I am not goal-oriented. I don’t like to count steps, track progress or try to outdo yesterday’s performance. But I am a bit of a gym rat.

People often say things like:  You’re so good! Always going to the gym. You have the sports gene. I wish I had your self-discipline!

No, non, nein. I shake my head. Because it’s simply not true. I am not that person, the one with no bodyfat who runs marathons or even 10 k’s. I’m carrying at least 5 kg in excess weight and sometimes my creaky joints hurt and I struggle to get up from a deep knee bend.

But here’s the thing: I like to exercise. It feels so good to sweat, move my body, stay strong. And for some reason, I’ve always been able to do these things most efficiently, and with the greatest pleasure, indoors.

Don’t get me wrong: I love being outside. Especially at this time of year, when nature is thrumming at full speed. The birds are chirping a songfest and the sun is stretching out our days by the hour. But that’s the whole problem: there are too many distractions outside. I enjoy walking, sometimes even jogging a bit; most of all I like to stop and smell the roses as it were, not focus on how fast I’m going or for how long.

At the fitness centre I can plug in my airpods, pump up the volume on some upbeat sounds and lose myself. There is an anonymity to gyms that I like. It doesn’t matter that I don’t speak the language – hardly anyone talks to me unless I go to a class (rare). I’m very fussy about exercise classes. They have to have good music, easy-to-follow choreography and be just challenging enough to get into the zone. Too hard and I jump ship; too slow and I feel like I’m wasting my time.

Once upon a time I was a volunteer fitness instructor. Before we moved to France, I completed teacher training at the YMCA in Toronto and taught a class on the schedule for several months. I did the early slot: 7:00 or 8:00 am classes. Which I loved. Mornings are my moving time. Basically if I haven’t done by noon, it’s probably not going to happen.

I guess the gym is my happy place. It was where I met my husband in Toronto some three decades ago. Over the years we’ve both continued to enjoy working out at various fitness centres. And now that we are free to go back and sweat without masks again, it’s a welcome excuse to get out of the house. (Fully vaxxed, boosted and recovered from Covid).

So although I’m not big on ‘ziel’ (German for goals), I’ve found my zeal for the gym again.

By the way, this song had me bopping on the elliptical like a teenager yesterday.

Do you like to get moving? Are you an outdoor spirit or a gym rat or, like me, a bit of both?


  1. margaret21 · March 24, 2022

    Nah. Can’t do gyms. Everyone’s too young and beautiful. And I get bored very easily by the repetitious nature of it all. Anyway, the Great Outdoors is free. I rest my case.

    • MELewis · March 24, 2022

      It’s funny — people really do seem to be in two camps on the gym vs outdoors. Enjoying the great outdoors for free sounds good — as long as you have the weather for it! As for the youth culture, I must say it doesn’t bother me and most of the time I am in the company of many elders at the fitness club. Perhaps the morning attract fewer of the younger crowd. In any case, whatever works!

      • margaret21 · March 24, 2022

        Quite, each to her/his own.

    • acflory · March 24, 2022

      lol – high five! The boredom gets to me too.

      • margaret21 · March 24, 2022

        We can lurk in the adjacent coffee shop maybe? 😉

      • acflory · March 25, 2022

        -giggles- Yes! That’s much more my style. 😀

      • margaret21 · March 25, 2022


      • MELewis · March 25, 2022

        That would be fun! Meet you two for a coffee after my workout! 🤩🤩

      • margaret21 · March 25, 2022

        It’s a deal!

  2. Ally Bean · March 24, 2022

    I’m not a fan of gyms. There’s too much movement and noise going on around me. It makes me queasy. I much prefer to go for a walk outside, but this means I am dependent on weather conditions.

    • MELewis · March 24, 2022

      I hear you! That weather-dependent thing really does create a problem for me, though, as I can’t take too much sun and the winter months are often just too cold and wet. Good to get out whenever you can. Went for a walk today and soaked up the lovely weather with a nice cool breeze!

  3. acflory · March 24, 2022

    You remind me a lot of my sister-in-law, Mel. She’s a bit of a ‘gym rat’ too. Me, I prefer to be outside doing physical work that also burns some calories. I get very zen out there. lol

    • MELewis · March 25, 2022

      Keeping fit while also getting things done? I wish I had the focus. Finding your zen is important too, and I can totally relate to the outdoors for that. The important thing is to keep moving, n’est-ce pas? 😌

      • acflory · March 25, 2022

        Bien sur! My Dad was a demon for staying fit and he had a long and contented life. 🙂

      • MELewis · March 29, 2022

        My Dad too! 90 this year and he still goes windsurfing.💪

      • acflory · March 29, 2022

        Bloody hell! Go Mel’s Dad. 😀 That is incredible.

  4. Colin Bisset · March 25, 2022

    I was never a gym bunny and organised anything tends to put me off but there was a time when I wished I was one of ‘those’ people who could pull off his tee shirt and say: no, really, I was just born like this. 😁 Give me a path to walk and I’m happy, creaky knees and all.

    • MELewis · March 29, 2022

      It’s nice to be able to look back on our ‘old’ selves and enjoy the way we were, even if the current reality is creaky knees! Walking really is good for body and soul, so keep looking for new paths. 😊

  5. Vanessa in France · March 27, 2022

    I’ve never entered a gym in my life! But I do like walking, tennis and yoga. For the first two, of course, one is at the mercy of the weather. I’ve been getting a good workout in the garden the past few days, too. I admire your dedication.

    • MELewis · March 29, 2022

      Thanks! Staying busy in the garden is a great way to stay in shape. We’ve had absolutely gorgeous weather for the past week and if it stayed this way I might never need the gym. But the rain (and apparently some snow – yikes) is coming and that is much less pleasant for outdoor activities, however much we need it.

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