How to Cure Dysfunctional Gym Syndrome

I’m an 80’s kid.  I watched Olivia Newton John strut across my giant tube television screen as she “got physical” and I’ll never forget Jennifer Bealls’ sexy leotard as she danced bare bottomed in Flashdance.  What a feeling it must have been to wear a sweatshirt so loose a boob slip was inevitable or a leotard so tight a camel toe adjustment was needed every take. 

80’s workout gear revealed more than just rib cages and pelvic bones. Even Disney’s Mousercise featured the trainer wearing belts and suspenders to compliment her thigh high, neon leotard.  It’s no wonder “Great Shape Barbie” wearing heels and leg warmers or Richard Simmons’ short shorts and sequined tank tops are still popular Halloween costumes two decades later, but can you imagine actually working out in those clothes?

I blame the 80’s for my dysfunctional gym behavior.  While I didn’t show up in leotards and pumps, I did view the gym as a place to be seen.  I walked in with full make-up, beautifully groomed (and tanned) legs and underarms, and the best workout clothes a teacher salary could buy.  If the clothes were dirty or the legs weren’t shaved, that was reason enough to skip the gym.  When it was time to hop on the treadmill I made sure my ponytail swayed as I walked as fast as I could, without running, and as soon as I started to sweat, I hopped off.  

If you’re thinking I’m superficial you’ve never been to LA Fitness at 6pm.  Some girls my age wouldn’t even be seen in a ponytail; They look like they just came from the salon, their perfectly formed tresses flowing down their back as they lifted 10lbs in front of a mirror.  Maybe they suffered from the same 80’s syndrome I did because they weren’t concerned that their hair would stick to their sweaty back and look like a hot mess by the time their workout was complete… BECAUSE THEY WEREN’T THERE TO ACTUALLY SWEAT!

Fast forward to 2010 where female fitness icons showed women that muscle is sexy and how hard work (aka sweat) is necessary to getting a toned body.  Soft curves have been replaced with athletic ripples and recognized as the new sexy, but it takes hard work to get that type of muscle definition.  Women seeking the new sexy have to be ready to sweat so much that shapes form in places that would have made Mickey Mouse and his Mousercise crew blush.

Recently, one of my class instructors wore a pair of gray capris.  About 30 minutes into a 50 minute kickboxing class, a wet spot started to seep through her pants.  She saw it, shrugged and kept kicking ass.  She wore her vagina sweat like a badge of honor.  It made me think, had Olivia Newton John ever sprung a leak in her leotard?  

A few months ago, I was doing crossfit.  On a particularly tough WOD, I turned to look at myself in the mirror and noticed everything was drenched, except two circles around my boobs.  I had worn a regular bra in my rush to class and it showed through to the entire gym.  10 years ago, I would have been mortified, and I have to admit that a tinge of embarrassment did surge through my body.  Then, I had an epiphany, “who cares?”  That goddess looking back at me was a red faced, pineapple headed, armpit stubble, sexy beast who had just pushed her body to its limits for 60 minutes straight.  That boob sweat rockin’ bitch was the sexiest thing I had ever seen.  Doctor, I was cured!

My 80’s syndrome was treated by some amazing female trainers that didn’t let me stop because I was too tired or concerned about what I looked like in the depths of my workout.  They showed me that true confidence and strength comes from within.  

It was also cured by my beast of a husband who stinks up the gym at 5 am every morning and our resolve to eat clean, healthy foods.  They’ve all shown me that it’s not about the image that you put out in the gym, it’s about being healthier and actually becoming stronger.  

My mantra to my 80’s self:  Vagina’s sweat, armpit hair grows, make-up melts, hair gets tangled, and if it doesn’t, you’re just not working hard enough!


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Diet Flaws and Some Must Needed Changes

I generally eat healthy and my kids enjoy a variety of food, but I have some serious health flaws.  I love a fast, easy meal, even if it is terrible for me, I don’t eat breakfast, and I hate going to the gym.  Sometimes my car is filled with fast food bags and I hate myself for it.  Other times I’m blasting my mom of the year recipes on Facebook and making my kid’s school lunches the envy of their friends.  Why can’t I be more consistent?  Because I’m expertly flawed, of course, but here’s my attempt to try in 2017.

  1. Stop eating out

Sometimes I actually convince myself that I’ve been so productive that I deserve to be treated to a meal someone else cooks for me.  Other times, I convince myself that I’m just too tired to cook a meal for myself and my family.  Either way, some weeks we eat out more than we cook and that needs to change!  Pintrest get ready, because I’m coming for you!  I will be pinning recipes and actually cooking them!  Night one Baja fish Tacos… Yum! One night a week I will treat myself.

  1. Eat Breakfast!

I’m guilty of running out the door without breakfast.  Most days I purposely skip it and have even been guilty of not making my kids eat breakfast as well.  I’m not sure if there’s something chemical to not wanting to eat so early in the morning but it seems so since they couldn’t care about this important meal either.  I’ve heard nutritionists, coaches and my nagging husband say that it’s the most important meal of the day.  It jumpstarts your metabolism and gets everything moving.  So, I started the New Year off right and bought some yummy breakfast foods at the grocery store.  My breakfast is a piece of whole wheat toast with almond butter and a smoothie.  I’m still struggling with finding healthy breakfast foods my kids will eat.  Share some of your favorites with me (here)

  1.  Sweat at the gym, not over eating clean all the time

I don’t have any gluten free requirements or allergies so why do I obsess over eating clean all the time.  I obsess over it so much, I sometimes skip a meal (or stop and get something completely unhealthy) just to rebel against the cutting and prepping that preparing fresh food requires.  This DOES NOT mean that I’m going to abandon fresh foods completely, I’m just not going to sweat it if I include carbs like whole wheat bread or brown rice lunch or dinner.  AND FRUIT!  Screw the sugar… I’m eating fruit dammit!

4.  Exercise for an hour a day 4-6 days per week

Eating right is only half the battle… and all that blather.  I know I have to get my exercise on if I want to feel good mentally.  Plus, I’ve noticed that when I’m in a regular workout routine, I naturally want to eat better.  After all, why suffer through an hour of pure pain, when one fast food sandwich will throw it all away?  

5.  Stop being so hard on yourself (period).

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