I can’t even remember where I stumbled upon this picture, but I saved it on my phone because I have been (note the past tense) that waiting skeleton before. I had to alter it a bit (don’t I have great Photoshop skills? jk it’s Paint, because I’m 12 years old and lazy). The first boyfriend with whom I worked out regularly was way back in high school (thinking of HS makes me feel old now). Ironically, I met him at the gym (though we knew of each other from overlapping social circles), and it was perfect timing because I was first embarking on my passionate foray into fitness and exercise. Honestly, I probably have to partially thank him for fertilizing my devotion to and love of all things fitness and nutrition. When I met him, I was a typical girly gym goer: mainly cardio, afraid of the “boy” section with all the weights, etc etc. But he and I began to workout together, and though we would often do our own thing individually, he would also show me exercises and introduce me to new equipment. I wasn’t “out of shape,” but I really began to tighten and tone up… and then I was hooked. Alas, we broke up… but I continued to work out- I became my own motivator, my own gym buddy. I came up with my own exercises, and I explored all that new, scary equipment solo… and I’ve been a gym rat ever since.
Since that spark in high school, exercise, fitness, and health have been crucial elements of my life. Every day I’m hustlin’ in the gym, and every day I’m in there solo. In the past, I have tried to recreate that gym relationship and get boyfriends to work out with me, but it was always an uphill battle to develop this consistent gym routine fantasy I had in my head. To me, it was ideal. I have to work out, I should work out, you should work out, we should work out together. I like exercise, and I like you. I’m a multitasker and perpetually on some work-filled schedule or routine, so combining two things I loved? Well, that’s just science. Symbiosis. The best of both worlds. Especially in college, when my insane schedule left me with practically 2 hours to exercise, eat, and have some “me”/”we” time… working out together just sounded efficient.. and fun. But between differing schedules, differing routines, and differing energy levels, it’s hard to find consistent gym companions in significant others and friends. I love fitness, so it only seemed natural to me to want to share that with someone. I just wanted that mutual accountability from a friend, a gym buddy, someone who shared my love of fitness and health.
Then I realized that I don’t need anyone to workout with me or hold me accountable. I don’t need to wait around like skeletor up there for some Prince Cardio in order to enjoy working out. My boyfriend is the gym. We see each other regularly, he makes me feel great, and he gives me a glow (and toned abs). In fact, during the week, my routine consists of work, gym, eat, study/clean, sleep. However, there is an upside to having a very individual, independent relationship with the gym: I am my own motivator, my own cheerleader. No one is going to encourage me to go to the gym on days when I’d rather just curl up on my couch and melt my brain with some Bravo. Nope, that’s my job. I have to squeeze into my (dry-fit, spandex) big girl panties and kick my own ass.
The gym is my second home, one of the few places I can clear my head and silence my worrying, stressed mind. It’s my refuge, a respite. But I must admit, it does get kind of old when the only familiar faces in the gym are your favorite treadmill (TV and fan, plus a place for all my accoutrement), the Bosu ball, your trusty 15lb dumbbells, and those creeps that stare at your ass in the free weight area. Yes. I see you. You see me see you. Stahp. No, I don’t have a boyfriend, but I can probably beat you up myself.
Then, enter the group exercise class. I’ve recently become obsessed with a TRX class at my gym, for several reasons: 1. I love changing up my workout routine, 2. I love having my ass kicked at the gym, 3. I love TRX and have no other access to it, and 4. It’s fun! I finally have a gym community and some familiar faces! People to struggle with, people to sweat with, people to push through that last set with.
I don’t expect everyone to share my same routines and gym rat passions, but it’s nice to have friends with whom to be active- exercise classes, evening walks, weekend hikes, bike rides, runs through the neighborhood. So if you ever need a friend, a motivator, a gym buddy, a hiking buddy, or someone to explore with or hold you accountable for your health, you know where to find me. But know that you are your own best motivator, and you always have a gym buddy- it’s that person staring back at you in the mirror, checking your form, and telling you that you can do another set.
* Don’t write posts at 7am with no coffee- your writing and message will be a hot mess. Thus, I have edited this post to make my intention a little more clear: you don’t need to wait around for a girlfriend, boyfriend, friend, trainer, or whomever in order to have motivation or enthusiasm to work out. You are your own best gym buddy… although headphones and a good playlist are a close second! Although I have learned to motivate and push my own self at the gym, that is not to say that I haven’t received advice, support, and motivation from others, including past boyfriends. In fact, I owe a lot of my exercise know-how to one fitness guru in particular. These people can help you with the tools to success, but you have to be your own motivator and accountability. This is your health, you can’t wait around for someone else to get you where you want to be.