So, for the past three weeks, I’ve been making time to do exercise every day. If you know me or have read previous posts, you know I am not a big exercise fanatic, so this is somewhat of a large change in my usual routine. Whether it be a few miles of (slow, labored) jogging on the treadmill or an hour of spin at the local Y in my town, I’ve been dedicated and unrelenting (and sweating like a you-know-what in church!).
The only problem? I am an admitted “wanderer” at my gym. Once I’m done with cardio, I stare longingly into the weight-lifting area. Sometimes I even walk through it, searching aimlessly, and for what feels like forever, as I wager with myself about whether or not I should try one of the machines. “But Margo,” my brain whispers with an evil hiss, “they’re all looking at you. And they KNOW that you don’t know what you are doing. THEY KNOW!!!”
Realistically, I realize that this is not true. I realize that the awesome men and women, ranging from age 18 to age 80, working hard to improve themselves, could not care less about me and my uncool mom-yoga pants or what the heck I am doing. Still, I have had a hard time getting that evil hiss out of my head. If you feel the way I do, then you know what I am talking about here.
However, something magical happened on Thursday night of last week. My friend Summer offered to meet me at the gym at 6 pm after work even though she had already gotten her work-out in that morning at 5:30 am. “What do you plan to do at the gym today?” She asked me by text at 10 am when I told her I was planning to go. I replied, “Oh, you know, probably being weird and wandering around like an idiot after running for two miles. Just kidding, I think legs and butt.” But, I wasn’t kidding. I did want to do legs and butt, but my friends, I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW HOW.
There is Summer on the right. She even looks like a great friend, right?!
As someone who grew up playing a multitude of competitive sports, including lacrosse, basketball and volleyball, I am ashamed to admit this fact, but it’s true. Coach Best, if you are reading this, please know my lack of memory in weight-lifting is not a poor reflection on your stellar training. You are amazing. Me, however? I am a 30-something with a limited capacity to remember things I haven’t done for like 15 years.
Anyway, back to the magical thing that happened. So, Summer met me at the gym. I had just finished running on the treadmill, and she said, “Where to?” I think my blank stare was enough to clue her in that I really, truly, did not know what I was doing. She very kindly asked, “Want to see what I do on leg day?” What followed was a game changer. She showed me how to use the machines, how to adjust them to fit my height and leg length and comfort. She showed me how to change position to work different muscles. I left there and went home and felt like, for the first time in YEARS, I had gotten in a REAL work out. My legs were burning that good burn that tells you, “You did work, girl!!”
You might be thinking, “But Margo, if you knew you had this problem, why didn’t you buy a few personal training sessions at your gym?” The answer to this is a complicated one, but it boils down to the fact that I was embarrassed, and did not want to admit to myself that I needed help. So, insert here a wonderful, good friend, who, without judgement or even acknowledgement, rescues me from myself. Without admitting that she didn’t want to go to the gym for a second time that day, she pretended to go for herself, when she was really there to help me because I needed help and wasn’t doing a good job of asking for it.
That, dear readers, is a GREAT friend.
So, what’s the lesson? I’m not really sure… Maybe the lesson is to ask for help when you need it. Maybe the lesson is to sign up for a few personal training sessions when you join a gym. Maybe the lesson is that no one actually was staring at me in the weight area (evidenced by the fact that no one noticed/commented that I had a hole in my pants that I found when I got home. At least it was better than the time I gave an entire presentation with baby spit-up down the back of my suit-jacket.) Or maybe the lesson is to surround yourself with wonderful friends who will do kind things for you without even making you feel like they are helping you or asking for acknowledgement.
Maybe all of the above? I’m not totally sure. But, what I do know, is that I am grateful. And my tooshie hurts – that wonderful burn that lets you know you are alive and putting in good work!!
This used to be me on the right
Your imperfect friend,