I love Spring Break. Spring is the gateway to summer with beautiful weather and my daughter gets a nice long break to re-group before the end of the school year. However, before this Spring Break, I had some stress. Last November, I planned a family vacation in Mexico, a resort. It’s my dream getaway which includes but not limited to: margarita’s, Mexican food, snorkeling and paddle boarding. This time I planned the trip with two other families. It’s a first for us. With my daughter being an only child, it sometimes can get a bit boring for her with just the three of us. This vacation, she has friends and I can just sit by the pool for a bit and relax. You may be wondering why the stress? The thing is I NEVER get seen in a bathing suit with people I know. Well, almost never. I did go our community pool once and swam. Many of the parents of my daughter’s school were there which made me break out into hives and have a panic attack. Running from the pool deck to the dressing room was the closest I’ve ever come to being in the New York marathon.
Well, something had to be done. Being a procrastinator, four weeks before the trip I decided to hit the gym. I’m in Hollywood; there are so many places to work out. Outside is usually my favorite, but with the heat and my hot flashes, indoors it is. The LA gym scene can be intimidating. I decide my first stop would be the Hollywood YMCA. I love the Y. I mean it’s a place where you don’t have to worry about what you look like at all. Roll out of bed and on to a machine. Everyone is different shapes and sizes and speaking multiple languages, I feel comfortable. I start my workout week with Pilates. Then I move to Zumba which made my head spin. I realize my rhythm is way off and I look like a flailing bird. After a week of classes, I’m starting to feel more energized and less frumpy. Ok, I got this. the classes are good, but I need to step up my game, really go where the hot people are so I can motivate myself and imagine the possibility of looking good. Next stop Easton Gym.
At Easton Gym everyone is hot, including the cleaning crew. Since everyone there has a fitness level of a 9+, I decide to try the Yoga class. Why kill myself? The teacher went light on me given the state of my workout clothes. Shit, I forgot to have a pedicure. I force myself into a Zen state. The class was amazing, I was feeling my muscles again and energized. Being a gym rat is not sounding too bad at this point. After class it’s 11 am, the gym is packed. I’m wondering what these beautiful people do all day to have this kind of time. Being fit is hard work and these people make it their full-time job. I’m jealous; I just don’t have that much time or motivation. I may need something a little in between the YMCA and Easton, so I decide to try a new gym BUILT in Studio City.
Our friends are the owners and let me tell you, they look amazing. I covet their fitness level. They are a dream couple. With that motivation, I get on my tummy hugger leggings and t-shirt with long sleeves and I’m off to the races. Now, this is my speed. The space is gorgeous, the members are various ages and sizes, but there is real training going on here. They have a wide variety of classes, but one in particular catches my eye, the ATTITUDES class. I can bring some attitude. I grab my spot and the ladies come pouring in. I don’t think I’ve been in an exercise class where I’m the youngest one by twenty years, ever. Joining, they eyeball me skeptically. I think how tough can it be? The playlist starts with Fitz and the Tantrums. Well alright. The instructor is fun and engaging. These ladies kick ass and take names. Huffing and puffing and lifting and sweating. The only distraction in the class is the ladies clashing over the air conditioner. By the end, I’m dripping with sweat and I can feel their acceptance. I’m in. A wave a relief and exhilaration washes over me and I’m ready to come back into the fold.
However, as the four weeks whiz by and my routine is cemented, I’m feeling good; really good. But somethings off. My jeans are still tight. There are not falling off me. I’m not looking that great. far from that toned mythical creature I imagined myself to be at the end of 4 weeks. I’m not as young as I used to be. I eat ok; I drink a bit of wine and have limited amounts of stress. The scale doesn’t move that much. I know what I put in my mouth is vital. I try to eat like a mouse. Crumbs. “Oh no” I gasp, vacation is imminent and I cannot wear sweats and a tank top all vacation. Reality sets in. Do I go into a panic mode and have liposuction right away or go to a sweat lodge and sweat for 24 hours straight only drinking water? Am I that vain? I threw cold water over myself and snapped out of it. You see, I’ve raised my daughter with positivity, loving yourself and your body. I better practice what I preach. I decided to do the opposite of my normal self and just let it go. LET IT GO. In my middle age, I strive to free myself from all things neurotic.
Long story short, I did it. I survived. Although I did have my moments, I managed my paranoid fear. For the first time in years, I posted a photo of myself in a bikin. I felt empowered and also thrilled that I could hike up to a gorgeous view after snorkeling all day and snap this photo. I did end up in my bathing suit pretty much 24/7 in front of friends; we were in Mexico for goodness sakes and in the water most of the time. Now that we’re back, I missed working out. The gym is becoming more of a friend than my foe I’ll be headed to back Yoga at Easton, Zumba at the Y, and my ladies at BUILT. This may be the start of a beautiful relationship of being.
For more information on the gym’s mentioned in this blog, please see links below:
Body image is a cultural problem.. the body shaming , the social media body type crucifixions, the beauty myth created by advertisers.. My friend Dorian Wood is a one man wrecking crew smashing the beauty myth ingrained in each of us… Nice storytelling
My fear of entering a gym full of ‘hard bodied’ people is only surpassed by my fear of the beauty counter girls at Niemans. Words of encouragement such as yours resonate well with us timid ‘gym mice’. Even better to know that locations such as ‘Built’ offer classes (laced with humor and grace) for those of us that don’t live life under the glare of movie lighting yet still want to shine. Thank you Monica!
One thing that I have noticed as a behind the scene gym person is that there is no such thing as the perfect body, but there is strength to be built, energy to be gained and comaradery to be found at the gym that fits you . Beauty comes in many, many packages and is always changing and evolving ..love yourself on the inside and work on your self on the outside but realize that you are amazing the way you are…… and Monica YOU ARE! Xoxoxoxo
This post is amazing! I love and appreciate your honesty. I am not one to ever walk around in a bathing suit or be photographed in one for that matter. But I decided to let it go for our trip and I am so glad that I did. It was a great trip and I loved spending time with you.
werk it girl! you look amazing and you are amazing! x