Self Care Means That You Do Not Get To Skip Leg Presses, Even If You Are Kinda Famous. (My Fitness Journey – Vertex Fitness Diary 3)
When I met Dwayne for our workout last week, he grinned and asked me what it was like being famous. See, I went viral last week, and the strain of having so many eyes on me, so many emails in my inbox, and so many people ringing my phone off the hook was starting to get to me. It was time for some self care, and I was glad to have a reason to work out some frustrations on that darn leg press machine. (I would use stronger language but this is a family show.) What I never really appreciated before is how much of a break it can actually be to work out—how often do you really do something that is just for you, and focus on nothing but your own body and the effort it takes to make it stronger?
I don’t ever call Vertex Fitness a gym, because it really isn’t one. There is zero grunting. The atmosphere is relaxed and focused—there are never crowds of people in here, just clients working with their individual trainers on their own routines. I never think about what other people are thinking, whether or not the dudes expect me to stay on the elliptical, whether or not the ladies want me to give them elliptical time—you just don’t worry about any of that. It’s all about me for the length of my workout. That may seem like a strange thing to crave right when there is so much attention on me and my writing online, but as any woman on the internet can tell you, not all attention is good attention.
Long story short, my friend and I used to work in an office together, where we communicated with clients only over email. In an effort to show him how differently women are treated than men in the workplace, I suggested that we switch email signatures for a few weeks—and the results were eye- opening. You can read about the whole thing here, if you like. My friend wrote a series of tweets describing the short experiment, and it exploded. I was interviewed for Newsweek, I appeared on Good Day Philadelphia, and I was the subject of a post by George Takei on Facebook—truly, this is the pinnacle of my career.
But the internet has a dark side. I’ve been congratulated and thanked and chatted up by hundreds of strangers at this point, but I’ve also been called some really nasty things. (If you find yourself on the DailyMail website, trust me—do not read the comments.) I’ve been told I’m lying, I’ve been told I’m stupid, and I’ve been told that I’m a whiner who’s crying sexism and making excuses. Some of the things aimed at me are not fit to print. I’ve been attacked by folks who assume that I’m terrible at my job, folks who will never see my face and spew hateful things at me, safe from consequence behind their screens.
Needless to say, getting to the gym last week felt like getting a break. There are no screens there, and all of the internet trolls cannot touch me while I’m working out. My client emails can’t touch me, the idiocy on the news can’t touch me, and the hundred daily little beeps and dings and notifications can’t interrupt me when I’m working out. That may be why, during the workout, I realized something.
I had been completely neglecting the rest of myself the whole time I was preoccupied online. I wasn’t eating properly, but was skipping meals and bingeing on snacks between interviews. I wasn’t sleeping properly, but lying in bed bathed in the glow of my phone screen as I watched my follower count tick up late into the night. I was barely moving out of my computer chair as I struggled to keep up with the tide of emails, interview requests, and social media notifications. It was as if, for the week that I was getting all of this attention, I really was reduced down to my Twitter avatar and bio. But you can’t live online—you have a body that lives in the real world that needs much more attention than your followers do.
So for just a few minutes, I gave my real life body some more of the self care it deserves, which includes using my muscles to their limit so that they can be built back up stronger.
Also, you should know: Dwayne does not give you a break from leg presses, even if you are a little bit famous.
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