By Shayna K.
I am an antsy person. It’s always been a challenge. I know that everyone, to some degree, can be a little unfocused. But I spend a lot of my day feeling like I’m going to crawl out of my skin. I have not, in 34 years of living, sat through an entire movie. I HATE movies. I stopped regularly attending class after 11th grade because I didn’t feel like I could stay in my seat and even if I did, I couldn’t listen for long enough to learn much. For the most part, I’ve just gotten used to it.
Like any responsible, twitchy, high-strung person, I figured out a long time ago that maintaining a regular exercise regimen was key. After youth and high school sports, I tried pretty much everything.
As a college student, I signed up for yoga (dumb), basketball (fun), and swimming (swim a 500m, in ANY AMOUNT OF TIME WITH AS MUCH REST AS YOU’D LIKE, for an A. Should have majored in swimming.) I joined a weightlifting club and skipped class with other unfocused people. Since then I’ve backpacked segments of the Appalachian trail, surfed, and entered trapshooting and arm-wrestling contests. I took up snowboarding (in North Carolina, which is like taking up surfing on Lake Michigan but with more broken bones and longer drives), and spent the next five years or so just… driving and breaking bones, basically.
I’ve played in competitive adult basketball, softball, and tennis leagues. I’ve done master’s swimming, hot yoga, tepid yoga, Pilates, and kickboxing. I’ve belonged to just about every major gym chain there is, plus several YMCA’s, two JCC’s, and an all-women’s gym that used color-coded bumper plates to accommodate tiny lady brains. That was the worst.
My single foray into the social sports scene was joining a dodgeball team, which was fun and frustrating and does, in fact, build character in that each time you get hit in the face by an 80 mph rubber bullet thrown by an asshole with a college mascot tattoo, you earn karmic points. Erin E. almost had her nose ring ripped out of her face by one of those guys, and now a small swarm of sweet-smelling butterflies follows her around everywhere.
Working out is therapeutic for me, and I know it probably is for you, too. Take a good look around you the next time you’re at Full Circle. These yahoos have some things in common, and I don’t just mean the disposable income.
Addicts, obsessives, eccentrics. Zealots with body dysmorphia, and followers with daddy issues. That one guy has been in two cults.
Most of us start working out to drop 10, or to feel better or whatever, but we stay because there’s something about working out all the time, really hard, with a bunch of other people, that appeals to us. Because we’re weird. And I can’t be the only one for whom a big part of the draw is the constant variation in routine, the challenge of something new, all the time.
For me, scratching that itch has meant changing up my Full Circle membership multiple times through the years. I started in CrossFit, which was fun. That got boring, so I switched to barbell, which was fun. That got boring, so I switched to Strongman, which was fun. That got boring (and also my knees, Lord have mercy) so now here I am again, in CrossFit. I feel like a slug and I can’t do anything without extra assistance from bands and boxes and helmets and swim fins, but I wake up every day looking forward to hitting the gym later, because I know it’s gonna be exciting, and I hate to be bored.
I can’t spend much time snowboarding anymore and, to the best of my knowledge, nobody is offering me any for-credit gym classes. So like the rest of you soul-searchers and weirdly-competitive eccentrics, I’m into this because it’s stimulating in a way that other grown-up gym-type stuff just wasn’t, which was why I never stayed anywhere for long. It helps me to relax, or at least to come as close to relaxing as I’m able.
If you weren’t into whatever your workouts were this week, get into something else. Even if you’re the type that can sit through an entire movie (HOW AND WHY?) consider changing up your program so that you can continue to feel the way you felt during those first few weeks of fundamentals – all nervous energy and fun new sore places and excitement about a new skill. Wanna get stronger? Barbell. (I’ve seen you bench. It can only get better.) Wanna feel young again? Compete.
Somehow, we’ve collectively landed on one of the only places in town where you can try new things, all the time. Taking advantage of that has kept me happy with my gym membership for a lot of years.