Wow!  A post that isn’t a log of numbers!  Every once in a blue moon it happens.

I find myself using the gym more as a refuge these days than a place to party.  It’s ok, we all go through cycles.  It can depend on what drew you to the gym in the first place and what keeps you there.

I was drawn to the gym because I am introvert.  I recharge my battery when I am by myself.  And then along came the gym, where I can both lose weight, get strong, live on a series of incremental numbers (a big draw for me, I love numbers), and live in my own head for a while.

I tend to be alone in the gym about 60% of the time.  I think working out with a partner has its advantages, in terms of the cooperative energy, sometimes the spirit of competition, the trust you build up that lets them push you farther, the pride you feel when you can observe and offer tips on someone’s form.  But when you work out alone, you can just retreat inwards, and flush your mind out from what everyone else has to say.

As an introvert, people often tire me out.  People can be frustrating, disappointing, insincere,  and slow.  When I work out alone, I can strain, push, sweat, exhaust myself, AND flush my mind out from everyone else’s garbage.  I can get back to me.  After a long day of work, I can go to a gym and exercise all the crud and pollution out of my brain.  Peace, quiet, metal smacking together, the sound of your own breath.  It’s almost meditative.  I have also had exceptional luck getting in a workout JUST before work, it lets me clear my head and build up a little shield or buffer I can use as I wade into the pool of human  contact.

 

 

 

There is room for the gym to be whatever you want it to be.  And lately, I have yearned for peace and quiet and the sound of my own thoughts.  When I work out alone, in between sets I stare at the clock, I watch the second hand tick down.  Everything has its place.

 

To borrow a line from the Spanish poet Maragall:

Tot semblava un món en flor
i l’ànima n’era jo.

The gym simplifies down the world, and I can place my breathing and my heartbeat and the blood rushing through my body at the centre of that world.

 

So sometimes when I am at the gym, and I am not feeling chatty, it is nothing against you.  I am meditating.  Because I need it to find balance.

 

I have always thought that if I had to pick my power animal, I would pick three – the snake, the lion and the sheep.  A Chimera.

 

 

 

I am not always in the same mood, it varies.  Like a plane with 3 pilots, sometimes one of them takes the wheel and the others offer advice or stay silent.  In the gym, when the lion is at the wheel, I am loud, boisterous, braggadocious, aggressive, going for a PR.  I want to be the centre of attention.  Grunt = roar.

When the sheep is at the wheel or giving advice, I crave a workout partner – to see them do well, lift lots of weight, correct their form, spread the gains around, be a team.  Be chatty, do some cardio together, sweat with someone, gossip, etc.

When the snake is at the wheel, I am contemplative, thinking, meditating, trying to feel the contraction, concentrating, in the zone, silent, focused.

All of them lift weight, all of them approach it differently.

 

Lately the lion and the sheep have been hogging the wheel a lot.  The snake comes out only 60% of the time, like I mentioned above.  But lately, the snake has been wanting the wheel 100% of the time.  More of a snake lion combo, snake tells the lion when to flex his mane so we can hit a PR.  So nothing personal to any workout partners, to my trainer, to other people training around me.  I still care for you all.  But I am meditating.  Be back in a little while.

 

 

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