Fitting into a routine

What is fitness?

To me, it’s three hours a week at the McKennan Fitness Center. It’s attempting not to eat an extra helping of dinner. It’s resisting the constant barrage of snacks and soda that trumpets through the basement at work.

It’s determining how many more times I need to swing my legs around on this awkward elliptical machine. It’s watching people do stretches, and sit-ups, and jogging, and wondering if I should be doing those things myself. It’s quickly deciding that, no, I don’t need to do those things.

It’s listening to The Roots. Loudly. It’s skipping the jazz selections on my iPod because, well, they aren’t really that easy to work out to. It’s watching ESPN on mute, which is better than not watching ESPN at all because we don’t have cable at home. It’s watching the other people on the treadmill and wondering what they’re listening to. The new Justin Timberlake? Some podcasts? The Cars?

It’s about looking not just two weeks ahead, but two months ahead. It’s about counting calories, but not really caring how many I eat. It’s about wanting to lose about 35 pounds, and wondering if I’ll ever be able to do it.

It’s realizing that I’m going to have to start lifting weights. It’s about realizing that I haven’t lifted weights since I was in high school. It’s about realizing that I wasn’t very good at it back then, so I can only imagine how I’d do now – ten years later.

It’s about self-consciousness. As in, do I look like a moron on this machine? Should I wear this t-shirt when I know it’s grown too small? How could I have ever let myself become so lax in my fitness?

I don’t know when it happened, but it did. I’m enjoying working out. It’s new to me, and my schedule allows it. I come home feeling good.

But for how long? We all want a quick fix. Especially me. I’ll soon have a program to follow, a set amount of weight to lift, treadmill rubber to run, and elliptical leg to swing around in an awkward motion. I’ll have a personal trainer that will keep reminding me of how overweight I’ve gotten since I entered college, and how I’ve done little to nothing to change it.

I used to ride my bike everywhere. Now? I ride it less than three times a month. My excuse? I don’t have one. An excuse, that is.

What is fitness? It’s realizing that things only get worse if you let them go. And it’s realizing that I can’t expect change without changing myself.

This was lovingly handwritten on September 13th, 2006