So, I am one month into my new life of fitness. That's not to say I've gone every day or anything, but I have gone half the days. I want to write about the gym in an effort to dispel the myths and alleviate the fears of those who read. I've wanted to join a gym for many, many years, but have always talked myself out of it, or let it "slip my mind". It's intimidating. But, guess what: It's not so bad! Below is a list of things to know about health club culture, from someone who gathers information like a paranoid anthropologist.
1) No one is paying any attention to you. And if they are, it's because they're probably attracted to you, not because they think you're lame or skinny or ugly or wearing stupid shoes.
2) Working out is not an athletic endeavor! It's easier, it's slower, and no one will expect you to catch anything! No teams, no score keeping, and you make the rules! Why do you think so many gay men hit the gym so hard - It's because they get the machismo points and participate in something that isn't a garden party. It makes our fathers proud!
3) The locker room is a bit weird, sure. But if you shower at home and avoid that walking-around-stark-naked thing, you'll be fine! Avoid starting at those who are stark naked.
4) I take it all very slowly. If there's a machine I want to try, but don't know where to start, I carefully watch people to figure it out. Remember: We are not supposed to know how to use weight machines or cardio equipment. Even though some of the super-fit people strut around like they had a Stairmaster© in the womb, they didn't, and they were once a tiny child with the arms of a teenage girl. Be proud of your efforts and look forward to the day you can intimidate others!
After one little month, I'm starting to see the smallest insinuation of results. My friend Nick said of working out: "As soon as you start, when you look in the mirror you notice the good stuff, instead of the bad." It's a complete mental shift. You ignore the bits that bother you and start focusing on the tiny changes, the hint of a line (or is that a bruise?), the mere suggestion of a muscle growing in your 13 year old girl arms. It's fantastic!