Archive for February, 2010

Body-Conscious

Fike Fitness Center: all the exercise machines were full when I was there

all the exercise machines were full when I was there

I grew up as a gymnast.  I know how to work out and be cool and physically fit.

And I was totally intimidated walking into the fitness center on campus!  The space is crannied and cramped, full of sweaty people–many of whom you know but wouldn’t dream of acknowledging, since you’re covered in sweat after jogging once around the track (which is a mere 1/10 mile!).  The eclectic mix of brick and sheet rock, mortar and metal makes it an interesting space to study while you’re walking in circles like a lost dog on the track above the basketball courts.  But the whole layout feeds into body consciousness of the highest degree:

There’s a pit.  A pit full of weights and machines, surrounded by other machines all facing into the pit.  It’s like the Roman coliseum or something!  Watch men flex their strength before swooning ladies, who don’t get the glamor of the sport but have the pressure to maintain perfect bodies.  So they’ll run in place in their cute little spandex outfits while they watch you flex your muscles and prove your virility.  The personal TVs are nice, but then it reminds me how media-obsessed our culture has become.  There is no solace in the simple quiet of private physical exertion–we have to always multi-task!

I really am not as bitter as I sound about working out.  It’s super refreshing to feel your body exert itself to respond to your cues to run and breath deeply and stretch and curl and lift and reach and flex.  And there’s a certain equalizing effect: everybody is sweaty and dying.  And people of all ages are there, enjoying all different kinds of workouts.  And if you go with a friend, there is a deeper sense of companionship that somehow happens when you look at each other and are both red in the face.  You laugh but not at each other–good healthy, motivating fun 🙂

Maybe I’ll go back to the gym…

Advertisements