I had a lovely experience at the gym this morning, and that’s not sarcasm. At the end of my workout, I felt I hadn’t pushed myself hard enough, so I grabbed a jump rope off a hook in the yoga room that was not being used, and jumped for 30 seconds. (That’s harder than it sounds.) I had seen another mom from my kids’ school using the jump rope at this gym, and had been thinking I should try it.
When I got my jacket and purse to leave the gym, now sweating properly, I saw that mom out of the corner of my eye. She was jumping rope with impressive rhythm. I went over and told her that she had inspired me to try jumping that morning. (Give me one gold star for pushing myself to give warm fuzzies to someone I hardly know, right?)
We started talking about jumping rope. She gestured to her phone, which was on stopwatch mode, and explained that she was on a jumping kick and had invited a bunch of friends to try it with her. She said she’s been improving over the course of the month and shared some of the variations she does: one-foot jumping and backwards jumping. She said that when she started, she could barely accomplish two one-foot jumps in a row.
We joked about the side effects of jump-roping for women: feeling like your uterus might fall out or that you are peeing a little.
She mentioned that when she began this particular exercise kick, she felt self-conscious about jumping rope in the gym, where people could see her.
“But everyone is doing ridiculous things in here,” I said, thinking about the grunting and downward dog stretching that was happening all around us.
I wasn’t allowing her to have her embarrassed feeling. I was telling her she shouldn’t feel that way.
But then I remembered that there was one piece of exercise equipment that I have been wanting to use, but avoiding, because I felt embarrassed about it. I hadn’t even realized that’s what I was feeling until I told her about it.
It is a pair of huge ropes that are anchored to the wall. They’re called “battle ropes”, and you wave them up and down as fast as you can for a high-intensity interval.
Can you see why I might feel stupid doing this in front of other people?
I feel like I’m not entitled to those ropes, like they are for big firefighters, or people who workout really hard. Guys with mustaches, maybe.
My new friend said that she had never tried the battle ropes, and then suggested, “How about next time we see each other here, we do it together?”
Well that is flippin’ brilliant, isn’t it?
Suddenly it seemed so doable. Imagining the two of us taking 30-second turns made me feel like it would be totally normal to shake oversized rope up and down with all my might in the middle of a flourescent-lighted room. I might even let out a grunt.
The rest of the morning, I kept thinking about how that shift in perspective made me feel. It was so simple: do it with a friend. Or in this case an acquaintance whose name is definitely Betsy or Robin, I’m not sure which, but I’ll definitely figure it out before we embarrass ourselves together.
Photo credit: Art Of Manliness