I canceled my gym membership….
And ooooooh it felt good!
Sorry, not sorry.
I used to make myself go to the gym. You see that word? MAKE myself.
Now, there was a spell of time when I thoroughly enjoyed my gym jaunts, but after a while my routine got stale and my energy level dropped from a 10 to a 1.5 as soon as I pulled into the parking lot.
I found myself going just so I could say out loud (to other people), “At least I went!” I’d lazily hop on the treadmill, turn on the T.V. and count down the minutes in 30-second increments. “Twenty minutes… that SOUNDS like enough time if someone were to ask, right?”
Now, before we go any further here. Do NOT get me wrong – moving your body at all, in any way (anywhere!), is better than not moving – 100% of the time, or at least when you’re not ill or your body otherwise demands that you rest.
But when daily movement feels forced and you’re not enjoying yourself at all… it can feel like utter torture, am I right?
This is how I really knew it was time to throw in my gym towel. I even found my anxiety bubbling at the thought of walking up to the welcome counter to ask how to go about canceling my membership. I started fortunetelling that the employees would snicker under their breath, “Ha! Another fat girl quits!”
Um. No. N-no-no-no. I’m not quitting – I’m making a decision. A decision to start moving my way – not this way. This way isn’t working for me anymore. Mmmkay? Bye!
So I went up. I said the magic words, “I’M LEAVING AND YOU CAN’T STOP ME.” Only in a nicer, less angry-feminist, more politically correct way. When questioned about why – I lied. I don’t remember what I said, but I remember thinking that I didn’t owe this stranger an explanation.
And now, since that epic day when I walked out the gym doors, some pretty awesome things have been happening…
Awesome Things That Happened Since I Quit The Gym
First of all, I moved earlier this year. And now I have a second bedroom for the first time – ever. This place is so “me pretending to be an actual adult” I can’t even stand it.
I have turned this supposed-to-be-guest-room into my haven – Jaceland. It’s my get-ready, accessorize, read, write, exercise, do-an-art-project, whatever-I-want-it-to-be room. And it’s freakin’ magical.
Morning Routine 2.0
In five-minute increments I started setting my alarm a wee bit earlier in the morning. I now get up fifteen minutes earlier than I used to and head on into my happy room, eyes open just enough not to trip, drool still in its rightful place on the corner of my mouth, hair in a wiry knot atop my head.
I take a few long deep breaths of lavender essential oils, spritz the room with a yummy scent, flip on the fan, switch on my light-up blossom tree, turn on an ancient (but still amazing) episode of Sex and The City, and plop down on my cyan-colored yoga mat.
My eyes have done their job. Back to closed they go. I breathe, stretch, and move. Sometimes I lift a few light weights, sometimes I play with my kettle bell, sometimes I do some crunches – whatever I FEEL like. No rules. These 15 minutes are my time. And they’re fabulous. A little movement goes a long way.
This tiny addition to my day sets my mood in a much more relaxed, calm, and pleasant manner than my old routine: alarm, spring out of bed, throw on something clean, trip over a few things, decide whatever my hair is doing is acceptable, grab my lunch bag… and GO, GO, GO!
By the time I got in the car, I’d already gotten myself so riled up that I was ready for a nap.
After work it’s time for Round Two. I come home, maybe have a snack, maybe not – my tummy lets me know in which order to proceed. (Most of the time – sometimes it’s a lot harder to follow my gut than my bingeing brain, but I’m working on it, my friends.)
(Favorite post-work snack: hard boiled egg and a handful of large green lettuce leaves, which I dunk into my favorite Trader Joe’s dressing in between bites of pepperoncini. That wasn’t specific or anything, right?)
Then I head back up to my happy place, slip into some workout clothes and my indoor sneakers and ask myself, “Body, what’s up? How you feelin’? Whatchu wanna do?” Sometimes we slide in our Piloxing DVD and punch the air in between long, flowing, feminine movements. Other times, we (me, myself, and I that is) open up the MacBook and pull up our favorite KettleBell workouts. Sometimes we prefer silence and make something up. Sometimes I decide a walk in the fresh air is the better option. NO rules! At least not for me not right now when it comes to movement.
Working out according to my mood and how my body feels is such a freeing experience.
And because I’m enjoying myself I actually kind of, dare I say, look forward to it… DUN DUN DUN!
Find Your Groove
If you do like the gym – you go girl. Have at it! DO IT!
But if you’re frustrated with your workout like I was, try to peel yourself out of your routine and start searching for something that excites you! Something you can look forward to, enjoy, and do without counting down the seconds or cursing under your breath.
You’re awesome. And you’re going to continue being just as awesome regardless of which movement or exercise routine you choose today.
And remember, you don’t have to go to the gym if you don’t wanna. You’re the boss of that body.
Bye bye fitnessecessary… hello movin’ and groovin’!
Until Next Time,
P.S. If you find that scheduled movements and a more organized fitness flow chart work better for your brain, I totally get that. As a suggestion from a very important person in my life, I’ve been keeping track of my movements on a calendar clipped to a brightly-colored sneaker-print clipboard. Do a little movement? Get a little sticker! Good old-fashioned positive reinforcement. I may be trying to adult in certain areas of my life. But stickers? No age limit on stickers. Ever.