We need to break up.
I imagine this comes as a surprise, given my dedication to exercise, but I’ve been thinking about it for some time.
Bet you didn’t even notice my absence what with the newbies showing up with their shiny New Year’s resolutions. Most will disappear by the end of February, but whatever.
I’ve been true to you for many years, Gym, but it’s not working out for me anymore.
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Let’s take the television situation. They’re on. All. The. Time. You can’t escape them if you’re operating a cardio machine. You say you’re trying to be fair and balanced, but Fox next to CNN or msnbc is schizoid.
I get it, Gym. You’re a hive of activity. But for me, it’s too frenetic. It’s 21st century torture to watch a breaking news story airing the same video clip over and over, interspersed with grief-stricken faces reacting to the horrendous fate of their loved ones. On every single channel.
Then there’s the radio blaring. Personally, classical music would work for me. Would it work for you? But I suspect you don’t know either, Gym. Maybe you could ask? Yet you treat me and everyone else like rats in a maze, but we all don’t respond to the same treat.
After all, why are so many people plugged into their own devices, glued to their iPods, their e-readers? They’re drowning out the ambient noise. If I don’t have an audiobook, I’m lucky if I can stretch my workout to 30 minutes.
Of course, scientists do agree that exercise is good for you. The questions are: : how much and how hard? But I wonder more about how to make it work for me.
Because it’s not you, Gym, it’s me.
Okay, it’s totally you.
The hoarse yelling and grunts of the CrossFitters doing their WODs right behind the cardio machines make me jump. Shouldn’t paramedics be standing by?
Speaking of CrossFit… I admit I haven’t been faithful to you. I’ve been seeing another CrossFit gym on the sly: a tricked-out garage filled with medicine balls, kettlebells, boxing gloves, jump ropes, a treadmill, you name it. But no TV, no radio. Blessed silence.
To change things up, I’ve also been running or powerwalking in nearby parks. Getting my sweat on while mulling over a problem is a gift only I can give myself. Anyone who is stressed about something can relate—exercise clears the head.
On New Year’s Day, when Tucson experienced a magical rare snowfall, I saw a bighorn sheep while out hiking. I’d rather see a bighorn sheep than the big sweaty Lycra clad haunches of the person in front of me, stepping on the elliptical to nowhere.
You say you give me a lot for my money: a variety of cardio machines, an indoor pool, a locker room, showers, and a weight room.
But what you don’t offer is what I need most. Space in my head. Time to think without distractions.
I’ll confess I’ve checked out the local recreation center.
There is only one TV, nowhere near the cardio or weight machines or the walking/running track. And there’s no piped-in music.
Many of the folks are older than me. Yet when I really look at them—they’re where I want to be in 10, 20, 30 years. They politely ask if they can work in on the next machine in the circuit. They don’t yammer on their smartphones, spilling way too personal details. When I didn’t lock my locker, they tracked me down, worried I’d lose my purse.
You’ll think I’m superficial, but the rec center has something even you don’t have: a rowing machine. I hear the soothing swoosh of water with each stroke. It’s the most Zen machine ever.
I enjoy exercise, but now it has to be on my terms.
So I guess this is goodbye, Gym.
Please don’t call. I won’t be coming back.