I seem to have a secret love affair that flairs up every few months for just a short period of time, and seemingly dies out as quickly as it started. This is my passionate affair with exercise.I have never been a gym rat. I could never get the motivation to go continuously for more than 1 or 2 months at a time. I’d often try, get on a kick and do really well, and then one day a tub of ice cream and an airing of “My Best Friend’s Wedding” on daytime television was all it took to start that downward trend of, “Well, maybe just today I’ll sit today out. There’s always tomorrow.”
In college I’d borrow my roommates bike and head down the trail on the Mississippi River. Or, when she wanted to use her own bike, I’d even venture to the gym and spend 30 minutes on the elliptical watching “The Ellen Show” and try some rounds at weights, never fully understanding the impact they had on my body. I lived in New York for 3 years, always paying for the NYSC a few blocks up the road, but only for a few random spurts was I motivated enough to go.
Then suddenly, after I moved to Paraguay I found myself craving exercise. Almost desperate for it. I drove around a few evenings after work with my colleagues to find a decent gym around my house, which I never seemed to be able to find. I couldn’t imagine paying to work out in someone’s sweaty attic with broken down machinery, or to sweat it out in summer heat at a gym that was not fully enclosed. Not to mention a lot of places didn’t seem to have air conditioning or proper ventilation.
So I took to the streets. Literally. Having never run in my life, I put on my sneakers, hid my iPod from sight, and stepped outside of my house in the centro. Feeling nervous and exhilarated – first for having never run, and second for fear of the prejudice of the people I would run past – I hit the pavement in a moderate jog.I ran down the avenue and around a corner until I could no longer catch my breath and looked at my watch elated when I realized I had run a full 10 minutes without stopping! 10 minutes! I think back to those days now and smile because I remember how exciting it was to realize I could test my body in that way, and also to remember how it felt for 10 minutes to be a good amount of run time before taking a break!
So here I am in Berlin with almost no exercise to my name. Well, I did spend a good part of the month of May and a little bit of June running around the park in Friedrichschain feeling proud. And then there was the 10 day pass to Bikram Yoga which had me feeling invincible when I walked out of the studio. And I guess I can’t discredit the 20 minute bike rides to and from work every day when it wasn’t raining out. But really I spent a good portion of 10 months not focusing on my body or exercise at all.
And so in early December, I joined a gym. And here I am again, trying a
n old new experiment to get myself back in shape and working towards a healthy lifestyle.