Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Where Everybody Knows Your Name...

(Now you have that song stuck in your head, don't you?)

Due to training outside the gym with Matt, I hadn't actually been to the gym since last Monday, but today I needed a non-running workout, so it was off to my Happy Place this morning.

I have a weird sort of love-hate relationship with my club. It's a much-maligned "box gym" chain (24 Hour Fitness), so you get all kinds of people with all kinds of attitudes towards working out in there. There's a lot of failure to re-rack weights, wipe down sweaty equipment, and, of course, my ongoing mini-war with the ladies of the Aqua Aerobics set.*

Yet, I kind of love it there. It took some time to feel comfortable, but these days, there are a lot of familiar faces. The super-fit woman I occasionally trade stories with. Henry, a 60-something man who spends about four hours every morning doing...not a whole lot, while greeting everyone with his cheerful, booming voice. Another lady, who once picked on my kettlebell swing/hinge form (I avoid her these days). The Aqua Aerobics lady who gets there early and weaves reusable bags out of plastic shopping bags in the locker room. It's an eclectic mix of people, and even if I never actually talk to some of them, there's a sense of, "You belong here. I belong here." Hell, even the lady who wraps the equipment in garbage bags before using it belongs.

Because I'm not the most social butterfly at my gym (though I've had many a long debate about the 49ers with Henry), and tend to get in my zone, I never really assume that anyone notices me, particularly. Sure, I occasionally catch a dude staring, and Ms. You Arch Your Back When Hinging obviously has too much time on her hands if she's critiquing me, but mostly, everyone seems to be in their zones, just as I it was surprising, today, when a woman I've barely ever noticed, turned to me when her trainer left to get a piece of equipment, and said, "You're here, like, every day, aren't you?"

"Me? Oh! Well, no, but a few days a week. It can seem like a lot, haha."

"You are so amazing! You work so hard and you're always getting it."

"Oh, thanks! Well, I lost a significant amount of weight, so it's worth it to me."

Her trainer had returned at this point. He's been there as long as I've been working out there regularly, and he knows I'm one of Matt's clients. As I started some step-ups, he chimed in, "How much weight did you lose overall?"

Well, here's a question I love to answer.

"Ninety...but I've gained about twenty back. I'm working on it!" The client's eyes widened. People are usually shocked, and unable to picture me being 70-90 pounds heavier than I am now. **

This exchange only lasted a few moments--before long, the trainer had the client putting on a weighted vest (I called out, "Work it, girl!" and we all laughed) and they were off on their routine while I did step-up exercises in all three planes of motion. ***

A few hours later, it's still sticking with me. I go to the gym (or, now, Matt's place) three days a week and put in a lot of effort. I don't do it for glory--I do it so I feel good in my body, and to avoid regressing to the health problems I used to have. I do it because it keeps me calm and focused. To find that people notice me, and are inspired by me, is flattering. While my biggest reason for getting certified is mostly to help myself, and I have a completely different career that I love and happen to be kinda good at, it's nice to think that someday, maybe, I'll help a friend or family member find the same sense of accomplishment in fitness that I have. Not necessarily "lose a ton of weight," but rather just feeling stronger, and having that confidence shine through in what they do.

Because there's just no feeling like loading 200 pounds onto the leg press machine, knowing that my legs, while short, can handle it. Badass looks good on me.

With the start of a new full-time job in four weeks, I'll no longer be able to work out in the mornings. In fact, I'll probably not see a lot of this particular club, as on Mondays, I'll likely use a club closer to work and Sac State, between the end of my work day and the start of Sac Choral rehearsal. Wednesdays and Fridays, I hope to continue training with Matt. Of course I'll adapt to this new routine, but I'm feeling a little sad to leave the eclectic, maddening, and entertaining bunch of people I've been surrounded by for the last four years of working out.

*To Matt last week: "They track water all over the locker room floor. I can't tell you how many times I've slipped. I haven't fallen--YET--but if I ever do, I'm taking someone out, seriously." To which he responded by laughing. Then we got into a conversation about the state of the toilets in both the men's and women's locker rooms and it was decided that there's no clear winner. They're both disgusting and people ought to be ashamed of themselves.

**Full disclosure: I weighed in today at about 150. I've been hovering there most of the last year, but the last couple months I'm noticing a bit of a slim-down because my summer eating habits are better and my summer workouts are longer. I've started to think that BMI be damned, my body is where it wants to be, but for pride's sake, I'd like to lose ten or so. 

***Frontal, Saggital, Transverse. Frontal is a regular ole step-up. Saggital is stepping up sideways. Transverse is starting facing front but turning sideways mid-step-up. Trainer Wannabe says, "I is learning." And yes, I'm showing off.

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