New Day, New Gym, New Beginning

I may have romanticized my gym time in the past. I had these lovely little memories of walking on the treadmill, sweat cutting white rivulets through my makeup, a nightclub DJ’s best songs pounding in my ears, a view of Harrah’s Casino and Canal Street looming over my right shoulder as I plodded away for 30-45 minutes per night. Those memories seemed sweet and sweetly distant. That was six years ago.

Over the weekend, I went to check out City Sports Club – a mega gym just 6 minutes from my office. When I learned of the gym from a coworker, I was astounded. How did a gym less than two miles from work escape my attention? My only explanation is that I wasn’t looking for a gym because I already had a membership (and unbreakable contract) with Anytime Fitness. Regardless, I started toying with the idea. I started reading online reviews, started talking the idea over with David. Would joining a second gym really be so crazy if I actually got some use out of it? Those who have been following my blog know my challenges. Anytime Fitness was great when I was working from home, but it was a frustrating and deterrent 45-minute drive in post-work commute traffic. Working out in the mornings wasn’t an option with my schedule so I made the best of the situation by making a home gym with a TRX and used rowing machine.

Working out at home wasn’t bad. It was extremely convenient in a lot of ways and it gave me a chance to work out with David and make it a bonding experience. But home workouts aren’t perfect. It’s very easy to get distracted (I mean, come on… the couch is right there!) Also, the cardio aspect of my workouts remained anemic as the budget rowing machine I found was noisy, clunky and discouragingly uncomfortable. Above all; however, I just missed the gym. I missed having that time when the workday disappeared and my mind was blank of everything but my workout. I missed the intensity afforded by the gym. I missed having a place that was just for working out, the focus that a designated exercise facility provided. After maybe a week of mulling it over, David and I drove over to City Sports Club on Saturday morning to investigate.

To say we were impressed is putting it mildly. I have belonged to nothing but small gyms – clean and convenient but not especially well-appointed. City Sports Club is massive and includes racquetball and basketball courts, group fitness and spin classes, a heated indoor swimming pool, separate men’s and women’s saunas and whirlpool spas, a large free weights area and row after row of treadmills, elliptical trainers, stair climbers, exercise bikes and weight lifting machines. And all this could be mine for just $24.99/month. Needless to say, I signed up on the spot and had been excited to resume gym workouts since Saturday.

citysports

Last night was my first workout. About 15 minutes into my 30-minute cardio session with sweat cutting white rivulets through my makeup, a nightclub DJ’s best songs pounding in my ears and a view of seemingly endless treadmills vanishing into the horizon over my right shoulder, I realized I may have romanticized my gym time in the past. This is hard! I was tired, achy, sweaty, breathing through my mouth to the point of panting (although, much to my surprise and delight, I didn’t have a single pop of my knee). As hard as it felt to push myself through those 30 minutes, resisting the urge to reduce the time or speed or incline, it was a delicious feeling to finish my workout. This morning, gym bag waiting in the car for day two, the memory of last night is sweet.

I feel this is a new beginning for me. This time, I am not trying to inspire anyone. I am not trying to prove anything. I am not focusing on how much weight I have lost. I am starting fresh, starting the way I started six years ago – hopeful but unproven, excited but slightly skeptical, standing on square one. Gone is the arrogance I was feeling at having lost (at one point) more than 100 pounds, the hubris of thinking I’m a success story when my story is as much about failure as it is about success, the braggadocio of believing I have all the answers and know what I’m doing. I have been humbled by the challenges of this journey, put in my place. I am a beginner again like so many other people. And that’s fine, that’s good because what is each new day but a chance for a new beginning? There’s no shame in starting over, no matter how many times you have to start over. Just do it – seize the opportunity to begin anew and see where it takes you.

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