Friday, January 18, 2008

Diary of an On-Again Off-Again Fitness Fanatic

Before I had my husband I used to get up at 5:00 every morning and go to the gym (on top of that three nights a week I went to karate after work and I did one of those or did an outdoor workout every weekend day). Does anything scream “lunatic” or “needed to get a life” any louder?


I didn’t think so.

Luckily, once my husband started sleeping over, all that sort of went by the wayside and I started working out two or three evenings a week after work and maybe once on the weekend – kind of like a normal person might do. Still, I was so addicted to my gym membership (and it was such an amazing deal) that I kept paying for it long after I stopped using it.

I stopped going to the gym when I was 4 months pregnant with J. I had been such a die-hard that I continued to go through the exhausting morning sickness phase. I would eat three saltines in the car and then pray that I would make it through an hour without throwing up. At month four when everyone said my energy would come back and I’d feel so normal and so good again, I stopped exercising – and pretty much never looked back.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I tried to go here and there when J was a baby, but I have this – well – some might call it a mental illness, and I couldn’t leave him in the kids club. He would cry in there – they would tell me he’d be fine, but I would cry too and feel like I was scarring him for life. And so I gave up until he was 15 months old. Then I decided it was time for me to get serious. I got up at 5:00 in the morning and went to the gym before my husband went to work, while he and J slept. This worked out well until I got pregnant with Little One (a month later), and then it worked out like this: I would wake up, roll over and eat some cashews out of the nightstand so I could get to the bathroom to pee, at least, without barfing. Then I would look at my workout clothes there on the chair and get back in bed and go to sleep.

Eventually I cancelled my gym membership and during my periodic bursts of wanting to get fit would use my treadmill. Then two years ago I hit rock bottom. I was so out of shape I couldn’t stand the sight of myself anymore, and I lost forty pounds - took me a year and a half, but still! Forty pounds! I could stand to lose ten more, if the truth be told, but nothing short of plastic surgery could really fix what ails me these days, so I’m not too obsessed with losing it either.

I was an awfully big girl for a while, but you were totally worth it Little One.Then after all the work I’ve done the past two years, on January 4th just as I was starting the cool-down segment of my work out (and we were having a typhoon in Portland), my treadmill died. Just died. It had been sick for over a year but because I am cheap -- um, no I mean environmentally conscientious, I had been committed to using it until its natural death. And sorry to be such a girl and all, but I just can’t take care of replacing it without my husband’s help, and he was gone for the weekend. So I panicked and re-joined the gym online. Did I mention it was January 4th?

So the next morning I got to the gym (where no one was glad to see me) with all these papers I’d had to print out. As all of the regulars sneered at me, scanning their member cards, I pulled out this pile of paperwork and showed it to the girl who told me she had absolutely no idea what those were or what to do with them. All the while, I kept telling anyone who would listen, “I promise, I didn’t just start working out today! I work out ALL the time! I swear!”

But everyone just gave me the cop-an-attitude nod and went on their merry way. Because it was freezing cold outside I couldn’t even dress in a manner that would have shown everyone how big and burly my muscles are. Instead I was all fleeced and sweatshirted out, resembling something you might see on your television screen
on any given autumn Sunday afternoon – right about near the 40-yard line.

Finally we got it figured out and I had a great time at Step class, though I was half a step behind everybody else most of the time. It’s kind of like riding a bike – by the end of the class I was almost able to stay on beat. Bonus: my kids just hang out and play now while I exercise – no crying, no guilt.

But in order to make this worth my while I really need to start getting up at 5:00 and going to the gym before work. I just got a 3 month trial membership for now, because I have a feeling that three months of that just might be my limit – if I make it that long.

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Shannon said...

Funny, I am the same way. I used to teach exercise classes. Then I had kids who wanted no part of the health club babysitting. So I sporadically get into a routine of exercising that eventually falls off when our schedules change or something... wish I could stick with it more consistently.

Dorky Dad said...

Yup. We, too, found it difficult to keep up with our gym membership when we had a kid. But I'm not enough of a gym freak to get up at 5 a.m., kid or not. I'm lucky if I'm ASLEEP by then.

cce said...

You could do what I did and get a crazy dog that requires copious exercise regardless of temperatures or precipitation. Without her daily jog, the damn dog will eat the furniture and the rug and chew on the chair legs. So there's me, tearing around the block in January, temperature 16 degrees, I can barely move for all the outer-gear required, but it's exercise all the same.

kristi said...

Okay, so my scenario is freakishly similar to yours. I now have a 2yr old and 5mo old and try to go to the gym about 6am, after breastfeeding my daughter but before my husband leaves for work. Yeah, that usually doesn't happen. Instead I end up having to go at about 9pm after finally putting the kids to sleep and wishing I could just sink into bed myself. So, I've been thinking, maybe carrying an infant while chasing a toddler is a workout enough in itself and I should just cancel my membership altogether.