I hate working out at the gym. Sure, physical activity is totes not my jam but more than that I just hate the process of going to the gym. First of all, I have to find the closest location which a whole ordeal of an extensive Google search on its own then I have to pack a gym bag and find the appropriate sports bra. Which again- huge ordeal because here’s something you don’t realize until it’s too late: sports bras are expensive. Then I have to find a clean shirt cause mama sweats and seems to go through gym clothes like nobody’s business. Once I have finally located all the needed items (running shoes, lock, water bottle etc.) I make the trek down only to find that of course all the ellipticals are taken and of course only that goddamn StairMaster is available and of course it’s next to some perky go-getter with a shiny ponytail that I’d totally befriend IRL but at this moment as she runs on the treadmill with the ease of a gazelle, I kind of hate. So yah, no, gyms aren’t my favourite place to be.
In January, (in a fit of new years resolution optimism, high off the fumes of eggnog) I promised I would take better care of myself mentally and physically. I didn’t want to lose 10 pounds or get “muscle definition” or be “toned” (because I don’t actually know what any of those terms mean), I really just wanted to feel a sense of balance. I wanted to feel good about my life and my health. Logically, I bought a gym membership. My poor, gym membership pass now sits on my keychain, looking sharp, clean and crisp in comparison to my Menchie’s froyo rewards card beside it with a faded magnetic strip from overuse.
Sure, I get that post-gym rush of endorphins but just the idea of actually dragging myself to a gym and hating every single minute of it then showering only to find out, soaking wet that I forgot my towel has led me to believe that there must be a better option out there.
A friend of mine convinced me to buy a 10 class Groupon to one of the stripper pole exercise places a while back. I will admit to not fully being on board at first. I had always thought that these classes were kind of silly. I could see the value in the exercise but I’ve found the cliched notion of ‘releasing your inner sex kitten’ kind of eye roll inducing a la Liz Lemon. Reluctantly, I agreed to meet my friend at a class and reluctantly…I kind of liked it?
I’ve always found the gym to be really boring. If I am going alone, there’s no one to talk to and the for some unknown reason the televisions are ALWAYS set to Duck Dynasty and after a while, even my music is boring. But trying to master a move, learning a dance routine, trying to incorporate attitude into my workout is always a challenge that keeps me thinking and it’s actually fun. Guys: pole dancing is fun. And fun = I want to do it.
Here is the solution to my workout issues: fun. I realized that I was never going to set up a habit for myself if I felt like there was nothing in it for me. Enjoying my workout was key in making me actually get up and do it. I once worked with someone who was always onto the next workout fad. Last I spoke to her, she was trying out the “caveman workout” (I suspect lots of clubbing movements?). If it promised to build a great butt or arms, she was on top of that. And it worked for her but the idea of cross fitting until I want to vomit is so not up my alley. To develop a routine that gets me in the right place, the place I want to be in, I need tolike it. I don’t think I am alone here.
Since testing out some pole dancing, I’ve tried a ballet-cardio mix, aerial yoga, burlesque and even twerking (which I may or may not obsessively practice in the bathroom mirror). I’ll even count an hour or two of solid Just Dance Wii time at home as a good workout. Indoor lap swimming in Toronto is an amazing way to keep your body moving on the cheap. Once spring hits, I might even attempt a light jog/walk with my iPod. Though the accountability of a gym pass might be the key to work outs for some, cooped up inside a stale gym just doesn’t work for my personality.
The idea of just getting up, going and moving my limbs on a regular basis has been enough for me. I won’t be competing in any triathlons soon but that was never my goal. Being a writer means hours spent hunched over a computer screen. I wanted to feel better, healthier, more active and balanced and incorporating an alternative to the monotony of the gym let me do this but also helped me to keep going on this path.
Bonus: pole dancing can be done barefoot and I’ve even done it in a regular bra (!!!!!!). Which means a. saving money b. I don’t get flattened sports bra boob syndrome.