Why I drag myself to the gym

I kind of hate strength training, but I’m planning to do at least two 30-minute sessions a week this marathon training cycle.

Not because it’ll make me a better runner, even though I think it will. Not because it’ll prevent injuries, even though injuries suck and I want to avoid them. And not even because I particularly care about being strong. I know enough guys (and a few ladies) with more upper-body strength than an ectomorph like me could ever build, and I can recruit them for help on the rare occasion I need a really heavy thing moved.

No. I am strength training for the Dayum Moments.

No matter how much I run, if I’m not doing any kind of strength training, my body looks approximately like it would if I weren’t running. I’ve never been one to balloon up too much if I’m being a total slacker. I run because I enjoy it.

When I got into the habit of going to a full-body strength class in early 2010, I started noticing that I actually looked as fit as I felt. I’d catch a glimpse of my stomach in the locker room mirror, and I’d see shadows around my ab. (No, I never worked out enough to get more definition than some on either side of a flat-ish rectangle atop my stomach. It was still an improvement over no definition.) I’d raise my arms to pull up my hair, and I’d see biceps. I’d say, “Dayum! Muscles!” Hence the term “Dayum Moments.”

Sometimes these moments are captured on film. Here are a few:

My first Dayum Moment. This photo was taken during my 800-meter PR race senior year of high school. I had joined a gym that spring and this was my first glimpse of arm muscles.

After a few months of consistent weight training in spring 2010. My back! My arm! I should be in the WWE!

Near the end of last fall’s Philly Marathon. My right quad. Check that out. Granted, I wasn’t strength training much at the time, and this is probably just a spasm caused by running 25 miles, but hey, I’ll take it.

They say that people who work out for vanity’s sake aren’t as consistent about it as people who work out because they enjoy it, but how am I supposed to enjoy picking up and putting down objects in a too-hot room filled with people grunting? Suggestions?


About Meghan Loftus

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3 Responses to Why I drag myself to the gym

  1. I used to hate weights too, but then I started doing them with a friend. It kept me motivated and she would tell me how awesome I was looking. Also, it helps if you do fun stuff with weights and work out without meaning to. Case in point, I’ll do squats with my 50 lb nephew on my back because he thinks it’s fun. Just don’t try it with lunges. Ouch.

    Also, for toning… POWER YOGA.

    • mgloftus says:

      Yoga makes me nervous because I’m afraid I’m doing the moves wrong. I need to find a small class with a good instructor. The instructor of the class I’ve gone to gets super flustered and that negates all the relaxation benefits.

      I don’t have a 50 lb nephew, but I have a 20 lb cat. Hmm…how can I use Nermal for fitness gains?

  2. Ouch! I have a grandma yoga instructor. She’s amazing since she’s all about doing it correctly. And she sometimes gives you light massages in final relaxation and it’s the most amazing feeling in the entire world. My extremely nerdy shut-in boyfriend loves her. But then I have the power yoga instructor who is just moving you constantly.

    Have you tried beginner’s yoga? Even if you’re physically fit, small beginner classes that focus on position would be a good jumping off point until you start to recognize when your body is in the right position.

    Also, arm curls with Nermal! You can warm up by chasing him around the house!

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