Return of the Prodigal Gym Rat, Week 1

Last week, I joined a group of other goal-setting bloggers and posted my Life List. One of my main goals was to get my butt, which suffers from DJWS (Day-Jobbing Writer’s Syndrome), back in the gym 4 times per week.

So far so good on week one into this effort. I went 5 times, and am going again later today.

I can’t gloat too much. After all, the new gym that opened on July 1 is literally around the corner from my house. If I had to face the traffic that was a regular part of my old gym routine, I would probably have been a douche and said “heck with this” at least once or twice. But since fate practically dropped a gym in a my lap, I’m taking the message seriously and waging a full-scale war against ass-creep.

I’ve gone twice in afternoons and three times in the pre-work hours I call “buttcrack o’ dawn.” After this work week, I’m already loving many things about this lifestyle change. The gym isn’t new to me – I’m a lapsed workout kid returning to the fold after a little more than a year away. Even so, the speed which which focusing on my fitness is bringing positive changes into my life is amazing to me.

The Good Stuff After 1 Week of “Return of the Prodigal Gym Rat:”

- After a morning workout, I am so much more ready to tackle my workday. Normally, I’m either dragging ass or alert but ready to smack the crap out of some annoying person by the time I get to the office. After a workout, I’m awake and alert but without the coiled-up-and-ready-to-spring psychobitch part. I have more of a “can do” feeling about the tasks that lie ahead and less of a sense of dread.

- At 6 am, at least right now, the gym is quiet and peaceful. The crowds, one of the things I used to hate about my old gym, are more on the after-5 schedule. Instead of my workout being one more thing that hinders my introvert’s quest for quiet reflection time, “buttcrack-o’dawn” gymtime gives me a healthy morning dose of it.

- I like the thought of looking my best, of standing in front of those full-length mirrors in the locker room and feeling trim and streamlined rather than a little weighed down and puffy. I may be an abnormal chick in that I hate shopping, only have a few pairs of shoes, and can’t cook for shit. But when it comes to wanting to be “thinner” I am a stereotypical girl. Knowing I’m doing something to get there makes me feel good.

- Speaking of those locker rooms, they’re the freakin’ Ritz. I’m used to my old gym with its clanging, small metal lockers, cold tile floors, and lack of private dressing space. The new gym has big wooden lockers, soft carpet and spacious dressing rooms. The “gettin’ pretty” spaces where you can plug in appliances and do your hair and makeup are larger and more comfy and well-lit than my own bathroom.

- My ideas are flowing. I feel more creative and inspired than I have in a while. My funny-bone is returning, and I like that.

These are all good things. But we all know that nothing is ever perfect,  and goals wouldn’t be hard to achieve if they weren’t at least something of a pain in the ass. My first week of gymdom hasn’t come come without a set of struggles.

- Before, mornings were my DWT (Designated Writing Time). I’d get up, have my coffee and write away for an hour or two before the Hoover of a workday had sucked out my poor braincells. My writing got attention at my freshest hour. Now, to do the same, I’d have to get up at 3 am. I DID do that once, but I was a zombie by the end of the day.

- After I leave the gym, I’ve got all this inspiration and a few new ideas in my head. But the best I can do is jot them in a notebook and tuck them away for later, because I have to go to work. Instead of pouring all that fresh energy into my heart’s work, I’m usually headed to a conference room. Quite honestly, that pisses me off.

- I’m still readjusting to seeing naked chicks. Hey, I’m far from a prude. You can’t watch the HBO shows I love without seeing full-frontal vaginas and flopping penises on a regular basis. Naked people are just people without all the trappings. I’m just readjusting to having REAL naked people around me again, even in small doses. It takes me back to the that whole high-school locker room feeling, and back then I was much more of a geek than a cheerleader.

- Just as I crave more alone time to commune with the thoughts in my head, I am the type of person who needs a certain amount of flexibility in her life. Too much schedule, routine and structure makes me feel like a hamster on a wheel. Let’s face it, working 8-10 hours a day and then trying to work out and stick to a writing schedule doesn’t leave much room for “hey, I think I’ll do this now.” My days get pretty lockstep, at least during the workweek. That works well for a lot of people, but it rankles me. I’d curl up and die if I ever had to go to prison or join the military.

- Every now and then, the gym staff harsh my mellow with their sales pitches for classes and personal trainers. I’m a broke bitch who scrapes the monthly membership together, and don’t need to spend more on the extras. Joining a class would nix the “introvert time” benefit I get from my workout now. And truthfully, I don’t need a trainer. I kicked ass before, and know what to do. My problem was just that I stopped DOING it.

None of those things are roadblocks – just the little annoyances that come with any change. Once my mind and body get used to these adjustments, I’ll figure out a new best writing schedule. There’s no where to go but up, and the climb feels good.

Just the same, don’t muck up my mojo with your nekkid bums and your sales pitches. And if you’d be so kind, could you move those morning meetings back an hour or two?  I’m in the freakin’ ZONE.

About hawleywood40

Writer, Steelers Fan in Baltimore, Frequent Visitor to the Shot Fairy
This entry was posted in Creativity, Exercise, Fitness and Weight Loss, Goal-Setting, The Life List Club, Uncategorized, Work, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Return of the Prodigal Gym Rat, Week 1

  1. l'empress says:

    You certainly were given a message, and I’m glad that it’s working for you. Even a little exercise fixes things you didn’t even know were breaking.

    Me, on the other hand — all the decent gyms have moved farther away, and they all have closed their pools. I guess I’m just being given a different message. This is not the time to be wasting money on more gas.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      That really stinks. I hate when you’ve come to rely on being close by moves to a further away location : (. And I definitely know what you mean about gas! Am thankful every day that all my regular commutes – work, the grocery store, the gym, family’s houses and the pub -are small ones!

  2. Catie Rhodes says:

    Gotta say I admire the umph it takes to do this. I worked out six days a week for about ten years. I woke up one morning and said, “I hate this, and I’m not doing it another day.” I didn’t. I don’t like the way I look as well as I did, but I enjoy my life a lot more. It was that hamster-on-a-wheel-syndrome that had me down, I think. I’d like to force myself back into working out, but I just can’t face the day-to-day of it. You have my admiration for making yourself do it.

    Welcome to the Life List Club. I’m in there with you. It’s going to be a good experience. I can’t wait until we’re guest bloggers for one another. You’re one of the few people I know who is as weird as I am. LOL

    • hawleywood40 says:

      So glad you’re in the Life List Club too! And I consider being as weird as you a compliment LOL : ). I AM struggling with the hamster wheel part – not with the gym itself because I’m enjoying it now – but with every day being even more regimented and structured. Achieving the perfect balance is tough! Maybe for you outdoor walking is a good alternative to the gym – I know that the change of scenery makes it feel less hamster-wheelish to me – especially when the seasons are changing : ).

  3. EDC says:

    DJWS (Day-Jobbing Writer’s Syndrome)… lol. I’m glad there’s a name for it!

  4. Patti Kuche says:

    You are the first person I know to sell me on the effects of going to a gym. Everyone else I know, well, it is not pretty and therefore totally unattractive to me. But, if it get’s the energy going on my laziness, what’s not to like. Lucky you enjoying the climb!

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Believe me, Patti, I”m so not one of those pumped up people who enjoys working out by nature. I love being carefree and lazy or just doing whatever I want when the mood hits. I’m a “do it because I feel I gotta,” not an “I wanna” person when it comes to working out. But I really do notice the benefits in my overall energy levels. And sleeping, too – insomnia hits SO much less when I wear myself out.

  5. theladyinredink says:

    Thank you for posting this. Every morning I get up and tell myself that I need to get back into working out, yet I still just don’t do it. I’m glad to see the benefits of it from an outside perspective. Maybe that’ll help me get back in the groove. Glad to see you’re back in the zone! :)

    • hawleywood40 says:

      I gotta admit, it really helps me to have a partner who wants/needs to do it too. Otherwise, I’d probably have taken even longer to get back into it and be much more lax about it when I did. For me, it is so much easier to be accountable with someone else and know I’m disrupting “our” routine if I don’t go, even though he could go alone. I cut myself way too much slack when it is just all about me – same goes for writing!

  6. Aurora says:

    Inspirational as always, Hawley. Must get my own fat ass in gear here because I so agree, seeing a slimmer reflection is sooooo fantastic and there’s only one way to get there…thanks for the shot in the arm.

  7. Well done on getting back to the gym! I feel the same way about it – I sleep so much better and I’m much more alert when I’m working out regularly. I don’t know what the answer is to the lack of writing time, though. I did the maths myself earlier in the year when I thought I was going to be going back to work at some point and I really had no idea how I was going to manage it. Technically the time was there, but as you say, after a full day’s work, I really didn’t want to do it. That said, if there’s no other way… You’ll find a way – maybe you can fit a few words in on your lunch break?

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Right now I’m trying for a combination of squeezing it in during lunches where I’m not sucked into lunch meetings, evenings when I’ve still got brainpower and mornings on my days off from the gym – oh, and right after the gym on days off work. Those are the writing sessions I’m liking the best because I’m so alert and motivated right after a good workout!

  8. Great post Pam. I’m happy that your making the move to stay fit. I was into the gym last year , then got lazy this year. thanks for inspiring me to try again. Exercise makes you feel good body and mind. Wishing you and your hubby the best in life.

  9. Gene Lempp says:

    Great voice Pam, very fun! Great to have you in Life List Club :)

    I started doing the exercise thing after bumming it for awhile. The benefits return quickly, so really its just a matter of doing it. I tend to avoid actual gyms however and stick to having a treadmill and such at home. Having to see the “Naked Strutter” (the naked guy that walks around with a towel over his shoulder like he is actually going to shower but never does…) is something I can live without.

    Best of luck on your goals, awesome attitude :)

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Thanks Gene! I’d love to do the at-home thing, but our house is apartment-sized and the only way to really do it would be to turn the living room into a mini-gym : ). So yeah, I get to endure the Naked Strutters. The girl’s locker room definitely has them too!

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