True Confessions: I am not a gym rat! Am I?
Man that felt good to get off my chest. Before I explain my position on the matter, let me give you some background here.
Urbandictionary.com has a few definitions for a real gym rat. If you will, Exhibit Number 1:
“One who spends entirely too much time partaking in muscle building, strength training, cardiovascular, or aerobic activity. Specifically, one who does so at a health club or gym.”
Well. Scoff. Like, what’s entirely too much time? I mean, I go there every day and some workouts take 45 minutes and others take over an hour because the Shapeshifter has given me five sets of everything and I could possibly be resting a little more in between sets than, er, I need to. And I do all of this at a gym. Do I want to hang there all day? Absolutely not.
Confession: Do I like to linger sometimes and chitty chat? Is it nice that everybody knows my name. Hell yeah! But my lingering has never really included thinking, “oh, I should hang out just a bit more and do some more military presses. That’s what would be truly awesome.”.
Confession: Once I did think I should stay a bit longer and do some leg adductions but I was sitting right beside the machine for my last prescribed exercise and you know, it was like, right there. And I did do them. But it didn’t bring me pleasure. So there.
Ahem. I bring you Urban Dictionary’s second definition: Exhibit 2, if I may…
”Often used derogatorily by people who do not partake in or understand this lifestyle, some self-proclaimed gym rats use the term as a status symbol or for positive reinforcement.
Example: I prefer to work out at home… I don’t need to hang around a bunch of gym rats.
Look at those gym rats! They can name all their muscles, but I bet they couldn’t tell you what an adjective is!”
Really? I tend to get a little defensive when I hear or read that because a) no one is asking you or probably has invited you to ‘hang’ with the rats so unless you are being forced to do so, I’m only hearing judgement and …jealousy.
Also, muscles = dumb dumb in grammar and such? Puh-lease. I know some very, very out of shape people with barely any biceps to speak of (no judgement) and their spelling (yes, their, not there, or they’re) is just sad, sad, sad. Grammar? Ask most people if they know what an adverb is and the answer may not be that immediate.
And what? If you’re a scholar you can’t have muscles?
Confession: I skipped grade 3. I got straight A’s and A plusses in a science program at University and graduated with honours. Shhhhhhhh, don’t tell the gym rats.
Exhibit 3 from same site:
In terms of sports, if someone is called a Gym rat it is to be taken positively. Someone who puts in the work more than anyone else to become a better player, is considered a gym rat.
Sports commentator 1: Did you see that jump shot? Fundamental skills.
Sports commentator 2: Yeah, he’s a gym rat and puts in the work.
Opinion: I don’t really see a problem with using the terminology this way. It’s all in the wording and context baby!
This next one just made me laugh and me weight lifting friends whom truly are passionate about throwing iron around will likely enjoy this little ditty. I give you Exhibit 4:
Warning; Explicit language is used. Parental Guidance is Advised.
Someone who spends all their time in a gym but does absolutely zero exercise.
Gym Rat: God I’m so pumped for the gym, time to get fucking juiced!
Does one rep
Gym Rat: FUCK YEAH!!! TIME TO WALK AROUND AND ACT LIKE A BOSS
Confession: Personally, I find those people utterly entertaining. As long as he or she is not hogging my machine, I mean, the gym’s machine of course, when, I, er, we would like a turn.
And last but not least, from the following web site:
someone who spends all leisure time playing sports or working out in a gymnasium or health spa.
All right then. Now this is more along the lines of what I get accused of when people ask me about my transformation, weight loss or results. ”You live at the gym, right? You love it right? I just don’t have the time it takes to get those results like you do.”
Pardonnez moi? Clearly someone has not been reading my blog or knows me from Adam.
So let me set the record completely straight.
1. I do not intrinsically like working out. I am lazy, wazy when it comes to movement. But I like what it does for me. And, my opinion of exercise and lifting weights changing about 10 minutes into the routine because that’s what exercise does. It changes your mood and perception. Things don’t seem as bad as they did ten minutes before. I happen to find that very cool let alone, important for me. I lean towards being moody without a good dose of movement. Not going to lie about it. But wait, there’s more.
2. I am never in there for more than 1 hour for actual workout time. A few exceptions but it is rare. I don’t have the time, the interest or the inclination right now.
3. Gym rats probably don’t sit in their car for a good five or ten minutes sipping their coffee thinking, ” Ugh, do I really have to go in there? Yes, Arlene, we do this every day, just get out of the car. Well, one more sip of coffee and checking Facebook one more time won’t hurt. And Instagram. And Twitter. Ok, I’m going, I’m going”. Does that sound like a gym rat to you??? Does it?
Hold everything. There is still more.
4. Does someone who rushes out of the gym in her gym clothes and sometimes forgoes showering just so she can make her next appointment, meeting or child’s school performance sound like she lounges around all day at the gym? I think there was another confession embedded in there. I do…shower. Most. Days.
So please, please everyone listen. If you are that person saying I can’t reach that goal because I don’t want to be a gym rat, I don’t have time to be a gym rat, I despise gym rats, good news.
A. I used to think that way. I get it. I have been there and know how daunting and overwhelming it all looked.
B. You are either:
a) using that as a fantastic excuse which is allowing you to only wistfully wish you could be fit and fantastic or
b) are truly under the impression that you need to be at the gym every day to achieve your physical fitness dreams.
Go back and read my blogs. I did not start out this way. I walked. I graduated from walking but it happened organically. I stopped deciding that I had to drop everything and become someone I wasn’t ready to become.
Read other people’s blogs. Go on forums. I have met women there who do ten minutes of exercise four times a day. TJ, my idol, gets up at 430 am to exercise in her home made gym (aka unfinished basement with a bench, some bands and a few dumbbells), has abs and buns you could bounce a quarter off of, and then proceeds to run a home daycare for 8 children plus a few of her own.
I know others yet whom started with Zumba on their son’s Wii Fit game box. Or whatever you call it. (my son would be so ashamed and embarrassed right now).
All of these women work at home, at a job outside the home and multitask like there is no tomorrow.
For real, readers. I understand. Hear me, I do not love, love, love the gym. But I don’t hate it anymore either. I had a phase where I worked out at home. I used to be a cardio queen. Now I can’t stand cardio and would prefer to lift weights. I’ve changed. And I’ll change again. We all do.
So, if I’m not a gym rat, why do I do it?
Because when I’m 64, I want to be flexible and limber and hot and sexy and travel around the world with my fit husband who better keep up with me and not necessarily travel on the seniors’ tour bus although some of those tours look way cool and I want to get on the floor and play with my grandchildren and not take lots of pills for aches and pains and because it feels so damn good now why would I ever want that feeling to go away?
So I tell myself, one rep, one set at a time and poof, all of a sudden you are standing on the other side of a workout and even closer to the woman you want to be tomorrow.
I may not be a ‘gym rat’ who is addicted to lifting or lives in the gym but I will so far as to say that, ” I sure do like parts of training.” Except leg day. Not sure I’ll ever like leg day.
And if you are a gym rat, you are very special and all the power to you. That’s fantastic and I am genuinely happy you know your passion.
PS Working on getting my video blogs up in the near future! Thank you for the feedback.
PPS For those of you feeling a bit uncertain with regards to nature of this post, please be assured, it was meant to be light, humorous but laced with my heart-felt advice and understanding that I know not everyone loves exercise. But I believe we can find workouts that feel like our soul workouts-one that we like enough to get us moving and grooving.
PPS To answer my own question in the title of the post: Hmmm. No. I am a gym…zebra.