Dave’s Journey With Eating Free: Week 49

I’ve been working out three times a week with Billy since March 2011.  Starting in December, he started having me work out for part of our session without him, so I that I would start learning “independence” in the gym.  The day is coming where I will no longer work with Billy three times per week, and I’ll need to be ready.
As I’ve mentioned in recent blogs, part of my post-CTF plan is to join a gym close to my apartment, because I honestly believe proximity to my gym will be a huge key to my success going forward.  I love working out at DIAKADI and appreciate their generous gift of allowing me an “open gym” membership (for life!), but I know that my life will be much easier if I can pretty much roll out of bed and into the gym instead of adding commuting legs to and from DIAKADI to my already hectic life.
So I joined a major “chain” gym that is a mere 115 steps from my front door.  (Yes, I counted.)  This particular gym has been staring at me, mocking me, for years as I walked by and ignored it!   And this week I started working out there on my own to get a feel for it.  And all I have to say is this:  Since CTF has been my first gym experience, I never realized I had it so good at DIAKADI until now.
My new gym is pretty crowded.  I have a wait for equipment to be available longer and more often than at DIAKADI.  The equipment isn’t as well cared for; I couldn’t the horrific rattling sounds coming from some of the cable machines, and the saggy yoga balls could use some air, etc.  Plus this gym is really stuffy and humid, and it’s so cramped that it’s hard to find a space next to a weight station if you are doing circuits.
I showed up on my first day and was shocked to see how crowded and busy the gym was at 3:30 on a weekday.  I tried to ignore everybody and just focus.  I started poking around, looking for my usual tools-of-the-trade and was disappointed that couldn’t find certain things that I’ve always had full access to at DIAKADI.  At one point I was looking around, frustrated, and suddenly felt intimidated when I turned around and realized that like 20 people on cardio machines were facing me while I schlepped around not knowing what I’m doing, where I’m going, and what I’m looking for.  I actually started to panic; I had a feeling like I didn’t belong in this gym and I almost left thinking I’d come back in the late evening when it was less crowded because I felt like everyone was staring at me (which they weren’t, but this is panic, mind you.)  But then from nowhere a quiet calm came over me and I basically told myself I had to do this NOW and start figuring this out NOW because this is going to be my new life.  I looked down at my exercise log, found a place to park my yoga ball, and got to work.
I realized quickly that I had learned so much from Billy and could improvise my way through any exercise or activity even without the exact equipment I regularly used at DIAKADI.  I was looking for a dual cable station and remembered that I could do this one particular exercise with a single cable if I modified it a bit.  I used a plastic step to support my hands on another exercise, instead of a rolled up rubber yoga mat.  For something I usually use a staff for, I went without the staff and just paid particular attention to my form.  I was fine.  Everything was fine.  I got a decent workout in the end.  And I called Billy afterwards to review my substitutions and he had some helpful suggestions that I implemented in my next workout.
More than anything, it felt great that I turned my intimidating neighborhood gym into an ally, and I overcame my fears of working out on my own.  The new gym isn’t exactly home but I will make it work, even if it requires a bit more patience and hand sanitizer.  The staff has been very nice and I can’t beat the location; I don’t even have to use the locker room there because I can just change at home which is pretty convenient.  No gym bag to pack: I just walk out of my house with my water bottle and keys and leave my phone and wallet at home.
DIAKADI has been my routine, 3 times a week for over 11 months…now my priority is to set a new routine.  If later on I decide I don’t need my precious 1-minute gym commute, I have other options in the immediate vicinity and of course DIAKADI will always be there for me.
My DIAKADI friends will still see me around the gym, from time to time, as Billy will still be teaching me the workouts I’ll be doing on my own.  And I do plan to pop in on Saturdays now and again.  I won’t be a stranger, I promise.

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