Shrewd Foodie Story: I Quit The Gym and….

Exercise, working out, burning calories…however we refer to it, we all know it’s important to stay physically active not just for our physical well being, but for our mental well being as well. We all should learn from my father who was active until he was 80, that staying physically fit is one of the best gifts you can give yourself throughout your entire life. I wish I could wake up every morning excited to jump out of bed and run 4 miles like he did at my age. I wish that I could find a yoga mat that was super thick so that my headstands won’t hurt so much. I wish that I had better rhythm so I could stand closer to the front of my Zumba class and not be embarrassed. I wish I liked working out. Actually, it’s not really working out that I mind, it’s GETTING TO THE GYM that I really hate.

I work a full-time job close to home but hardly have time to squeeze in a morning exercise for myself because when I am asleep, I love to stay asleep and not wake up early to “get that workout in”. Sound familiar? Sometimes I see exercise as something I should adequately plan for -which is certainly not my strong suit! Someone once told me that if I laid out my next day’s workout clothes before I went to bed at night, I would be more likely to get up and hit the gym! How do you think that turned out?… Well, not great. After I’d get dressed in my workout clothes, I would start to question whether working out at the gym was the best workout for me. I’d think to myself, maybe it’s a better day to play tennis or take a run around the neighborhood- or even maybe it’s a good day to bike… What was I doing????!!!! Coming up with more ways to NOT get to the gym?! Then I’d feel guilty that I questioned my gym’s awesomeness, which then led me to overthink what the absolute best workout for me would be for the day. In short, my racing mind pulled me away from actually getting to the gym, or just out the door for that matter! 

But why? 

The classes they offered at the gym were so much fun when I took them, and once I was there I felt very comfortable like I really did belong. But GETTING to the gym seemed to be my weakness. I even started calling my friends to make a plan to meet outside the locker room so that I was “accountable”. That never worked out either and I just became the person who not only disappointed myself but also disappointed others. This was spiraling downhill fast. I was losing muscle tone, interest, and money!

After about 8 months of not entering the gym once, and exhausting all reasons to stay a member of the nicest gym in long Island NY, I decided to save $200 a month and finally quit the gym.

Now What!?!

I had no place to work out now…well not, NO place, just no place that was as nice as the old fancy-ass gym that I guess I took for granted. I missed that gym!

I missed the nice towels that were always clean and lined up so neatly. I missed deciding which classes to take on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. 

I missed mixing up spinning with barre, yoga, dance jam, and my elliptical as my go-to’s. 

I missed the feeling of sweat running down my cherry red face after what felt like the best dance club party with sneakers on! 

I missed saying “Hi” and chatting with old friends who like me, love, to be social and sweaty at the same time. 

I missed the collective feeling of annoyance when the instructor would scream out, “10 more!” when my ab muscles were already at maximum capacity but muddled through it anyway. 

I missed the lavender-scented hallway where the yoga studio was off to the quietest part of the gym so we could meditate peacefully during savasana.

I had feelings come upon me like, “OMG what did I do?… How will I ever find a gym I love as much as this gym?… How will I ever be able to stay in shape into my 50’s and beyond now?” ….as obvious thoughts of rejoining the gym came to my mind, there were news reports that made my thoughts come to a screeching halt… Coronavirus hit the New York City region and Governor Cuomo was mandating that all gyms would be closing immediately! If that wasn’t a sign, I don’t know what it is! 

I began to search for classes online that my friends and sister suggested I try. Some cool yoga classes as well as Zumba, step, meditation, pilates, core, butt, and quad classes were easily enjoyed, and working out with lightweight and resistance training became fun again! My favorite class is the one my ex-yoga instructor teaches a few times a day from her hot yoga studio from a few towns away on Facebook Live. 

All of a sudden, I began to feel happier, and see a difference in my muscle tone that I hadn’t seen for so many months. My mindset was healthier too! I didn’t guilt my way into the den at 7:30 am for a class I was barely interested in, I excitedly joined classes with strangers, some in different languages with different specialties and with different music. I work out now without force most mornings, but sometimes I work out after I’m done with work before I start making dinner. There’s no traffic to fight, and if I don’t like the class I simply change to a different one on YouTube!  I am finally having fun, taking great classes, and enjoying the life of someone whom I used to know….me!