Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Three times

Back at IU, I was given a statistic that it takes three attempts before you will stick to some sort of exercise. For me that is only partly true.

In middle school, a friend and I decided we wanted to be real muscular human beings so we did crunches, attempted pushups, and rode bikes for very long periods of time over very large areas. So we did not get very far on the muscular scale, needless to say, but the bike rides were always great fun. We would one day ride into town which was roughly 7 miles one way. Another we would ride all over the nearest golf course because they had a lot of hills until we would get chased off. The people at the golf course never seemed to get wise to who was riding all over their property. They just knew some teenage boys were doing it. That friendship ended in high school and the bike rides no longer felt worth doing as I would have to do them alone.

So once high school ended and I took up skateboarding, I took a whole new approach. This was to be mostly a singular activity and I would not make the mistake of hinging my enjoyment on whether or not I had a friend along.

While at Vincennes, I tried twice to take up weightlifting. I walked into the gym for that first day feeling very out of place. Something about moving weights around felt very odd to me so I quit the first time after about two weeks. The second time, I went with a friend and he showed me a couple exercises which helped me with my confidence in even being there. I kept this up for about month and a half and I put on some weight, which somehow freaked me out because I could not equate being muscular with being heavier. I quit again.

As mentioned previously, my interest in skateboarding started to wane back at IU. They started charging for a gym fee regardless of whether or not you used it, so I figured I was going to at least use it. It took me some time to find the SRSC and I literally skateboarded right in front of it one day. Needing to use the restroom and knowing this was a campus building, I went in to find out it was the gym. A couple weeks later, I finally got up the nerve to go in. I had some rules though. I had to use a day locker and I should be able to workout in whatever I was wearing. Should I need a change of clothes, that was to be done in the bathroom and everything thrown in the day locker. I had a very severe phobia of people seeing any part of my body unclothed. The first few months was more or less spent playing around, trying to learn exercises, learning how to do them right, and doing them in no particular order whatsoever. I watched people bigger than me do their exercises and mimicked with very light weight. I went at it with a lighthearted attitude that this thing was not to be taken very seriously.

Things started to change. I learned that this time this is what I want to do. I noticed my weight increasing and it did not bother me as I could not see any difference anyway. I started to use the locker room and started to bring clothes to work out in. The concept of lightweight clothes to allow for maximum mobility would still come later, but actually changing in a locker room around people was a huge step. My workouts started to take shape and I became more focused.

I tried climbing and stuck with it immediately. That did not take multiple attempts to make happen. I felt natural there and I knew I would be able to come into my own very quickly and naturally.

I learned to make the two work together. Climbing would complement my lifting and likewise for my climbing. Somehow climbing brought to the table the last piece of the puzzle for me as far as fitness goes. I could finally feel at home in a facility designed for exercise. I can focus on something and be good at it without being a total meathead about it. I can enjoy doing both, one, or the other without them turning me into the people I despised back in middle/high school. I can work with and be supportive of people without being harsh, bullying, and so forth. And I know how hard it can be for people to start something new. It certainly was hard for me to understand that I do not have to be extremely skinny, and that I can be muscular without having what I consider a bad mentality.

Some things just take time and many attempts to get it right. Believe me, I am the true embodiment of that.

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