I know it’s imperative to take care of self. We should eat right, get a minimum level of exercise a few days a week and drink plenty of water. Can’t argue with it. Wouldn’t dream of trying to convince someone otherwise; however, I can’t stand working out. Not because I’m lazy. It just doesn’t fit into my routine. You saw the list (see last week’s blog post I Don’t Know How She Does It). Who has time to add an hour workout on top of the 157,000 things I’m responsible for every day?? A woman that’s fitting in gym time deserves to be nominated for “Woman of the Year” in my book.
I’ve been told it’s about prioritizing. Ideally, if I make it a priority to work out a few times a week, then it will happen. The reality is that in order to work out something has to be sacrificed and most often its time with my family. I already feel like my son sees me walking out of the door more than I’m in the home these days. I can’t take any more Mommy guilt. Isn’t that funny? When sacrifice is necessary, women tend to forego personal things. Things that lift our spirit. Things that keep us healthy. Things that keep us sane. Things that get us from Sunday to Sunday. How many times have you thought:
“I can’t go to dinner with the girls. I should have movie night with Hubby and the kids instead.”
“A massage would be so nice right now. I’m going to buy X for the house instead. No sense spending money on a one time thing.”
“I’ve been dying to read that new book everyone is talking about. I should read to the kids instead. Besides, I’m too tired to stay awake.”
Everyone who knows me knows that I prefer to get my cardio one way and one way only – underneath or on top of my husband. If I’ve got to huff, puff and sweat, I might as well enjoy it. All that effort deserves fireworks during and at the end. I’ve never experienced fireworks at the gym. A real orgasm burns anywhere from 150 – 300 calories depending on who you ask. If I have sex with my husband at least two to three times a week, It counts as one gym day in my mind. That’s logical, right? I mean, my husband is magical in our bedroom and I’ve been known to draw a scream or two. In my mind, I’m burning more than the average woman. #IJS #TMI
Either way, my girlfriend Jules called requesting that we take kickboxing cardio at our gym followed by a little light lunch. Instead of fighting it, I said, “Why not?!” I pulled out my cute gym outfit (the one that hasn’t been worn since I bought it a year ago on sale at Kohl’s), my cute gym headband, sneakers and set out for the gym.
Now, here’s the problem with going to the gym when I haven’t been there in a while:
- As cute as my gym outfit is, it’s still wrapped around all of my … er … girth. So while other ladies, like my girl Jules, are walking around looking extra cute and tiny, I’m walking around looking like I actually need to be at the gym.
- The gym feels more like a nightclub than a workout facility. The beautiful people walk around and pretend to workout rather than actually bursting a sweat on the machines. I see more women in makeup than I see with crotch sweat (a telltale sign that you truly worked out).
- The men stare. Now, I know I draw eyes wherever I go. I’m sexy. Yeah, I said it. I’m thick, and even though I don’t have J. Lo booty, I ALWAYS draw male eyes and attention. That’s not arrogance, that’s confidence. I might not be the best-looking girl in the place, but my confidence combined with my cuteness draws ‘em in every time. While I’m generally okay with stares, at the gym I feel a little self-conscious. My cute outfit hugs ALL of my … er … girth. The only person that can stare at that without making me feel a little shy is my husband.
- Gym classes are designed to point out those of us who haven’t been there in while. The class starts with everyone doing the same moves in unison. Roughly 15 minutes into the class, you begin to see a few people modify steps, stop for water and bend over heaving for air. Those are the folks that haven’t been in a while. Approximately 15 minutes later, a few more folks tap out. This process continues slowly, but surely, exposing the people who don’t workout. That process of elimination and impending reveal stresses me out.
With all of this in mind, I still agreed to join my girl at the gym. Unfortunately for me, she didn’t want to take a simple beginners step aerobics class or yoga or even a mild morning on the elliptical. She wanted to take kick-box cardio. In my mind I’m thinking, “My fat ass has NO BUSINESS in kick-box cardio. None whatsoever.” I literally can’t think of a reason other than a fetish for public humiliation that would make me agree to kick-box cardio, but I went all the while thinking, “Jesus be fence ALL around my stupid behind. Lord be a lasso around my life.”
Thankfully, I made it. I made it through the class without passing gas (a workout hazard), throwing up or passing out. I actually looked like I had taken the class before. I only stopped for water once. Color me surprised!! I guess there is something to that spin class I sporadically show up to! I left feeling so good. I felt so proud and sexy. I actually felt more energy when the class was over than I felt walking in. Who knew?!?
One phone call from my girl and a little bravery in my cute gym outfit helped me realize that I have to make more time to take care of myself. In addition to letting myself off the hook for failing to get it all done around the house, I’ve got to stop feeling guilty about taking care of me. Truth be told, I need that spark of energy I felt after yesterday’s class. Maybe I could get more done on my list if I wasn’t always running on fumes.
What could you be doing to take better care of yourself? Whether it’s going to the gym, treating yourself to a massage or making time for a little mani/pedi action, start telling yourself that it’s okay. You’re just as important as every other thing you’ve prioritized in your life. Besides, there’s no reward for running yourself into the ground. There’s no blue ribbon for killing yourself and failing to take a moment to celebrate all of your hard work. No one and nothing is going to validate your lack of commitment to self. Whatever’s feeding this sadistic behavior must stop.
So, to gym or not to gym: that is the question. Whatever the “gym” is in your life, say yes. Whether your “gym” decision involves getting your hair done, date night with someone special or seeing a matinee movie, choose it. Every time. Choose you. As I said in the November 2012 issue of O Magazine within “What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself” (shameless self plug, I know), I’ve learned:
“That I am not the titles I wear. To outsiders I am a wife, mother, sister, best friend and business executive, but at one point, the responsibility that comes along with these roles took over my life. I had no idea what I was really feeling besides overwhelmed. I’ve now learned that I need to take care of myself in order to care for everyone else.”
I challenge you to do the same. Be good to yourself. It’s okay. Real talk – those who persecute you for it, don’t really love you.
All the best, AskThePRGirl
Semi sort of kind of random P.S. Isn’t is uber cool that President Obama was sworn in for a second term today?!? Moments like this make me so proud to be an American. And the FLOTUS’ new hair!! WOO! Loving everything about it! Happy MLK weekend, y’all.