I am a person that can pretty much do anything I set my mind to do. I wanted to go back to school. I did so. I wanted to travel to a foreign country. I did so. I wanted to run a half-marathon. I ran four. I wanted to get a master’s degree. I have one and am working on another one.
I walk into a weight room, though, and I am as lost as an one-legged man in a potato sack race. I have no clue what to do. Running is easy. One foot in front of another. I read some books about training. I had my feet fitted for running shoes and off I went. Weight-lifting is hard. There are so many choices, and so many ways to fail. I look, get overwhelmed, and off I go to the dreadmill or the spin bike.
In my head, I hear that voice I thought I had erased. The one that tells me I am too stupid, too ugly, too imperfect to even try at anything. I erased that voice a couple of years ago with some hard therapy and a great break-up. It comes back when I enter the gym. At first, it’s a whisper. “Kristi, you tripped over soccer balls. You can’t do this.” I tell my inner critic that I ran four half marathons. The whisper gets louder as it responds, “Yeah but they were only halfs. You had to hire a running coach, and you fucked your leg up.” Sometimes I remind the voice that I have done spin classes, bootcamp classes, and aerial yoga. Sometimes, I just give in and hop on the dread mill.
Last summer, I told my doctor that I could not lose weight. It was not one of those “I ate really well for two days and walked on the treadmill” couldn’t lose weight either. Instead, it was “I work out two times a day at my fitness studio. I run three times a week. I barely eat. Nothing is happening.” My doctor just shook her head at me and told me welcome to middle age. She said I had to start lifting weights. My stomach knotted with anxiety immediately.
I came home and started at my collection of weights. I picked up my kettlebell and did some squats. My cat walked between my legs and yawned at me. One of my kids came in and told me not to drop it on my foot. I ran to get away from all of that. Weightlifting was never going to work. I hated one of the gyms in town, and the other gym was cross-fit. There was no way I was pushing tires anywhere.
Then, I found out one of my old trainers was now a free agent. And there I went. It was hard. Really hard. That voice inside me told me that I would never get muscles. I would never be able to lift anything. I could hear it say that I was too small, too weak, too delicate to do anything with weights. I kicked that fucking voice into the stratosphere last week.
I did my first box jumps ever. I squatted with a weight bar. I dead-lifted with weights on the bar. I fucking owned it. I sweated the whole thing at first. I had to just blank out and stop thinking but I did it. I did it because I have a trainer that believes in me. He pushes me. And, when he is not able to train with me, the other trainer at his gym is right there making me do hamstring curls. There is no option to quit. There is no option to fail. The only option is to do my best.
I still have no bloody idea what to do when I walk into a weight lifting room. Now, they have pinterest with a million ideas and apps that will tell me. I’ve read several books. I still like to work out with my trainer. If it is up to me, I will half-heartedly do some curls with ten pound weights, decide that I am scared of the squat machine, and jump on the bike.
Now I belong to two gyms. It is ridiculous. My six year old self that was tripping over soccer balls is amazed. My teenage self that almost failed college tennis is scowling at me. I love it. One of them has me lifting like a beast, and the other has me climbing into hammocks for aerial yoga. I love them both. They both challenge me to push my boundaries. They break the monotony of my life. They nuture my soul and my physical body. They keep me from falling into a pit of darkness or screaming my rage at innocent people. They help me direct my energy into physical outlets. The best part of belonging to two gyms is that I have new members for my tribe that kick ass. Literally kick ass. I just kick ass verbally so it’s great to have them on my side.