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My Complicated Gym Relationship

by Meghann on February 18, 2011

A year ago next month I joined my first gym.

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Whoa that photo doesn’t even look like me anymore!

I was iffy about joining. I did a test run weighing out the pros and cons and eventually the pros (fun classes, close distance to work, pool for triathlon training, etc.) won.

At first it was a match made in heaven! I made it to the gym two or three times a week. I developed a regular weight routine. I took advantage of the fun classes. And I was able to train for my triathlons via the pool.

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I kept up with the routine up until last fall. Then right after I ran the Chicago Marathon my great gym motivation came to a crashing hault.

Instead of focusing on strength training and classes, I became obsessed with training for the Palm Beach Marathon. All of my energy was dedicated towards earning that sub-4:00 marathon. Training for that sub-4:00 led to a complete burn out. Not just with running, but all things fitness related (including the gym!).

Nearly 3 months have passed since Palm Beach and I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been to the gym. ๐Ÿ™ In less than two weeks I’ll be moving to Tampa and that gym membership I was so proud of last March will dissolve in the move.

I’m not sure how to move forward from here. Do I look for a new gym in Tampa? Try to rekindle that energy I once possessed? Triathlon season is just around the corner and I’ll need a pool to start training again. My siblings and I have out hearts set on a Half Ironman in September and it will be hard to train for that without access to a good pool.

Decisions. Decision.

Even still I tried to rekindle that gm relationship this morning with a visit to said gym.

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I hopped on the elliptical for 30 minutes, watched the Today Show, and read a new-ish issue of Self. Then I hopped over to the weights where I grabbed two 10 lb-ers and did a little of this and a little of that.

I’ve said it once before – and I’ll say it again – I NEED A GYM BUDDY! I seriously think that is the missing link here. I’m just not as motivated without someone else by my side. Maybe Derek will be my new gym buddy? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Also, this ‘burn out’ funk I’m currently in has caused me to lose any definition I once possessed on my arms. This should be motivation enough to start picking up those weights again. Or at least try to squeeze a few push ups in.

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After the gym I came home to a jar of Overnight Oats in a Jar waiting for me in the fridge.

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Today’s Overnight Oats came courtesy of this lovely jar of Trader Joe’s Almond Butter and included

  • Almond Butter ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • 1/2 cup Rolled Oats
  • Plain Yogurt
  • Almond Milk
  • Chia Seeds
  • Raisins
  • Cinnamon

Topped with

  • Plum
  • Granola

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Good to the last drop.

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IT’S FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1 Courtney Smith February 18, 2011 at 10:03 am

Maybe you could find a gym with a month to month membership? That way if you don’t feel like going for a while you don’t have to feel bad about it.
Courtney Smith recently posted..Busy- Stressful- Crazy- Happy week

2 Ali @ Ali on the Run February 18, 2011 at 10:03 am

Some people just aren’t gym people โ€”ย I think that’s fun! You love running and you do it so much, plus you have a “home gym” with all of your exercise DVDs. I don’t think you need to force yourself to love the gym if it isn’t something that comes naturally. You still get plenty of healthy activity and exercise!
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3 Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin February 18, 2011 at 10:04 am

That’s a tough decision! I have a gym in my building, and the one thing I miss is the classes. But, if you’re doing it mostly for the pool – I bet you can find a local pool you can swim in for free. In DC, we have a really nice indoor Olympic sized pool that is free for residents.
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4 Lizzy February 18, 2011 at 10:04 am

I go to the gym alot with my fiance and its so fun to be gym buddies. I think Derek should be your new gym buddy ๐Ÿ™‚
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5 Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete February 18, 2011 at 10:04 am

I didn’t know you were interested in doing a HIM!! That is so great!! Yes, you will need a gym membership or at least a membership to a public pool if you are going to attempt this HIM. Maybe you can even start swimming with a masters group. Just a suggestion!!!
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6 Karolina February 18, 2011 at 10:05 am

You do need a gym buddy! It’s MUCH easier to go with one! If you’re triathlon training, and would use the gym, then I’d say sign up! Don’t sign up if you’re going to just be paying a membership fee every month…
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7 kristy @ kristyruns.com February 18, 2011 at 10:05 am

You have (had) palm trees in your gym!!! Only in Florida. ๐Ÿ˜‰
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8 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 18, 2011 at 10:05 am

Breakfast looks yummy! I think you should shop around for gyms for a while in Tampa. You never know, you might find one that really inspires you! You’ve got the advantage of having great weather, so it’s not like you’d need to put your running on hold while you search around. I know that here in Canada, it’s common for gyms to offer discounts at the end of the month when they are trying to meet their membership quotas. Good luck – I’m sure you’ll be out of your funk soon – and ps, I think moving is good weight training on its own! ๐Ÿ™‚
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9 Dori February 18, 2011 at 10:06 am

I think finding a gym in Tampa is a great idea because it will be a new gym with new classes and it will be exciting! Maybe you can make friends there too.
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10 Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete February 18, 2011 at 10:07 am

I’d look for a new gym in Tampa and see if Derek wants to join too? Or maybe when you’re at the gym you can find a gym buddy there? I’m sure you have a reader who would be interested — no?

I like to workout alone — at my pace. When someone tries to “push” me I end up getting frustrated and wanting to quit. I do best at pushing myself!

11 Courtney February 18, 2011 at 10:11 am

I totally understand your dilemma! I moved from CT to NY and unfortunately my relationship with the gym has suffered. Someone above quoted about joining the gym with Derek, that’s an awesome idea. I get motivated to go to the gym when my sister comes home and when my friend and I go…someone’s depending on you to go, that’s a good motivator I think!

good luck!
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12 Callie February 18, 2011 at 10:15 am

My gym is JUST over the Howard Franklin bridge into Pinellas (very first exit) – if you join there, we can be gym buddies! ๐Ÿ™‚
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13 Derek February 18, 2011 at 10:43 am

If you’re talking about 4th street…yeah, not too far.

14 Christina February 18, 2011 at 2:24 pm

You guys aren’t talking about the LFF on 4th street by any chance, are you?

I’ve got some suggestions on this side of the bridge as well if you need a gym buddy!

15 Katie @ cooklaughmove February 18, 2011 at 10:15 am

I don’t have a gym buddy that I workout with but seeing the same ladies in the locker room every morning is enough to keep me returning a couple days a week. We sometimes don’t even chat, but just knowing that they are there working out is enough to get me there working out too!

16 Deva (Voracious Vorilee) February 18, 2011 at 10:15 am

I had a few months of gym burnout and lost some definition while at the same time, gained six pounds. Now I’m back in the gym with a new set of goals: I want to run a half in May and I want to be able to bench press 80 pounds by year’s end. For me, I find having set goals in mind, like bench pressing X amount, or ellipticizing on X resistance for 10 minutes, etc, make it easier for me to get to the gym regularly.
Deva (Voracious Vorilee) recently posted..Thawing Out

17 Tami February 18, 2011 at 10:19 am

you really should be training for your half in open water most days once you start swimming regularly so with the summer months coming, i’d say wait until the fall to go to a gym. having workout buddies is what keeps me motivated. once the ice on the lake melts and it warms up, we’ll be swimming there in the early mornings. is there a triathlon club that you could join?
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18 Katy (The Singing Runner) February 18, 2011 at 10:22 am

I just got a gym membership at the local YMCA. I needed something better than my campus gym and the Y has a pool. I’m injured and cant run- left shin splint- and I need non impact cardio training to stay in some what good shape. Right now I have been religious about going to the gym but I wonder how much ill go once I’m over the injury hump. I know ill go on cross training days but I would hate for my membership to go to waste.
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19 Kerry February 18, 2011 at 10:26 am

Coming from a similar gymbition turnaround, I thought about my reasons for why I’d want to join a gym. Realizing that if I wanted to eventually go for my CPT being knowledgeable in weights was a MUST. Plus, I’ve always wanted to try out a crossfit so I can’t go in there looking like a wimp ๐Ÿ™‚
Kerry recently posted..Reflections from the weight room

20 Ashley February 18, 2011 at 10:27 am

I think if you’re used to being outside a lot it could be boring to work out in doors. Maybe you could get a gym membership that was monthly or focus on group classes.

21 Cristina L February 18, 2011 at 10:35 am

My husband and I visited a friend in Orlando and we worked out in that gym, I was in heaven because of all the StairMasters they have. I had a slight obsession with those machines.

I stopped lifting over the summer because I hated being inside, but now since it’s winter (I live in Upstate NY), I’m back to lifting, I need it to keep toned.

22 Alaina @ The Jogging Concierge February 18, 2011 at 10:37 am

I’ve lost all motivation after my last race in December too. And I’ve lost the definition. I’m going out for a run today so I hope that that kick starts my butt again! ๐Ÿ™‚
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23 Elizabeth@The Sweet Life February 18, 2011 at 10:38 am

Gym buddies are definitely the best–maybe Charlotte at the GFE will let you one of hers?! Happy Friday!
Elizabeth@The Sweet Life recently posted..Book Review- Poser – My Life in 23 Yoga Poses

24 Hope February 18, 2011 at 10:39 am

I’m SO glad that it’s Friday! This week took forever to go by!! Bring on the weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚
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25 Beth @ DiningAndDishing February 18, 2011 at 10:41 am

I’ve always belonged to a gym although since moving in September, it’s the first time I have not. I miss it terribly! The group classes are the best in my opinion. They’re engaging and lively – so much nicer than working out alone in my apartment fitness center :/.

26 Mimi February 18, 2011 at 10:41 am

My love for the gym comes and goes โ€” This time of year, after spending WEEKS inside, I have a lot of trouble getting motivated for my gym-time.
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27 kathleen February 18, 2011 at 10:49 am

given the choice, i would forgo the gym membership and get a yoga membership. honestly, when you’re running and training for races it’s nice to stretch, meditate and possibly nurse injuries/tweakiness. plus, it gives you something to do after the event you trained so hard for is over and you’re kind of burnt out.

i’m sure tampa( in the summer) has to have some sort of municipal pool or college nearby that will allow you to use the pool for a small fee or possible free.
kathleen recently posted..Rethinking weight loss or running doesnโ€™t make you skinny

28 Matt @ The Athlete's Plate February 18, 2011 at 10:54 am

I think Derek is the PERFECT new gym buddy ๐Ÿ˜‰
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29 elissa February 18, 2011 at 10:55 am

I feel the same way about the gym. I debated joining a gym so that I could use their pool but then learned about the San Luis Obispo Swim Center. It’s a swim center for the community and is opening for lap swimming in the morning, at lunch, and in the evening every day. It only costs $3 a swim which works out well for me and ends up being cheaper a month than a monthly gym membership. Maybe see if the area you’re moving to has something like that.

30 Mia February 18, 2011 at 11:02 am

some communities have free pools that are open for lap swim certain hours of the day. When I lived in DC there was even an indoor community pool open to the public that was completely free in my neighborhood. I think if the only reason for joining a gym is for the pool, you should look for free options first.

31 LauraJayne February 18, 2011 at 11:17 am

I have a love-love relationship with the gym – but I live in a FREEZING climate that is covered in smog during the summer, so I pretty much have to exercise indoors. Do you have a LifeTime fitness location that is close? I found that Lifetime made me a gym believer!
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32 Fit Chick Britt February 18, 2011 at 11:31 am

I’m not a big gym person either. I go for a couple spins and yogas a month, and when I’m training for a tri also I will use the pool. Otherwise I’m running outside or doing free weights at home. BUT, if you have your heart set on a half ironman you are definitely going to need a gym for the pool.

33 Kathleen @ Kat's Health Corner February 18, 2011 at 11:36 am

Almond Butter is my favorite! ๐Ÿ˜€
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34 Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine February 18, 2011 at 11:41 am

I’m a total gym rat, but my motivation for anything but running wavers when I’m training for something. I feel like if I lived in a warmer climate, it would be easier to go without a gym membership, though- plenty to do outside!!
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35 Kelly February 18, 2011 at 11:43 am

It took me awhile to get back in the routine of going to the gym when I moved to VA. Now that I’m back in it though, I’m ejoying it.
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36 Michelle February 18, 2011 at 11:49 am

Maybe find a place that does month-to-month contracts and give it a whirl? Definitely involve Derek – it’s good for couples to sweat together ๐Ÿ™‚

When I moved back to Orlando (after living in Tally for 8 years) , I didn’t know anyone and going to the gym really helped me make friends. I met people by regularly going to classes (spin/body works). It was kinda awkward striking up conversation at first, but it turned into chit chat after class and then, gradually progressed into getting coffee. Now we have a weekly Target/Starbucks “date.” So, I started going for the workouts and I stayed for the friendship. Who knows – maybe you WILL find inpiration at a new gym!
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37 Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat) February 18, 2011 at 11:57 am

That’s hard. I like the gym for classes. I don’t like doing weights on my own. I much prefer to turn my brain off and let someone tell me what to do. Maybe check out the gyms where you are moving and see if they offer anything different or interesting. Maybe there’s a gym with a pool only type of deal?
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38 Grace February 18, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Maybe the new-ness of finding an awesome gym in Tampa will motivate you and shake up your routine?
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39 michelle February 18, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I live on an army base with access to about 5 full loaded gyms with new equipment…. for free! Not sure I would pay for a gym membership if I didn’t have access like I do.
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40 Kara February 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I recommend getting a girl gym buddy, guys just don’t cut it. At least my husband doesn’t! ๐Ÿ™‚ He wants to be at the gym for a fraction of the time that I do and he doesn’t want to dish about celebrity gossip like I do ๐Ÿ˜›
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41 katie February 18, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I think it would be great for Derek to be your gym buddy!!!!

Yay for Friday! xoxo
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42 ashley February 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I personally vote sign up for the gym. I’m a long distance runner too and cross-training at the gym has been invaluable for me. It keeps me from burning out on running because I have other options and allows me to maintain a higher level of fitness due to working out different muscles. Also, I heart the stairmaster, it develops my quads and booty for running and just hurts so good haha

43 Kelly February 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Have you heard of those programs where you have to pay when you don’t go to the gym? I’m not exactly how they work, but it sounds like a good incentive to go.
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44 Kacy February 18, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I always like to belong to a gym. I just love the feeling of being inside a gym. Plus, I’m usually single and I live alone so it’s nice to have the human interaction. That said, I suck at the weight thing. I have to do Body Pump or else I’m lost.
Kacy recently posted..A Healthy Habit Journey- Post 4 from the SIL

45 Marci February 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm

I have two things to share with you about the gym, mostly about re-evaluating how you view the gym. Anyone can burn out from the gym if you don’t have a purpose or goal or something to look forward to. I started viewing the gym as my playground.
http://www.marcigilbert.com/2011/01/19/the-gym-is-my-playground/

And I like to be around people too and have been doing CrossFit for over a year now. Here’s some basics about that, but the good thing is that it’s not in a traditional gym with machines, and you could do this and find a different pool if that’s an option. Just some ideas!
http://www.marcigilbert.com/2010/09/14/how-to-crossfit/

46 Victoria February 18, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I used to go to that same gym! Since I live in College Park, it got to be too difficult to trek up there after work. Too much I-4 traffic. I got a road bike and my husband bought weights, so that seems to work out for us OK. However, I would love to take more classes!
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47 Lorin February 18, 2011 at 2:23 pm

It is so weird that you posted this because lately I haven’t had any motivation to work out. I haven’t worked out since Tuesday and I normally work out at least every other day, but with college and clubs and stress, I haven’t felt like sweating. Plus, I feel like the gym isn’t as effective anymore so that also deters me. I have also lacked motivation to eat healthy, I had half a cookie and always have dessert every night, which is fine, but eating vegetables doesn’t sound good anymore and normally I love eating veggies. How would you or anyone recommend getting motivation back?

48 Kim @ Imperfectly Perfect February 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Man, I wish my gym looked as empty as yours does in the pic. I have to fight for everything (even parking), which has caused me to not visit it as much as I used to. Luckily, I’m moving within the next month and my boyfriend said that he doesn’t have the same problems with his gym. At least I know where I’ll be signing up. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I think it would be great for you to find a gym buddy. My boyfriend said that he’ll be mine (even if we aren’t training right next to each other) and his sister-in-law also invited me to come with her.
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49 Honey B. Nutrition February 18, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Oh so familiar with this topic. You totally need a gym buddy if that’s what does it for you – more likely a few gym partners for different days/classes/etc. Also variety is so key in not getting sick of the gym – also not injuring yourself. Mix it up between gym and outside – ooh it’s getting warmer!! And make yourself a schedule and write it down. My husband and I came up with this complicated regimen and printed it out and put it on the back of our front door. We built in variety, rest days – and most importantly a punishment/reward system! You don’t want to make it about punishment, I use that word lightly – we definitely created this schedule in a way that keeps it fun! Happy to send it to you for an idea if you want. Good luck! x
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50 Angela February 18, 2011 at 2:52 pm

If you do decide to join a gym in Tampa, I just wanted to recommend the YMCA. Its fairly inexpensive to join, and they have locations all over town. I alternate 3 of them that are all within 15 minutes of my house, depending on what kind of workout I want that day. Some of them even have running and triathlon clubs, so lots of ways to make friends and they lots of great classes too. I switched from Lifestyles to the Y a few months ago and loved it. I really feel like it gives me so much more than just a gym! (I don’t work for the Y I swear – this post is so sales-y :0)

51 J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) February 18, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Mmmmm! That jar of overnight oats looks sooooo good! Love all the crunchy toppings ๐Ÿ™‚
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52 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 18, 2011 at 3:28 pm

I need a gym buddy when it comes to doing weights. Everything else I’m fine about!
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53 Ellie @ The Mommyist February 18, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I say forget the gym and use the pool at the local rec center. It’s cheaper and it’s a great way to support your local community.
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54 Tara February 18, 2011 at 9:00 pm

I was like you, once I started focusing on training for long distance races, the weight training went down the drain… and also any definition I had! Now that I have no races to train for coming up, I have started doing the p90x program. So far I love it. I forgot how GOOD it feels to weight train!!! It’s like an instant confidence booster. This program is great because there’s such variety in all the 12 dvds. Maybe you could start something like that, which doesn’t require a gym and you can do at your own home. I have also been doing it with my husband, which gives us something to do together that we both love.

55 Grace February 19, 2011 at 11:19 am

I used to have the same problem. I was a gym member, went all the time and then it just sort of ended and I didn’t really ever want to go back. I do triathlons and other endurance races and haven’t had a problem training without the gym. Tampa has great public pools, if that’s the major issue, (which used to be free, but sadly are not anymore) that are pretty darn cheap. Any questions you have about anything Tampa related, shoot ’em on over, I’ve been here forever!

56 Ali @ Ali Runs February 21, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Is it funny that every time I see pictures of you with your short hair it makes me want to cut my hair short–I really love the way it looks. I’m just worried because my hair is so thick and I hope it wouldn’t be too unruly.

I went off on such a tangent. I also struggle with the same issues with my gym. It’s necessary to have up in NY because the weather prevents me from always getting outside to work out. But in the summer, I know that I will barely be at the gym. I don’t know if it’s worth the money.
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