Pumping Irony

One of the big ideas behind doing a fitness section of the blog was to gym-shame myself. Shout about going to the gym loud enough and often enough and I actually have to go to the gym. And I like going to the gym, so it shouldn’t be that hard.

I haven’t been to the gym this week.

This is where I say how terrible I feel that I haven’t made it. And I do feel a little bad. But the truth of the matter is I’ve been unavoidably busy and sometimes things like the gym fall by the wayside so I can do things like go to work and earn the money I use to pay for the gym. Working the shifts I do often means that entire days are lost to either the work itself or fatigue. Protip, if you want to keep your bodyclock, don’t go into subtitling.

Time was I’d be incredibly stressed about this. I’d be cursing my lack of time or energy or willpower. I’d be immediately thinking about losing every improvement I’d made since starting at the gym. I’d hate myself a bit. (a lot.) Before starting at the gym I wasn’t in great shape, but I wasn’t in terrible shape either. No one would have looked at me and worried about my health, The biggest health benefit I get from going to the gym is stress and anxiety relief.

I’ve never had major problems with stress or anxiety, in the grand scheme of mental health issues I barely register, what has affected me has knocked me off kilter and made me miserable for longer than I was willing to tolerate, while still leaving me in the position to do something about it. So I started running, and that helped, and the gym, and that helped even more. Call it endorphins or confidence or whatever you want. It worked for me.

So when I miss the gym, it’d be easy for me to go into stress mode. I could stress about the potential to be stressed, which is comedic and ridiculous. Instead I’m accepting it. All the gym memes about no excuses are bouncing off me like hard rain, unpleasantly expected but ultimately harmless. I don’t lack for commitment, nor am I lazy. I’m not a terrible person and I won’t get fat overnight – rather that will be a slow process beginning in my 40s, irreversibly.

I suppose the point of this post is just to address something I think every fitness enthusiast feels at some point, the pressure to work out. It can become a monolith hanging over your day and ends up sucking the fun out of something you otherwise enjoy. A stress reliever becomes a stress creator, something that made you feel good about yourself is making you feel terrible about yourself. We can’t let it work like that.

They say the gym and fitness is about commitment, and that means not giving up just because you stumble a few times. Failure isn’t falling down, it’s not getting up again. The “motivational” gym memes will mock you for phrases like “I’ll go tomorrow”, but you know what? Maybe you’re busy today. But you’ll go tomorrow. I believe in you.


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