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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gym-Dandy? Not Very! (Part II of II)

Before I go ahead with today's blog entry, I just wanted to take the time to pay my respect to those who were killed or injured in the deadly double decker bus crash in Ottawa, Ontario yesterday morning. It was a devastating crash with at least six people dead and several others seriously injured, and I can't even imagine the terror that the people on the bus, as well as the people on the train that the bus collided with went through.

Ottawa is almost considered to be like a second home to me. I lived in that city for two years and loved every single minute of it. I rode on the OC Transpo buses almost daily when I did live in the city. Having a parent who worked for a railroad for over thirty years helped me understand railway crossing safety better than anyone else that I know. We don't know how the accident unfolded, and with the driver of the bus being one of the victims, we might never understand what happened. All I know is that my heart definitely goes out to the victims of the accident.

Now, when we last left off, I was doing a two-part blog entry. In the first part of the entry, I talked about my overall dislike of gym class, why I hated it, and why looking back on it all, they were just excuses that I had come up with to try and justify why I wasn't the most active kid in the world.

As we go ahead towards part two of this diary entry, I talk about how my general distaste for gym class affected me in my adult life...and how there's a certain kind of place that I am sort of nervous to venture into as a result of it. Not because of the things inside of it...but because of something else. It could very well be one of the most emotional things that I have ever revealed in this blog entry.

September 19, 2013

Okay, so where did I last leave off? Oh, yes. I remember now. I was making all sorts of excuses over why I was not the best student in any of my gym classes, and how those excuses seemed to give me a negative view on keeping fit while having fun.

Oh, dear lord...did I just channel Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod in this blog entry? Yikes.

Anyway, I have a bit of a confession to make that is related to the post that I made yesterday...and it is my hope that with this confession that I will be making that I will not only help people understand why my opinions of healthy wellness were always tinted in shades of self-loathing, but I also hope that with my confession, I start to understand myself a little better.

My confession is this.

You know all of those gyms that seem to pop up every so often? Be it a 24-Hour Fitness, or a GoodLife fitness club, or the gym at the YMCA, or a Bally's Total Fitness, or a Curves fitness club...they seem to be all over the place. Sign up today at one, and you can get right to work building your muscles and losing inches off of your waist, all while having fun doing it.

Would you believe that I've never set foot inside of a Curves gym? It's true. Of course, I suppose that the main reason is because it's a gym that only has female members.

But, here's the real confession. I've never been inside of a 24-Hour Fitness, a Bally's Total Fitness, a GoodLife Fitness, and the closest I ever got to the YMCA gym was when I had my birthday party at the YMCA when I turned eight years old. That's twenty-four years ago, people.

Truth be told, I'm afraid of going to a gym even though I have heard some people tell me that they are really fun places to go to and I can meet a whole lot of people there. The thought of even going inside the door makes my heart beat twice as fast, and I break out into a sweat even before I attempt to go on one of the various strength building machines scattered throughout the place.

But why would a bunch of machines cause me so much terror? Well, aside from not knowing how to use them, that is. And even so, I'm sure that most gyms would have people working there that would show you how to operate them so that you don't inadvertently become the next YouTube sensation.

I guess in some ways, it all boils down to the self-confidence that I still somewhat lack. I don't feel comfortable working out in front of other people in a gym setting.

Yes, I'm aware that a grade school gym class is way different than an adult gym where you see people running on treadmills and pedalling away on stationary exercise bikes. But I still feel like a fish out of water at places like a gym.

I'll put it out there. I'm a lot smaller than I was when I was in high school, but because of my surgery a couple of years ago, I've gained some weight back. And try as I might, I'm having a difficult time shedding the pounds the second time around.

I'm thinking to myself that enrolling at a gym would be a good step to try and tone up and lose some more weight. Not a fix all, end all solution, but a great asset. After all, you see people on “The Biggest Loser” and “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” working out on the show and getting amazing results. And yet, I can't bring myself to call up the number, pay the member activation fee, and work, work, work.

Sounds kind of strange, doesn't it? I'm someone who could benefit from working out at a gym, but yet I'm too chicken to go into one.

I guess there's that little part of me that thinks that I'm going to go in there, have no idea what I'm doing, and somehow end up being the butt of everyone's jokes...taking me back to the time in my life that I want desperately to forget.

It just sounds so incredibly silly for me to have these feelings of inadequacy when it comes to my health and how I look because I know that I have come a long way. I can do a 5K walk with absolutely no problems whatsoever (well, aside from overactive sweat glands which I wish I could do something about). I've participated in charity events in which I have had to do several endurance exercise activities and lived to tell the tale. And, would I have done an eight and a half mile circuit around a track at the Relay for Life back in June if I were as out of shape as I think I am? Of course not!

The truth is, I've overcome a lot of personal challenges in hopes of becoming a better, more active person. My childhood asthma is no longer as much of a hindrance as it was when I was a child, and I have actually found a way to make walking a lot more fun (mind you, it involves strapping on my fully-charged iPod).

I just have to try and find a way to translate that fun into working out at a gym.

But you know what? I've come to the conclusion that if I am really serious about making even more changes to my health and my wellness...I don't think I can do it on my own.

Remember how I told you yesterday about how I entered a weight loss competition at work, and I did especially well? That was only because I had a great group of people who really cared about me. They threw their love and support towards me. They made sure that I didn't eat or drink too much junk food, and they kept me motivated towards the goal. Granted, I came in second in the whole competition, but it was worth it because in the end, I was the healthiest I have ever felt.

I guess I need that support more than ever before in the next phase of my life. I guess I'm reaching out to everyone here, both in my real life, and to all of you who are reading this right now. I guess what I want to do is to feel more confident about myself. That ability has dwindled a bit since 2009, when I had my wake-up call. I guess what I need is people to continue to support me instead of tearing me down, and what I need is people to believe in me so that I can start to believe in myself again.

It's not going to be easy, but I think there's a way that I can become a better person than ever before. I just need help in making it happen.

So, who wants to help me pick out a gym and be my work-out buddy? I figure that my reluctance to drop trou in the locker room after a great workout will be lessened if I know someone who has my back will be there to support me in my goals.

As weird and strange as that sounds, believe me, it comes from the heart.

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