Friday, January 14, 2005

Feel the Burn

This morning, for the fourth morning in a row, I talked myself out of getting up and going to the gym before work. And now I feel like shit.

I don't go to the gym with the intent to meet a man. I live in Milford, PA, and if a man's not gay, he's married. If he's not married, he's missing a few teeth and the concept of class. And if there is a good looking, smart, sophisticated man in Milford, he certainly is not hanging out in the gym - I know, I've looked. The men who are in the gym, especially the ones who step on the treadmill before 7:00 in the morning, are well over 60 and way beyond acceptable dating material.

Neither am I on a weight-loss mission; I don't count calories and I don't say things like "I'm on a diet," or "I couldn't possibly eat that bowl of ice cream with chocolate syrup all over it." I don't watch the calories tick off on the Precor machine and think "Yessss! I can have TWO tablespoons of dressing on my salad today!" I've never measured my salad dressing.

I go to the gym because it makes me feel good; Because I can sweat out my aggression and the toxins in my skin. When I leave the gym drenched in perspiration, my legs and arms tired from all of the lifting, I feel cleansed. It's the one part of my day where I don't have to talk to anyone, or impress anybody but me. I can see the definition in my shoulders, my arms, my legs, and I like it. And, I won't lie: I don't mind the fact that going to the gym keeps me from having to say things like "Is this meal Atkins friendly?"

But it becomes an obsession. And not finding the motivation to go makes me feel like I'm failing at something. No one but me is making me go...and I can't even follow my own instructions. So all day long, I carry around the scorching guilt of the unmotivated and unorganized. God forbid I run into a fellow gym-rat. "Where were you this morning," they chirp, "we missed you." I feel my face burn red as I offer them some sorry excuse ("I'm fighting a cold," "I had a late night," "I think I pulled a hamstring."), knowing deep down that the alarm went off and I woke up, but I chose to roll over and continue dreaming.

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