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Not fit-ting in

I have been experiencing lately feelings of loneliness and frustration due to the fact that I exercise, but not primarily to improve my outward physical appearance.

The main reason I exercise, which I manage to do approximately every other day for an hour, is to keep my mood steady and maintain my mental health. I have found that this works better than anything else to keep me motivated, positive, and kind. (My husband certainly appreciates the last part.)

Since we moved to Chicago last year, I've built it as a regular habit and I'm pleased at that. It's been challenging to build that habit in the past and it's fantastic to have found a gym where the classes are engaging and challenging. AKA I don't hate exercising, it's a joy rather than a slog. I've noticed some muscles growing, some strength and conditioning gains, and that's cool.

However, lately as I've said, these feelings of loneliness. Backstory: this gym is small, and people are here only for classes and private training, not cardio or solo workouts as with a large gym like 24 Hour or LA Fitness. As a result, the experience is primarily communal rather than individual. This is, in most respects, a positive thing.

The other gym patrons are mostly women. Prior to class, they will congregate and conversate. I rarely participate because I have other things I do at that time. Joint mobility, foam rolling, stretching, exercises from my physical therapist and chiropractor. I could seriously, and have in the past, do these for 45 min to an hour. So no matter how early I am to the gym, I am busy working on my body. Usually I'm about 30 min early if there is not a class close in time prior to the one I'm attending. No one else that I've noticed does this kind of activity, though some will foam roll.

When I hear the conversations, and when I participate in them myself, I hear things that make me sad. The ladies will talk about their bodies and how they feel about them. Dismay at feeling fat, happiness at having lost weight, admiring this person's butt or waist etc. Not every conversation goes like this but enough to form a pattern.

And this is how I get the feeling of loneliness. That's not why I work out. I am all about body positivity and diversity, not hating your body, celebrating it for what it does and not what it looks like. I once heard someone describe another lady as "disgusting." I would never use that word for another woman's body. My goal is to build up other women, certainly not to tear them (or myself) down.

Not only that, but I have been trying to do more and push myself, partially inspired by American Ninja Warrior. So I will get pretty intense during the workout but sometimes feel self-conscious breathing heavily, making like exertion noises when everyone else is kinda not that intense.

I'm not sure what to do about this. It has just been weighing heavy on my heart lately.


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Synching or sin sing?

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1. The pronunciation of "syncing" would naturally be "sin-sing."

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4. "Syncing" just looks retarded.

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