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?