You can do it! I grin at myself in the mirror, hoping this thought will make me take the stairs up to the weight floor. Come on, Julia, YOU.CAN.DO.IT! But I remain frozen in the same spot. I lean closer to the mirror, exploring my face. Why do my eyes look all bleary? I didn’t go out drinking last night. I’m not even tired. I just really dread the idea of pushing and pulling, lifting and pressing weights.
I decide I need more lipstick. Hopefully, that’ll make me look less like a hopeless drunk and more like a healthy, cheerful trainer, the image I’m supposed to display at all times. Besides, you never know what cute guy you’ll run into on the gym floor. I nod at the drunk-alike in the mirror—I definitely need to look my best before hitting the workout floors. I dash inside the trainer’s lounge and spend ten minutes applying lipstick and rearranging my ponytail, hoping an urge to workout will suddenly shoot through me.
“Weren’t you supposed to go work out?” one of the trainers ask me as he walks into the lounge. “What happened?”
“I don’t know,” I say. “I’m trying to get motivated.” I grin at him a little embarrassed. “It’s not working very well…”
“Oh, come on. You’re a trainer, for God’s sake! Just go out there and get started!” Something about the way Frank looks at me, with a mixture of contempt and encouragement, pushes me to leave the lounge. He’s right. All I need to do is go out there and get started! I begin walking the stairs to the weight room, feeling like I weigh three hundred pounds. And I feel heavier with every step I take. It’s all I can do not to turn around and walk back to the cafeteria where I can have a coffee and read my book.
Three steps away from the weight floor, I’ve become so heavy I can’t move. I remind myself about all the tight shirts and dresses that hang in my wardrobe, not to mention the designer jeans I spent two hundred bucks on that make me look like a stuffed sausage. The idea of having wasted so much money on a piece of clothing never to wear it even once pisses me off so much I’m able to push myself up to the top flight.
Okay, now all I have to do is walk into the weight room and start working out. Easier said than done. A member named Ed comes around the corner then. I haven’t seen him in ages. He brightens at the sight of me. “Hi, Julia!”
We embrace. “Hi Ed! I haven’t seen you in forever! Where have you been?”
He tells me he’s been in D.C. for a few weeks. Even though I’ve promised myself not to tell anyone else about my latest man disaster—I’ve come to the unfortunate conclusion my love life is cursed—I proceed to tell Ed all the details. We spend ten minutes turning this latest situation inside out, a voice in my head all the while repeating: go workout, go workout, go workout, go…
“Are you going to workout?” Ed says and I wonder just how loud that voice in my head is.
“That’s the idea.” I sigh. “But I don’t really feel like it.”
“Oh, come on, Julia! I’ve see you on the workout floors! You love working out.”
When I work out, I go all out. Which must make it seem like I love to work out. I’m actually generally in hell. At least I’m typically bored out of my mind. Maybe one time out of five am I actually enjoying my workout. Well, part of it.
“No, I don’t,” I say. “I only love the way I feel AFTER working out. Isn’t it obvious the faces I make are of pain, not pleasure?”
Ed laughs. “No, you look like you’re having a great time.”
I peer at Ed. Something must be wrong with his eyes. He can’t possibly confuse my contorted faces with delight. “Well, I’m going down to play some soccer,” he says. “Go workout now, Julia! You can do it!”
Then he leaves and I’m alone with my demons again. “You can do it! Come on! What the hell’s wrong with you? You’re a trainer, for God’s sake!” the voices in my head chant. Somehow, I make myself walk onto the spacious weight floor. I plop down on the abductor machine. (I don’t recommend you using this machine to tone the outside of your legs. See my butt article for more on how to do that. I use this machine only to bulk up the sides of my butt.)
Usually, by starting with something easy I can trick myself into doing another, slightly harder exercise, then another even harder, and another and another. Before I know it, I am working out like a maniac, which I’m known for at Reebok. (Working out intensely really is the most efficient way to both lose weight and tone. But I don’t recommend that you do this if you’re aren’t fairly fit already.) And about an hour later I’m done and I do feel great, glad that I pushed myself to work out. And, in hindsight, it seems incredibly ridiculous that it took me so long to get going. But, sadly, this is the way it is for me most of the time.
What’s it like for you? Do you love to hit the workout floors?