So, I hate sweating. Sweating, as in the moisture one creates while exerting oneself. On those extra warm days we had in the summer, I hesitated to go out because, you know, it was WARM. And SUNNY. And the possibility of breaking a sweat grossed me out. No thank you, beautiful summer day. I’m going to stay indoors and remain completely immobile and moisture-free.
This was part of the reason why I moved to Portland. I like to live in environments where forest slugs can grow to the circumference of my wrist. During the summer, I did get out of the house on cooler days, walking in our neighborhood, taking the boys to the park, stopping by the grocery store, etc. Going for walks was one of the few, meager, paltry ways I’d get any exercise. Unless you count hefting the boys around the house and throwing out my back.
Exercise. That’s where I’m going with this. I’m not into it. I think exercise sucks. I like going to walks. I (usually) like going for hikes. I like doing things that are active, but are tangentially exercise. If you say to me, “Hey, let’s go do something fun that requires movement,” I’ll be into it. But if you say “Hey, let’s go exercise!” I’d reply “Fuck you, jerkface.”
Deliberate exercise just bugs me. There’s no way it’s not a total chore. I have joined gyms in the past, and I fought epic battles with myself to schlep my ass into those places. Oh, the elaborate reasons not to go. Comfy couch. Interesting TV. Hard day at work. I didn’t sleep well. My arm itches.
Right? But here’s the thing: I was overjoyed after working out. It was the best thing ever. I felt like a million bucks. I’d be so psyched that I pushed myself to go. I felt victorious and righteous and insufferable. Until the next day, when it was time to go to the gym again. Christ, again? Really?
Though I’ve joined gyms in the past, I’m not a gym aficionado. I creep around the outside of the room, and spy an open cardio machine. Then I’d get on, usually a bike, and zone out for half an hour. And I would sweat. I would sweat, sweat, sweat. And I’d turn bright red, as though my face would explode. I got gritty salt deposits in my eyebrows. Sexy, no?
But sitting on a bike in a gym is actually one of the few times where I was cool with sweating. I wore appropriate clothes. I knew I’d shower the instant I got home. I didn’t mind that I’d pedal, pedal, pedal and every part of me would be soaked. My scalp would sweat. The goddamn back of my knees would sweat.
I never had an agenda or a routine. Just half an hour to forty five minutes on a cardio machine. It was cool if I lost weight. But really, I just didn’t want to be embarrassed to huff and puff up a flight of stairs. I never used any of the other weight machines. I was intimidated and felt like a goof ball. And I didn’t want to have to think too hard.
So. Internet. This is where I am. Winter is upon us, and it’s harder now to get out for walks. The tiny amount of exercise I was getting has now almost disappeared. I can’t sit on my ass for the next six months. I have to do something. I have to fucking exercise. Gah.
I checked out a couple gyms near our house. One, a huge corporate chain. Another, a small new franchise I could walk to. The huge corporate chain is exactly what you’d expect. Dozens of cardio machines and treadmills. Dozens of weight machines. Fitness classes. A pool, even. I do like to swim, not that I know actual strokes. I told the gymdude I’d probably mostly use the cardio machines, and he tried to dissuade me. He said the real results for women come from using the weight machines, and they’d be happy to show them all to me for an extra $300.
The smaller gym near our house was probably 20% of the size. They had all the cardio stuff, then a few big contraptions with cables and pulleys. I guess those machines convert into different things, so you can work our all your various parts in one place. They looked impossibly confounding. But I’d be willing to look them up and see if I could figure them out. The tiny gym had one person in there working out while I was there.
So I’m thinking about all this. But wait, there’s also yoga, which I have tried a few times. I love the idea of yoga. I like the idea of getting good at it and maybe even practicing at home. I know many smart, thoughtful people who are really into yoga. I’d like to be like them!
But holy crap, I don’t know if there’s a class that is beginner enough for me. Like my history with gyms, I’ve also tried going to yoga a few times. Absolute beginner classes. I didn’t know you were supposed to take your socks off. And after those super beginner classes, where I still felt way over my head, I was sore in ways I have never been sore in my life. Muscles I never knew I had felt like poisonous green taffy. I was immovably sore for days after those super beginner yoga classes.
Great, right? I should have kept going. But those ultra beginner classes were introductory only. After that one class, I was released into the usual “beginner” yoga population. I tried one class. It was full of slim, glossy, lithe people. I felt like I sucked. I had to resort to child’s pose while everyone else was doing all their beginner yoga poses. Gah.
The other issue with trying to do yoga, is trying to coordinate childcare during class times. I have a childcare issue no matter what I decide to do. But I can probably get someone to come a couple times a week for an hour or two. And I can go on the weekend. That’s my plan, anyway. A couple hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and a weekend day. I need some goddamned time to myself. For fuck’s sake.
What should I do? No seriously internet, what should I do? Big corporate gym with a pool and stuff? Little intimate gym walking distance to my house? Try to find super beginner yoga classes? Tune up my bike and ride in the rain? Don’t tell me to jog or run, because I have fallen arches and it takes about ten minutes for me to feel like my skeleton is breaking through the bottom of my feet.
I want to do something. Something that doesn’t suck. Something I’ll enjoy and stick to.
Internet, tell me what to do.