so I retreat to the bathroom to switch from office wear to workout clothes.  Come back out and lock up my stuff.

I have to go back through the day care crowd to go up to the exercise room, where I force myself through an hour of sweating and trying not to look at the clock. 

The rest of my visit is pretty much the same as my pre-workout routine...lots of "excuse me" and "pardon me, can I get through?".  Lots of interrupting tweens as they talk about who broke up with who.  I get my stuff from my locker, shower, get dressed in the shower because at least I can turn around without bumping into an 8th grader.  If I'm lucky enough to get access to a blow dryer that isn't being played with by a 3 year old I dry my hair.  By this time I'm just FREAKING TIRED....from the workout, from the schlepping, from the crowd.   I load my bag (which somehow weighs twice what it did on the way in) up on my shoulder, I fight my way back through the day care area, walk the six miles out to my car, and all I want to do is go home and ingest the quickest, preferably edible thing I can find.  By this point it's dark, usually between 7 and 7:30, but people are still picking up their kids, and they are still running to and fro, willy-nilly.  It sounds cute, but it's not.

So....maybe it's time to go back to the Big Girl gym.  Tomorrow I'm spending my lunch break visitng Urban Active here by my office.  I know there will be more Sports Bra Bunnies than there are people like me, but there will be fewer swim diapers and teenagers.

When did I become so crotchety?  I mean I DO like kids.  Even teenagers.  But I think again it comes down to the fact that this is my least favorite part of the day and any additional irritation is going to just put me over the edge. 

I wonder if they give foot rubs at Urban Active?

Today's Lunch: Amy's Garden Vegetable Lasagna.  Not one of my favorites, yet I keep buying it.  Hmm.


  1. I could not have put together in writing a better and more true experience(s) at the gym. I agree with and laughed at every word. one of many things that I detest about the gym is changing there. I don't mind undressing in front of people (but never down to nekid) but Murphy's law in the works... if I am the ONLY person in the gym changing another person will come in and take the locker right next to me. WHY IS that?? At the Y I go to they have huge shower stalls so I take my "clean stuff" and hang it outside the stall so that I can dress IN the stall. It's the only way; not for privacy but for peace of mind.

    The big kids gym might be a better alternative. I used to not be offended by the fit people because the motivation was to become one of them and ultimately BE the one that others envied. THAT however never happened.

    Good luck on your decision - am SO proud of you for staying committed to this!

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