Friday, August 21, 2009

Motherhood: Perfect Cure for Avoiding the Gym.

Written by Ally Loprete

If you are anything like me, and I doubt it because most people tend to disagree with me on the subject, then you hate working out, too.
In the 35 years that I have been alive, I confess, I hated the task until about 3 months ago. Hated it with a capital H. I would have preferred to swallow glass. Probably the biggest reason I kept my distance from the gym is because I don’t like to sweat. If I didn’t sweat, I could get away with not showering for a few days- and because I have horribly frizzy curly hair that needs to be straightened (no, wearing it curly is just NOT an option for me, don’t even go there), I didn’t have the patience for sweating and thus, I hated working out.
But that is not all. I didn’t understand people who pretended to love it…seriously, I was convinced that they were all just liars. The few times in my life that I did attempt to get physical by joining a gym, I found myself counting the seconds before I would allow myself to stop. I could barely last 5 minutes. Climbing up stairs, riding a stationary bike, or on a fancy shmancy elliptical machine… how in the world did anyone find this fun? It was mundane, it made me lose my breath, it made me sore the next day, and I never really saw a loss in weight. It only seemed to increase my appetite and therefore resulted in a weight GAIN.
People actually liked this? I didn't believe it. I had talked to a few people who told me about the “runners high” from an apparent release of endorphins. Never happened for me, and I admit that I began to wonder if it was all a myth, or perhaps they’d all drank the same Koolade of which I had yet to get my hands on.
But, I am here to tell you that in a strange turn of eventsd, my feelings for the gym have recently changed. No, there was no Koolade, and I did not recently discover some magical berry drink from the depths of the rainforest. The cure for hating the gym? MOTHERHOOD.
I am a proud mamma of two precious little boys: a toddler and an infant. As much as I truly appreciate that I have the opportunity to stay at home with my children, it wasn’t until the second one came that I realized how rare a commodity a nice hot shower was. If I ever found myself able to take one, say after dropping the 3 year old off at pre-school, and perhaps getting the baby to fall asleep, it usually ended up with the baby screaming in mid-shower and me rushing to get the shampoo out of my eyes all the while yelling out to the crying baby- “I know you need your binky, sweetheart. Mommy will be right there!” Think I was going to find a moment to blow dry and straighten my hair then? Forget it.
It wasn’t until I got myself a gym membership, which included child care for a mere $10 more a month per child, that I discovered the silver lining. If I actually worked out a few times a week- I could reward myself with a nice long hot shower, and maybe even have some extra time to pamper myself with a blowdryer and some make-up! Now THAT was worth going to the gym for.
But there were more great discoveries for me just around the corner. I had 2 hours all to myself at the gym- so by gosh, I was going to make the best use of this time. As a mother of 2, time to myself almost seemed like a lost cause up until now. This next little discovery is probably going to make most of you go, “well, duh!” but for me it was like unlocking the secret code to life, happiness, and those mysterious endorphins. Are you ready? Music.
I know, simple, right? But I never actually tried working out to music before.
I love music, and who doesn’t? I had even gone as far as studying it in college. As a singer and a pianist, I had a great love for all types of music and theory. But since becoming a mom, the only music that graced my home and my car was to the tune of “the wheels on the bus go round and round…”
Now with my new found 2 hours of “me time” I was going to allow myself to listen to music that I wanted to hear- anything I felt like! I had forgotten what magical powers music had! Completely behind in the trends, I finally figured out how to download songs to my blackberry. I invested in some itunes, put on my head phones and traveled into another dimension. I was filled with such bliss in my escape, that I almost didn’t realize I had been on the stairmaster for an entire 40 minutes sweating up a storm- and actually enjoying it. Yes, the girl who didn’t believe in working out was converted. Instead of dreading the minutes in which I huffed and puffed, I began watching the clock to see how long I had to stay in my happy place before hitting the shower.
I can honestly say with true commitment, that for the first time in my life…I have become one of THOSE people. You know, the freaks who actually enjoy going to the gym. Oh yeah, and that stubborn baby weight is finally starting to come off. It’s a nice little added bonus.


  1. I'm so glad you found your "zone." And, yes, making sure I had a choice mix, to work-out or run to, was a big turning pt. for me as well. Now, here's a bump for ya... singing will help you even more. In the marines, part of the reason for singing cadence was breath control.
    Now, as far as the jungle-juice goes... I swear by Acai and Naked Juice is one of my guiltiest pleasures. And finally, I've always LOVED your hair curly... just saying.
    Mmmmuuaaah! Hugs to you and the boys.

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  3. I'm almost sorry to lose you to the growing number of gym converts. You know, if you lived here, we could spend two hours at the spa while my daughter babysits. Just saying...

  4. Cathy DiBella ReayAugust 21, 2009 at 5:42 PM

    omg i could not agree more. i hated working out and honestly wish i could go to a gym but they do not have child care. (when she goes to preschool that is another story) but i love getting lost in my workout and believe it or not i find i have some extra energy and who couldn;t use that with a toddler. i just can;t beleive it took me until now to love it.

  5. PS. How do you do the treadmill thing without spilling your martini? I haven't figured that one out yet.

  6. Andi- why didn't you SAY SO??? be right over..

  7. Ally, good for you! You should put your playlist up on the blog, too -- inquiring mommy minds want to know what you're listening to for 40 minutes on the stairmaster... or at least I do. :P

  8. And Andi, you just put the martini in the Camelbak and nobody's the wiser...

  9. Welcome to the Dark Side...I am a gym rat.

  10. So what you're telling me is, to lose weight I need to have a baby?! Crap

  11. I'm with John. I too forgot to ask what you're working out to. Do tell.

  12. Musical Theater- what else? The mistake I made in the past was putting on hip hop fast paced stuff that seemed like I was SUPPOSED to get excited about. It didn't motivate me like I'd hoped. Now I am jamming to Les miz, West side story, Hair, JC superstar and Wicked. (Believe it or not, "Loathing" has become the true climax! Who knew?) Are ya with me yet, Andi? Still have me confused with everyone else?
    I do also have some dave matthews, ben folds, phish, and flecktones.

  13. Okay, here is my music list, for those that asked. No making fun. I know I am a musical theatre geek. This list is not neccessarily about inspiring me as much as it completely distracts me from what I am doing. I truly get lost in the music.
    Heaven on Their Minds (from JC Superstar)
    Cool (West Side Story)
    Don't Drink the Water (Dave Matthews)
    Free (Phish)
    Freedom (George Michael)
    Jive Talkin' (BeeGees)
    Mess (Ben Folds Five)
    Man in the Mirror (Michael Jackson)
    So Much to Say (Dave Matthews)
    What is this Feeling? (Wicked)
    When your Minds Made up (from the movie "Once")
    Farmhouse (Phish)
    Zak and Sara (Ben Folds)
    I Don't Want to Know (Fleetwood Mac)
    Mercy Street (Peter Gabriel)
    Oh Me, Oh My (Imogene Heap)
    Stomping Grounds (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones)
    River Valley (Moxy Fruvous)
    Phantom Limb (the Shins)
    One Day More (Les Miserables)
    Let the Sunshine in (Hair)
    Still (Miss Saigon)

  14. I've been working out at the YMCA now for about 18 years. I regularly go three times a week. Each workout consists of 30 minutes on the stationary bike and 45 minutes making the rounds of the weight machines.

    But, I don't enjoy working out. However, I get great satisfaction from "having worked out." That's what keeps me going back.