‘Tis annoying when one goes to the gym or “fitness center” and encounters those “lunks”, as hopeless gym rats are derisively described by such authority figures as Planet Fitness. Face it, some people were born to spend copious amounts of time in the gym. They actually look forward to it! Enjoy the hard work and sweaty toil … the Pain needed to make the Gains … the form-fitting workout gear only the lunky or curvaceous gym apostle can wear.
For the rest of us – which I would venture is the most of us – going to the gym is three rungs above a Dental appointment and one rung below dinner with the In-Laws. A sad – but honest – admission …
As for me, I go through my own personal 5 Stages of Gym Mourning just to get out of bed and through a workout. Similar to the more infamous 5 Stages of Grief, the stages to my gym morning are saturated in emotion and the desire to hide from painful Truth. A sense of Loss lays the foundation for both. In the case of anti-gym types like me, it is the Loss of Youth, the Loss of Leisurely Morning Routine, the potential Loss of Health, the Loss of Body Form and Image, the Loss of Laissez Faire Eating Habits, the Loss of Hair …
Need I go further …?
No one likes the pretty gym people … except other pretty gym people.
After all to morning anti-gym rats, “grief” fairly accurately describes the process of hauling our sleepy bodies from our warm beds for the purposes of strapping ourselves to Machines of Torture! For me, that’s 2-3 mornings a week depending on Mood, Physical Health, Weather, or if I absolutely have to fit into those pants I bought when I was oh-so-proud about recent weight-loss. There are few things more demoralizing than your Significant Other perusing your chosen evening wear and saying, “Those pants have gotten a little tight there, chubby.”
So for all those reasons, I subject myself to the following Cranky Man 5 Stages of Gym Mourning pre-workout routine …
0515 hours … “What is that incessant noise?!? Who the hell set the alarm clock on a Saturday?!? This is freakin’ ridiculous!”
“OMG … It’s only Thursday. You have got to be kidding me! There’s no way I’m getting up this early. This is stupid! Who does this every morning??? Son-of-a ….”
ANGER … is always the first response.
0524 hours … The alarm again … “Oh c’mon … I can’t do this. This is inhuman!”
“No, you have to do this. You can do this!” And rounds of BARGAINING begin.
“OK … If I go today, then I don’t have to go tomorrow. Tomorrow’s Friday … You can sleep all the way to 0630 tomorrow if you just go to the gym today.”
“No … No way! This is stupid!”
“Now, now … Listen! There’s a half-gallon of Breyer’s Ice Cream in the freezer, Slick. Go to the gym today and maybe – if you’re good all day long – you can have low-guilt ice cream tonight!”
“OK … OK … OK … I’m getting up!”
(Now of course such a thing as “low-guilt ice cream” is impossible, as any reluctant prisoner of the Healthy Gym Workout cycle can tell you!)
A Bargain will eventually be reached. And you will drag yourself from that warm bed … unless the Bargain was reduced to sleeping in today for “guilt-filled ice cream” and a workout tomorrow.
The majority of those who go the gym, do so because they can eat whatever they want with little in the way of Rationalization. That and a lighter load of Bad Food Guilt is as good as any endorphin buzz a workout can give the reluctant gym denizen!
ACCEPTANCE is usually the easiest phase to live through. By this time, I have dragged my weary body from my soft, warm bed … one appendage at a time; pushed myself squint-eyed through the morning bathroom routine, bouts of resolve-strengthening mental cheerleading, and perhaps a few additional rounds of Bargaining. Then, once prepped in my gym-enduring workout clothes, primed for another day of attempting to fool Mother Nature, I resolutely head out the door.
Truth is the warm months of Summer make the Acceptance process all the easier. Being able to roll out of bed and head off to the gym in the same clothes I wore to bed the night before makes all the difference in the world. I can do everything up to climbing into the car with my eyes still barely open!
The biggest difference from the more well-known 5 Stages of Grief is the feeling of ACCOMPLISHMENT one gets from completing a strenuous, exhausting, and sweat-filled workout. Let’s face it … The biggest reason many of us hit the gym is that feeling of doing something entirely for yourself. Improving your health; increasing your Stamina; sharpening your Focus … blah blah blah …
I don’t really look older when you work out. I just feel older … a lot older.
Yes, it’s a good feeling … That lasts all of 20 minutes until you realize you have to repeat the process in a few days ….
Forever and Ever and Ever!
That’s the realization that sends this Cranky Man into the final stage of his 5 Stages of the Gym Mourning …