Monday, June 14, 2010

Young (Wo)man, There's a Place You Can Go....

Yeah, I joined the Y. This was back in, what, April? I've been going 2-3 times every week since then. It's a pretty good part of my morning. I'm in my workout gear right now, as a matter of fact, headed there momentarily, but lemme tell you how this came about.

I had a couple of big roadblocks to joining the was that memberships are damn expensive. The other, bigger, one is my social phobia. I didn't want to be around people. Who would be looking at me. While I was all sweaty and gross in workout gear.

But it niggled. So I started looking into it, more as a way to shut my mind the hell up than anything else. And I found that they offered financial assistance. So I printed up an application. And let it sit there. For weeks.

Finally, a friend (yeah, ok, a guy...who unfortunately I'm not in contact with anymore) challenged me to get the application in. That day. So I did it. And it was as simple as walking in the front door and giving it to the receptionist.

And I got a notice that I would receive assistance that suddenly put the membership into manageable range. I only had to do a single, since X has a family membership and my kids are on that. So after I let that letter sit around for a couple more weeks, I sucked it up and went in and filled out the appropriate stuff and got my little beeper card (what I call the little thing you have to slide through the slot to release the turnstile).

And then I STILL didn't go.

So my "new" therapist (how long am I gonna call him that? Well, I'm from Maine. Unless you were actually born here, you're referred to as "from away" your entire life. Doesn't matter if you moved here three minutes after birth. We are resistant to change as a people.) came up with an interesting idea for me.

The reason I wasn't going to the Y was fear. (yes, this is not news. stay with me) Fear was motivating me to stay away. What we needed to do was find a BIGGER fear of NOT going. And, as my health and wellness as a whole is not a big motivator for me, threat of worsening health wasn't going to do it. Not to mention it's not a definite, immediate, cause-and-effect thing (I did not go to the Y on Monday, and Tuesday my leg fell off).

SO. We came up with a plan.

First we made up a workout plan. How many days a week, how long would I stay, what would I do, etc. Then we came up with the motivator.

I would go to the Y three days a week, for at least an hour each time (an hour of working out, not just an hour of being in the building). I had six weeks. In those six weeks, I had to stick to that schedule for four consecutive weeks. (not a lot of wiggle room for slacking, hey?)

IF, at the end of the six weeks, I had NOT met that goal, my therapist would then take the check I had written out in an amount of money I REALLY could not afford, that I had already given to him, and he would mail that check.

To my ex.

Yeah. So if I didn't go work out, I would be giving my ex money. A lot of money.

Let me tell you: BIG MOTIVATOR.

I made that goal in five weeks.

I had to tell at least one other person about this contract so I would have a cheerleader besides John (my therapist...yes, I find it necessary to keep identifying him). I told Brenda, and then I also clued in a couple of other people. I ALSO came up with a little acronym that I put at the end of every email to Brenda, and usually at the end of a Facebook status update if it said I was going to the Y. It was NMFS.

No Money For (ex's name)!

It didn't take long for me to get a little addicted to these workouts. I feel REALLY great after I'm done with them. And people don't stare. They've got their own sweaty selves to tend to. I do 30-40 minutes on the various weight machines, and 30-40 minutes walking the track. I'm measurably stronger than I was at the beginning, and although I haven't lost any weight per se, my clothes fit better.

So. John did a good thing. Apparently there were some questions from his coworkers whether he should have done something so extreme, but hell, I agreed to it, thought it was a really good way to get me off my ass and in the door. Then they were questioning whether he really would have mailed the check. My mom asked me the same thing: "He wouldn't really *mail* it, though, right?"

Um, it defeats the WHOLE PURPOSE of the thing if he wouldn't have mailed the check, people!
What fear is there of him holding a check if he's just going to give it back to me and say, "just kidding!"

Fear as motivator. It worked. Worked great. So now when I see something I'm scared to do, I've started thinking: is there something bigger I'm scared of if I *don't* do this? And if there isn't, can I create one?

Anyway, I'm off to my workout. Have a great morning!! mk


Anonymous said...

Congratulations to you, MK!! Wow, good for you!

I've been scared sh#*less of joining myself, for years now. Fantastic, brand-new Y opened up in town, 3-minutes away. I'm off during the daytime, so I have no reason not to go...except, too embarrassed about how far I've let myself go. Tell me, do you arrive/leave in your workout clothes, or do you feel comfortable enough to use the locker-rooms there? I'd like to read more about how much better you feel after your workout; is it like an exercise 'high'?

I really admire you for overcoming that first step-in-the-door. You are my 'hero'.

Good Luck

markira said...

Paul, I was really embarrassed, too, about the shape of my body (I am NOT in any way svelte, although once upon an ago I had a fabulous figure...sigh). That was a HUGE part of the reason I didn't want to go. Well, that and people phobia in general and hating being LOOKED AT.

Let me tell you, nobody will bat an eye. Every person there is there for the same reason: to help get their body healthier.

I go in my workout clothes, because the locker rooms are downstairs and I'd have to walk *past* the fitness center and downstairs to get there, and it doesn't make any sense to me. I do bring a bag, since they don't want you to come in wearing street shoes (have a separate pair of sneakers just for the gym). I have a bag I bring with my sneaks, socks, a hand towel & water bottle, and my clipboard, since I keep track of sets & reps & stuff. They have plenty of cubbies to stuff things in while you go do your workout thing.

At some point I'll be using the locker rooms once I get around to using the pool. Don't know how that will go. Not worrying about it yet.

I feel SO AMAZING after I'm done. I'm there for a little over an hour, pouring sweat and brick-red in the face when I'm done & walking back out to the car (and again, no strange looks at ALL), but I'm proud of myself for having taken the time and effort to take care of my body. PLUS there's the exercise high itself, which is awesome.

So, physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, it's all a great feeling, very positive, and one of the best things I've done for myself in a long, long time. mk

markira said...

OH!! If you want to give it a "trial run," right at the front desk they have the monthly newsletters, and on the bottom of the front page there is usually a one-week free trial coupon. At least, that's the way it works at ours. So you can see how you like it, financially risk-free.

I'll throw a challenge out to you, Paul...give it a try. One week. Really, you will be SO glad you did. mk

Anonymous said...

Hi MK -

If there ever was a time that I should start exercising, it should be now. I found out yesterday that the job situation was supposedly coming to an end! We were given a heads-up that management was going to let go of one of us on my team, earlier tonight. Well, it didn't happen, for now. One of us will be switching over to the team that works the opposite end of the week (2 people were let go from that team). Anyway.........

My point is.....the stress is really taking it's toll. Lots of stomach problems.....lousy sleep..etc. I think that if I could be as courageous as you and get to the gym, I might be able to handle the stressors in life a little better!

My daughter has always mentioned wanting to go to the Y, and school is out Friday....(I'm running out of excuses not to go..!)

I will let you know when I finally grow the 'nads to go in and see what's up. I hope your still able to update this blog from time to time with your 'Y' news.

Hey, I did take the plunge last year, ...went to motorcycle school...bought a really nice Suzuki...actually did a ride a few weeks ago with some guys from church...Unity, NH through and around Mt. Ascutney, VT. That took a 'little' courage...:)


Anonymous said...

PS - that line you wrote, the one where you said: "since I keep track of sets & reps & stuff." Wow, you sound like one tough chick!! Can't wait for the the 'flexin' photo's -- !


markira said...

Paul, that took a LOT of courage! Nice, I bet it was awesome.

hahaha, not quite buff enough for the flexin' photos, but believe me, if I ever get there, I'll put 'em up!

Take your daughter to the Y! mk