Be the Change You Want to See in the … Gym

Look at it. Mocking me.
Look at it. Mocking me.

Today, I’m looking for a new level of discomfort. I just got rid of the 1.5 pounds gained over Easter weekend, which wasn’t just about the food – although I must admit, I make really good cheesecake! – but some unfortunate stressors that had me seeking carbs and sugar.


I don’t try to be perfect. I can’t handle that type of pressure. But I am happy that I was able to put the weight on without thinking it was the end of the world, and that mindset is what helped me get it right back off.

Now, though, I’m ready to switch things up. Even though I love my gym, I strongly dislike getting on the elliptical at the beginning of each workout for my aerobics component. I do the “random” sequence, and have been increasing the level of difficulty, but it’s still the elliptical, and I’m bored. And resentful. (Yes, I am resenting a piece of gym equipment.)

I may just switch to the treadmill for a couple of weeks. I do like to walk, and maybe it’s just enough of a difference to keep me interested for awhile. The other option is the bike, but exercise bikes fall into the same category as tuna, grapefruit and iceberg lettuce: I associate them with all the failed diets of the past, and can’t stand the sight of them.

Change, however, is often uncomfortable. I’m in a rut, and I like it, and therein lies the problem. The good news is, I like change – and all its prickly unpredictability. For example, two hours ago I knew exactly how this day would unfold. I’d sit here sipping tea and writing my blog, then go pick up my daughter from school, come back and work on a book-editing project for a few hours. Afterward, I’d drop off my daughter at her cheer gym, then go for a late afternoon workout. Later, I’d wash my hair and braid it, so it’ll be nice and curly for my meeting tomorrow in Winston-Salem. I’d then prepare dinner, do my nails and get a good night’s sleep. Smooth sailing, right?

Except life intervenes. This time, in the form of a hurry-up project dropped via phone from a friend, whose client needed a lengthy PowerPoint converted into business-plan format, like, pronto. Going to take at least five hours, easily. Exit peace, enter stress.

The first thing to go is the gym trip, and that’s a problem. So I think one of the biggest changes I’m going to make is scheduling regular, early-morning workouts. I prefer mornings, anyway, and lately, my days – and therefore my plans – have been tilting sideways. When I do finally make it to the gym, I’ve got a bad attitude as I approach the elliptical. (See? It is all the elliptical’s fault.)


This is an ideal time for change, too. It’s April, it’s spring, time to shake things up as I move toward the 25-pound mark. I’m thinking of taking a Body  Pump class, which I think is the one with all the barbells. I’ve watched the class a couple of times, and it looks difficult and tiring. More importantly, it really works the arms. Here in Raleigh, we reached 90 degrees twice already this week. It’s already time to go sleeveless.

Folks, I’d like this to be my first sleeveless summer. Ever.

It’s time.

Every small, positive change we can make in ourselves repays us in confidence in the future.  ~  Alice Walker


Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.