I’ve started going to the gym, even though I profess to loath it. But here’s the thing. I woke up one morning and thought, “I can’t ‘feel’ myself. I don’t feel my muscles when I move, and I certainly don’t see them in the mirror. Instead I feel like a gumby doll, with better hair—and a muffin top.”
I sat on the edge of my bed, contemplating the non-existance of my quadraceps, and decided the need to feel strong had overpowered my need for shavasana—it was time to find my muscles again.
For the last few years, my exercise has been primarily through yoga. I love it because I’m left feeling blissful and calm but for whatever reason in my life right now, I want to feel powerful. Given that many of the strength moves in yoga are beyond attempt by a body bereft of biceps, triceps or anything ending in ‘ceps’, I decided to give the gym another go.
Where I live now, in the centre of an old colonial city in Mexico, there are a plethora of lovely yoga studios. On the other hand, the neighbourhood ‘gym’ often looks less inviting. I could drive 45 minutes north where many of the wealthy Meridanos and their hip offspring live, and pay $20 a visit to work out with the creme de la creme. Or I could walk two blocks to my own little zocalo at San Sebastian and work out under the rustling leaves and baking sun.
Undaunted, I decided I would try the ‘workout in the comfort of your own home’ approach, did some surfing and found the effervescent and exuberant ‘Sugar Pop’ and her series of YouTube Fitness videos. I thought I’d start off easy with the ‘Muffin Top be Damned’ and ‘Girls Got Guns’ series. My arms have always been somewhat more toned than the rest of me so I thought ‘Guns’ would be a cakewalk. Ms. Sugar started us off with 10 Tricep pushups and it was game over—I could not do one. I got down to the mat ok but then I couldn’t get back up. Pa-the-tic. Plus my dog thinks that if I’m working out on the mat, he has to join me, which breaks both my concentration and stoic disposition.
So here’s my new plan. Find a gym that isn’t outdoors (thereby avoiding the heat stroke equation), or in someone’s house (thereby avoiding any uncomfortable eye contact or unwanted pets), and that doesn’t break the bank. On top of that, I really need someone who feels as I do. I need a gym buddy, a ‘ratonito de gymnasio’… and I think I found one (he doesn’t say much but he’s inspiring).
But when all’s said and done, if I never get rid of the muffin top or lose those relentless 5 lbs that’s okay—because maybe happiness does weigh just a little bit more.
*I stole that line from Anne Lamott‘s ‘Crooked Little Friend’ because it is perfectly brilliant and oh so true. The only time I was a Size Zero was when I was depressed for a year after a break up, or going through chemo…I rest my case.