Baby Steps, Fitness, Random Ramblings

So…I did it. I actually joined a gym.

I never thought I’d join a gym, not in a million years. Joining a gym puts me so far out of my comfort zone, you might as well have predicted that I’d also travel to Mars. If you talked to me a year ago, the odds seemed roughly the same.


My first gym membership card!


Last week, I checked out all the gyms close to my home. I made a last minute decision to bring my teenage son with me which turned out to be a huge benefit. If you’re like me and have NEVER stepped foot in a gym since high school, it can be extremely overwhelming. I think the hardest part was stepping through that first front door. But having an extra body with me meant that I had an extra set of eyes and ears to check things out. I talked to the staff members and asked questions while my son quietly observed. My son picked up on things I wouldn’t have noticed, both good and bad. He really helped me with my decision-making process. Then I sat with my decision for a few days before joining.

So far, I’ve only used the treadmill. I took the advice from the folks at Nerd Fitness (waving hi!) and decided to start slowly. I don’t want to injure myself. I already own three pairs of Vibrams, so I’ve been wearing those. Yes, my shoes look a little strange, but they force me to walk lightly, with shorter steps. MUCH easier on my knee. You physically can’t go clomping down with your weight in your heel while wearing a pair of Vibrams! There’s no padding to cushion your feet.

I’ve been wearing Vibrams since I read Christopher McDougall‘s book, Born to Run. That book was a game changer for me. It was a Community Read in my area back in 2016. If I hadn’t read it for book club, I wouldn’t have touched it. I would have assumed this book wasn’t for me…and I would have been wrong.

Before I read Born to Run, I’d try to go walking in my neighborhood, but my knees were so arthritic, I couldn’t make it a habit. It never occurred to me that I’d been walking wrong! I didn’t know there WAS a right and wrong way to walk. It’s just walking, right? How can you walk wrong? Well, you can. And, I was.

If I lived in a climate where it was practical to go walking outside year-round, I’d prefer to walk around my neighborhood rather than on a treadmill. But this morning, my car’s temperature gauge said it was -12 °F outside. (-24 °C) That’s just too brutal. So, I went to the gym, stretched, got in a mile of walking, stretched some more, went home, and ate breakfast. Not a bad way to start the day.

Eventually, I’d like to try other things besides walking. My new-to-me gym offers free classes as part of its membership. A yoga class could be fun. There was a circuit training class going on this morning, but it looked rather intense for my fitness level.

As a side note, Lord of the Rings fans: did you know it’s 1779 miles from Hobbiton to Mount Doom? I’ve only been to the gym, twice now. Two miles total. If I were to start at Bag End, I’d still be in the Shire, following the hedgerows, south. But, I’d be two miles closer to Rivendell! What fun link! I might follow the Hobbit journey in my imagination. It’s 458 miles from Bag End to Rivendell. The Hobbits went 458 miles in 27 days! I’d probably be able to make it in two years. (I’m no Hobbit!!!  LOL)

It’s too soon to tell, but I think going to the gym is a positive step. I want to do this for my heart and my health, not out of shame for my body. I’m used nurturing myself with food. I’m still VERY new to thinking of exercise as a form of self-nurturing. It’s going to take time to change my mindset.

Have you joined a gym? What are your thoughts? As a newbie, I’d love to hear your advice.

xo Juli


16 thoughts on “So…I did it. I actually joined a gym.”

  1. I totally get you – I was SO nervous when I first joined a gym, and I never expected to join one either! But I’m glad you took the first step – proud of you!! Being healthy is a lifelong journey, changing your mindset to understand that exercising is good for your overall health and body takes time because it took me awhile to understand it too. But don’t worry, eventually you’ll get there I assure you! Keep it up! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s so awesome! I’m so proud of you! I know that must sound silly, but I am. It’s a huge step forward, and you being brave enough to not just do it, but to talk about it, is awfully encouraging to others. You go, girl! *highfive* 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Highfive back at ya! Thank you so much!!! Went to the gym this morning. So far, 90% of the effort has been in getting up and actually GOING. Once I’m at the gym, I feel good. It’s getting less scary each time, but it’s hard getting over the inertia of just sitting and doing nothing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, such a celebration! I love hearing how you went about the process of choosing a gym, the care you held yourself with. How you took your son with you for support, how he contributed to your decision making. It seems like a special moment between you, the kind that goes into the memory book?
    Born to Run is one of my all time favorite, most inspiring books. I have been living with neuropathy now for 8 years and walking barefoot in the world, while something I long to do eludes me!
    Thank you for writing and posting this piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!!! I’m so sorry to hear that you are living with neuropathy. That must be very painful and frustrating. (HUGS!!!)

      My family has been so supportive of me, which helps a lot. The hardest part has been getting over the inertia of NOT moving, of staying in bed and not going anywhere. That’s TOUGH!!! I worked out this morning. It was the hardest morning so far because my motivation is beginning to wane. From now on, I’ll have to rely on discipline to get me out the door. And of course, I’m also fighting my own inner monologue, the one that seems to thrive on shame and low self-worth. That’s tough too! I thought about this as I was walking this morning. I had to remind myself that I’m NOT going to the gym because I’m flawed or not good enough. I’m going because I’m tired of being tired all the time. I’m tired of not having the energy to do the things I want to do. I’m doing this because I love my family and I don’t want to have a heart attack or a stroke. I thought about how devastating it would be for my son if something happened to me, something I may have been able to prevent. That helped me get into a better mindset. It would be so easy to shame myself into feeling like a failure. Which…makes me turn to food to feel nurtured, which makes me gain more weight, which makes me feel worn out, and sore, and depressed, and the cycle continues. It’s not the food that gets me into trouble. It’s my feelings of not being “enough” that triggers my downward slide.


  4. I had never heard of Vibrams before this of course, i had to go check the website. Toe shoes but not for ballet! How cool is that? I know I am walking “wrong”..but with a bad hip (no replacement for a few years until Medicare kicks in) and bad a wonky ankle have me walking incorrectly…but I am still walking! e have a few gyms in the city but they are all too high priced for me…checking out the ymca now though. Maybe, just maybe I can afford that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you can figure out what size you wear, you can pick up Vibrams off of eBay for a third or less of the original price. They are WONDERFUL because they allow you to use your full foot, including your toes. I have questionable balance, so I feel much safer using these shoes rather than typical sneakers. Before this, I tried special shoes and insoles, but the pain continued in my knee. The thicker the padding under my feet, the harder my foot would come down when I walked, especially against my heel. It threw my entire body out of alignment.


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