Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gym rats unite!

Gym rat: A person who spends every day at the gym, pumping weights, hitting the cardio and partaking in every group class the gym offers; a person who has only gym friends, drinks power protein drinks and in the hours not filled with gym activities, she plans what she's going to do when she gets there.

Yes, that was me not so long ago (okay, maybe it was longer than I care to admit). I would work out Monday to Thursday with a day break in between, only to hit the gym twice on the weekend. It didn't help that I worked there too. I would wake up at 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings, grab a coffee at Tim Horton's and then hit the bikes, treadmill or eliptical, whatever was free, before hitting the weights.
You could bounce a quarter off of my ass, I was so proud.
I was so obsessed that my ex-husband and his friends considered hosting an intervention. They couldn't understand my love of the gym. It was my sanctuary, my solace.

I haven't been as obsessed in the last few years, much to the detriment of my ass. But as of last night at 10 p.m., I again walked through the hallowed halls of the workout elite. I don't come in the same package as I did when I first set foot in the gym and I don't have the same "workout 'til I puke" mindset. Don't laugh - after a brutal leg workout with my friend Josh, I actually did heave. He laughed and told me to go do another set. The bastard. But that is another story for another time.

I actually don't mind that I've discarded that old package. I'm a little bit softer and certainly more understanding, and I know there is more to life than planning the next big back and bicep workout. Times have changed; I have changed. Don't get me wrong, I still miss the cameraderie found at my old gym. It was an instant family, and for those privy to the inner workings and the foresight of the gym's two owners, it's a lesson in how a gym should be run - with a constant reinvestment in its members. Profits went into upgrades, replacing old equipment with new and in securing the top classes and instructors. Money from a commercial shoot went to a whole new ladies' free weight section. And, there was a hello and goodbye to anyone who passed through their doors. I was in a good place.

I'm getting back to that place, in a new gym setting (my sanctuary was sold to a U.S. chain and has since gone downhill - hell, I left!). The equipment is different but the exhileration is the same - focusing on goals, on hitting that next kilometre, that next hill, that next set.

The only thing I won't miss is the smell of Rub-A535, the gym rats' odour of choice. But even that brings back memories. Perhaps I'll put a little behind my ears for old times' sake.


  1. Enjoy the workouts, just don't work too hard.

    You know, (gosh this is embarrassing to admit) my first step into a gym was about 2 months ago with the prodding from a neighbor to try out her aerobics class so I possibly would join it. I. Nearly. Died.

    I wish I had your drive to get my arse in a gym regularly. I need it! I wouldn't go as often as you did, but maybe every other day.

  2. Thanks Akilah! I won't work too too hard.

    I'm hoping for three times a week and the last month I didn't manage that. Okay, I would have managed but my ass was sucked into the couch or out at the dog park with the BoyoBoxer. It's a fresh start, with a fresh perspective.

    I've been working and working out in a gym setting since I was 14, so for me not to be there is surreal.

  3. 14? Wow, that's pretty amazing.

    Walking the dog is an enjoyable form of exercise, so if you ever miss a day, at least you burned some calories elsewhere.

  4. That's now my favourite activity!