Here’s a little secret: I hate the gym. It’s full of sweat, humidity and dirty towels. Though what I loathe the most about the gym most is exercising in public.
Of course, I’ve found some loopholes to help conquer my so-called hatred of the gym—all I need to do is to go with someone. But this year, after reconsidering my goals and starting this blog, I decided to make a pact to be more independent, especially when it comes to getting active.
Last week, I went to the Athletic Centre to drop in on a spinning class that a friend was teaching. I decided to go not only to support her new job, but also because having her by my side supported me getting into the groove of getting active.
This week, I planned to go to the Hart House gym. Alone. There would be no one by my side, or motivating me to show up. Of course, there were a few moments last week when I considered putting off my plans to go to the gym. After finishing my last class on Tuesday, I went to my room to collapse; I was so tired! As I was lying in bed, I realized that going to the gym could at least re-energize me. I reminded myself that you never regret going to the gym, you only regret not going. So I grabbed my backpack, my towel, and my water bottle, and headed to Hart House.
Since I have used the facilities of the Hart House gym only a couple of times, I decided to become reacquainted with it. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to conquer every corner of the gym on my first trip, so I came in with a plan:
-Focus on strength, and go to the weight room
-Check out the exercise machines for cardio
-Own that sweat!
I think of Hart House as Hogwarts; there are stairs everywhere. It’s a maze of a building with a thousand stairs—I wouldn’t be surprised if I got most of my exercise going up and down the countless flights of stairs trying to find my way to the weight room. But luckily I found it, full of beautifully-toned people lifting weights flawlessly. And then there was me, struggling to lift a five-pound dumbbell. Though there was a kind stranger who helped me with my deadlifts and gave me advice on correcting my technique. What can I say? I tend to slouch a lot. But the stranger’s insight did help!.
After doing my reps, I decided to head to the track area, where I went straight to the exercise machines. Even though I like to think that I’m adventurous, I still avoid one machine that everyone else appears to love: the treadmill. It’s like a non-stop conveyor belt for your feet and that scares me.
It was the elliptical for me, and I ended up getting my heart rate up on it for more than 40 minutes. Back at home, my family had an elliptical in the basement. During high school, every time I was stressed I would just go downstairs and hop on the machine for a run. And I think the stamina I had back then has stuck with me, which makes me feel really hopeful! I was able to run non-stop, pick up my pace, and get off the machine out of breath, and more relaxed than ever.
Overall, my gym experience wasn’t so frightening. I’m not sure what surprised me more: that my insecurity over exercising in public has lessened since I’ve set these new goals, or that I actually followed through with my plans. I’m serious; I actually got out of my bed to go to the gym, alone, with only my motivation to keep up with my goals. Of course, my body was sore afterwards, but I didn’t regret it. And I know cliché sayings are eye-roll worthy, but someone told me this the other day, and I think it’s kind of relevant: better to be sore than sorry.