I hadn’t been to “the gym” in years.
Apart from when I travel and use hotel facilities, my last foray to “the gym” was in 2011.
But this week it felt like time.
It felt like time to leave my solitary home gym (i.e., a corner of our basement) and my typically solitary workouts.
Don’t get me wrong. I love that little space in the basement. It has brought me hours of quiet joy and satisfaction over the last five years. There have been many moments of insight and quiet clarity of mind, in the wee hours of the morning as my family sleeps. In ways, it – and the sidewalk - have been my places of meditation and worship; of returning to the centre. And carrying the sense of self-care and accomplishment that comes each day from an early morning home workout has helped me in more ways than I consciously know.
It has also been proof that you don’t need much to have a great workout out. It can happen pretty much anywhere. Anytime.
But it just felt like time to do something different.
It felt like time to drive five minutes down the road to the local GoodLife Fitness.
To throw a few things in a gym bag.
It felt like time to enter a sports-oriented space and be with other living, breathing, sweating people. To walk among them. To see the whites of their eyes. To interact, even just subtly. A brief exchange in the locker room. A quick “can I rep in?” with someone at the pull-down machine. Simple stuff.
I didn’t really have a plan of what to do at “the gym”.
There’s no new program I’m following. In fact, one could argue that be being there didn’t make sense in the context that I’m preparing for a triathlon in a few weeks.
Don’t care. I’d had a great bike/run workout the previous day. And things don’t always have to make sense. Or be part of something. They just need to feel right.
And it just felt like time to insert different energy into my routine.
So I went to a group class. I did a bunch of mixed martial arts moves to music for an hour. It was great fun and a serious sweat-fest. And it made me feel like some sort of George St-Pierre Ninja warrior.
Then I wandered out into the free weight area.
I stood there for a minute or two, getting my bearings and formulating a workout plan in my mind.
Then I continued to have the best upper-body workout I’ve had in a long while.
I found myself working harder than usual. I picked up heavier weights. I did more exercise variations. I was able to check my form in the mirror and make adjustments. The moving and working out part was all very familiar, but the surroundings somehow changed things. Was I inspired by others working hard around me? Was it the lure of different equipment and options to explore?
I’m not sure. And I’m not sure it matters.
I left two hours later.
As a passed by the desk on my way out, the young lady who’d given me the orientation when I’d arrived said “How was your workout?”
“Great,” I said. “Really great.”
“Will we see you tomorrow?” she said.
“Yeah,” I said. “I’ll see you tomorrow”.