The line to get into the gym after New Years resembled a nightclub as I pulled into the parking lot. The only difference was women were clad in tight-fitting neon (yet perfectly coordinated) activewear rather than the little black dress. Without intending to, I looked at my gym bag. All I had packed was my usual garb: a pair of stretchy pants, comfortable shoes, and a loose (but breathable) shirt. I’d missed the memo.
I made my way through the crowd and into the hall o’cardio. It is a massive room with rows of equipment. Usually, there is plenty available, but today it was packed to near capacity. I was going to have to make do with whatever was free, which likely meant I would be stuck on the machine with the squeaky gear and poor ear bud connection. Sure there are far worse problems to have, but annoying sounds are like kryptonite for my exercise motivation (as are a lot of things).
Sure enough, even though the room was crowded, Ye Olde squeaker just happened to be available. Lucky me. Passing some full-length mirrors along the way, I noticed my reflection, and it was difficult to repress a sigh at what I saw. I don’t consider myself exceptionally large for my frame, but I could drop five (or a dozen) pounds without people worrying if I was eating enough. While I haven’t yet completely surrendered to their call, I now understand why ‘mom jeans’ exist. Thanks, kids.
As I mounted Ye Olde Squeaker and keyed up the day’s
torture program, I found myself looking for my friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. No, I don’t mean the web crawler from the comics. I mean a large full-grown adult male who comes to the gym clad in a short-sleeved, short-pantsed, skin-tight Spider-Man outfit.
I’d noticed him almost immediately when I began attending the gym. After all, it was hard not to. At first, I almost felt sorry for him for being that clueless. Then, I wondered if he lost a bet, but I saw him again the following week in the same outfit and again the next. If it was a bet, it was a big one.
This cycle repeated at least once a week throughout 2015. I would go to the gym and Spider-Man would be there too. Over time, I realized I had grown to expect a sighting of this fashion disaster with each visit. Once spotted, I’d feel a little better about my own choices, which made it easier to power through my workout with gusto. (Okay gusto may be a stretch, but at least, I felt good enough about my performance afterward to return another day.) Eventually, though, I realized I’d even come to respect Spider-Man. He, clearly, was a person who did not care what anyone else thought. Instead of thinking he looked ridiculous, I now wished I could be half as confident.
But there was no sign of him during the first week of the new year among the horde of toned bodies. Bodies which I could only guess were only there either because they were on the payroll of some brand of activewear, hired to act as living models or they were paid by the gym to entice members into signing up for additional services. I glanced again at my reflection as my finger lingered over the start button. I saw my well-worn sweats and at my extra curves that refused to quit and thought why was I bothering? I felt my resolve begin to crumble.
Stop it Allie.
You have two options:
You can use your hour of ‘me time’ the way you intended to or you can go home and chase after boys housebound due to rain over the last several days.
Good Point Allie.
I told myself to ignore the crowd, at least this once. I rationalized most of them wouldn’t be around for long. A quarter would give up their resolutions before the end of February. Another group will likely drop in April when the weather starts to warm and there are actual things to do outside. I cranked up the volume on my phone and got to work.
Suddenly it hit me. I knew it wasn’t going to be crowded long because I’d been going to the gym regularly for months. I was no resolution mayfly (my waistline isn’t the only part about me that is stubborn). I remembered the real reason I was there (me – curves and all). I gave it all I had. Afterward, Ye Olde Squeaker proudly displayed my accomplishment – one of my personal bests. I rowed and used the free weights too. In short, I rocked my workout that afternoon.
I may not be model fit. I may be undertall. But I’ll face my goals and power through another year. Who knows, maybe one day I might even be like Spider-Man too.
After all – Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can.