Thursday, February 28, 2013

Welcome to the Dark Side

I have completed 8 workouts now in less than 2 weeks.  Typically this would take me at least a month to do.  I am no longer dying during my workouts which is really quite nice.  I'm working harder and hurting less.  For example when I cycle 10km in 23 minutes I still drip tonnes of sweat because I'm working hard, but I am no longer gasping for air (I breathe heavy and deep, but steady) and my butt has gotten used to the bike seat.  Or when I run or elliptical I can go for longer and my heart is not bursting out of my chest.  My body gives out from discomfort from the jostling before my heart and lungs do most of the time.  This is great news!  It also means that I need to workout longer in order to push myself the same way I did a week and a half ago.  Ugh!  I never thought I'd be at the gym, complete a workout, and say "I think I will go do 'x' because it doesn't feel like I've done enough yet".  I've crossed over to the dark side.

I had a conversation with a co-worker yesterday about her embarrassment of going to the gym because she felt like everyone was watching her.  I asked her if she spends her time at the gym watching other people (because I honestly thought she would say "no").  She replied with a laugh that of course she watches other people at the gym and that in her mind she admires the ones who are doing well and pokes fun at the ones who are not.  She did not want to be critiqued by others like she does to them.  Before I could think and respond with compassion I blurted out "If you are spending that much time watching and judging others than you must not be working out hard enough!"  Let me just stuff my foot back into my mouth because although I believe this to be true it wasn't very supportive to say.

When you are at the gym and working hard - full effort - are you able to watch other people and judge their efforts?  I certainly cannot.  All I can think about is getting through the next minute or next set.  Between workouts I do look around at people and admire those that are doing things I can't imagine doing.  I see people that are struggling and think "Good for you for being here and trying".  My mind rewards effort regardless of ability.

However, my mind has started to despise people that are just taking up space.  If I am cycling like crazy and dripping with sweat and you are across from me (the bikes are lined up face-to-face) reading a magazine or sitting up not holding onto the handlebars because you are going so slow you don't need to grip something, you have a smile on your face, your mouth is closed because you are not sucking in air, then I do judge you. I think "why the hell are you here?"

Do you look like you are ready for a photo shoot when you are done like this?

Or are you riding like this?

What is the point of coming to a gym to workout to just go through the motions?  Why are you standing on the floor next to your friend who is doing the elliptical so you can chat for 20 minutes, but you don't hop onto the empty elliptical next to her?  You are just taking up space using a machine that I could benefit from using to get in an actual workout to achieve actual results.  I suspect I will not see you at the gym next month because you will see that your efforts are pointless and stop coming.  Again, I am crossing over into the dark side.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Amber! Well, this is not as "dark" as I first imagined! I personally remember being size 18 in the gym and how much harder every it is to do the same exercise as the person next to you that is slimmer. Heavier people work much harder when they exercise than slimmer people do. I know that from my own experience of being both heavier and slimmer. So I honestly could not make fun of heavier people who exercise.

    Anyone who is exercising is doing better than those who don't exercise. But then, there is a major difference between those who try very hard and those who don't. I personally like to do my best because of pride. I really don't understand why people wouldn't try their best--don't they have as much pride in themselves as I do?! As you do, Amber?

    I would take a picture with the cute smile, I think. And *also* the picture as a gym monster. I think I am like both. I'm not a drama queen in the gym--at least as much as I could be. I don't sweat very much, and I don't grimace very much either. Sometimes, I put a cute smile on my face when I do heavy weightlifting because I know it might irritate a very loud grunty weightlifting guy who is watching. Hehe.:D

    :-) Marion