In an effort to get into the second best shape of my life I joined a gym. It was all because Nick and I were headed home for a series of weddings, one family the other friends, and I desperately wanted to prove that life in Philadelphia is just so great that it magically transformed me into an Adonis. Don’t get me wrong, life in Philadelphia is great, just more in a cheesesteak, whiskey, happy hour and brunch on the patio, kind of way. And I love that too, but I’m in my late-early thirties, and I really can’t let this kind of thing go or the next thing I’ll be 50 with diabetes and no discernible waist. So to the gym I went.
This has led me to a series of small humiliations that include: Zumba, shopping for workout wear, and realizing that the blatant-throw-yourself-at-anything-with-penis fraternizing of some of my fellow gym compatriots is really annoying. I’ll start with Zumba first.
While I have made my way through lots of wacky fitness classes, not even being half Mexican has allowed me to complete a single Zumba class without feeling totally rhythm-less and stupid. Don’t get me wrong, jumping and moving one’s arms for an hour will work up a sweat. Zumba isn’t the fitness craze of last summer for nothing. But for me the jury is still out on whether losing those precious calories is worth watching my reflection in the studio mirror.
Obviously, I just don’t have the right clothes.
Thankfully for me, I live in a posh neighborhood of Philadelphia, which is more than happy to accommodate my insecurities. Within an easy walk, I can find workout gear from Lululemon, Athleta, GapFit, and “Incredible by Victoria’s Secret” and “VS Knockout,” complete with perfectly sculpted, photoshopped, life-size cut outs to remind me that all I really need are the right clothes. It’s totally true, of course…right? Lots of self help articles encourage women who are just starting to work out to buy a specific workout gear for motivation and confidence, like tip number nine in, “How To Start Working Out When You Don’t Like To Exercise.” But that doesn’t make me feel better when having to exhale completely while squeezing into an “Energy Tank” from Athleta.
I bought it in chartreuse.*
And that brings me to my last point. All the working out, and the right clothes, won’t change the fact that the vast majority of my gym-mates are a decade younger. I’m pretty sure of it. The age gap was most apparent to me last week when two women in my Zumba class mercilessly flirted with any man who happened into our part of the gym on their way to the drinking fountain. I said to my friend, “Are those girls, like, 14?” And I realized, I’m just getting old.
Regardless of these small humiliations, I think I made it. After working out five times a week, I’ve seen results that I’m happy with: I can do more push-ups, run faster than I ever have in my life, and can hold side plank for more than 30 seconds on each side. The weddings went fine.
*Trust me, the right gear does matter. The Energy Tank has a handy pocket in the back, is really bright (good for being seen by cars in the city), and holds my bust in place. How is that for an endorsement? I still have to exhale to get it on.