Nothing’s more motivating than knowing that the menopausal women at the YMCA could easily kick my butt.

My friend’s friend gave me a long, inspiring rant the other night about how all you need to get fit is running, push-ups, and rock climbing. He told me about how he’s gradually built up his endurance and muscle from simple home exercises. Which is very well and admirable for him.

I have less willpower than that. The only way I can get myself to do push-ups is if someone’s screaming at me to do them, so I decided to start going to classes at my local YMCA. I was already going to the gym, and the classes are free with membership, so why not? Maybe they could make me push myself a little more.

And boy.

They do.

Nothing’s more motivating than doing kickboxing with a tiny 60-year-old woman who not only has more endurance than you, but is also more flexible and more muscular than you.

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The younger people in my classes casually talk about how many half-marathons they’re running this year.

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When you’re lifting weights next to a pregnant woman who looks like she’s ready to burst into labor any second now, you know that there are no excuses.

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These classes can push you hard. In a free weights class I go to, the instructor takes pleasure in her students’ pain.

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It doesn’t help that I was never fit to begin with. I have zero core or upper body strength, a fact that I discovered very quickly.

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These classes are exhausting, but they definitely make me try harder than I ever would on my own. I don’t know if they’re working, but I’ll keep trying! It’s for my health, after all.

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Geez, I’m such a try-hard. Oh, well. Hey, if I keep trying, maybe one day I can look like this!

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(Though I’m willing to settle for less.)

Gym rivalries

I go to the gym regularly enough. You know, healthy mind, healthy body, yada yada yada.

And when you go to the gym often enough, you start to notice certain patterns. Consistencies. The same type of person, over and over again. Every time I went to the gym back at home, I would always see these people:

And, of course,

Now I’m in college, though. Northeastern’s gyms are not nearly as diverse. Mostly we’re filled with

And with this new population, I’ve noticed a sort of…contention between fellow exercisers. Correct me if I’m wrong, but did it ever seem like people sometimes compete with each other?

Or the weight room. Oh, the weight room. They’re always full of guys working their biceps and triceps and the like, trying to show each other up with larger and larger weights.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Staying in shape is admirable, after all. Though I get a bit uncomfortable when I find myself coerced into an unintentional race. Especially because I suck at running. When I did track and field in middle school, I stuck to long jump.

But those are just my offhand observations as I attempt to stay fit! Hopefully I can drop those several pounds I gained over the holidays. Oh home cooking, why must you be so delicious?