Gray Matters — Towanda!

By Tanya Mitchell | Sep 20, 2012
Source: File image

Belfast — A few weeks ago, my good friend Jenn asked me if she could come along with me to Bay Area Fitness and try out a little weight training.

"Sure, I'd love to have the company," I said. "But I'm worried you're going to end up hating me."

"I won't. I promise," said she.

Once I had her word that no amount of self-punishment in the name of personal fitness would destroy our 30-year friendship, I very much welcomed having Jenn as a workout partner.

The thing is, I'd had a pretty nice routine going since last fall, and I managed to get into the gym between four and six days a week. That routine ramped up after the unexpected closure of the VillageSoup Journal back in March. Hey, you'd be surprised how quickly the combination of boredom and unemployment chisels away at any excuse you may have had not to go to the gym (i.e., "I'm tired," or "I don't have time," and my personal favorite, "I'll get to that later.").

But after I returned to work for The Republican Journal a couple weeks later, my regular routine came to a screeching halt (insert excuse here).

I've made it back into the gym a handful of times since then, and for anyone out there who's ever spent time lifting weights, you know how well your muscles respond to that kind of activity when you engage in it sporadically. Talk about sore.

But now I had the chance to work out with a partner instead of going solo, and that sounded pretty good to me.

Sometimes it's so easy to allow yourself to admit defeat before your body is truly exhausted, all in the name of bringing a premature end to the struggle. But I'm quickly learning that when you work out with a friend, you get the benefit of having someone at your side who always encourages you to push yourself to the limit, even when you've begun to believe you have nothing left.

While we work, we catch up on each others' lives, crack jokes, and we've even settled on a battle cry — "Towanda!" For those of you who are unfamiliar with the film "Fried Green Tomatoes," "Towanda" is the mantra the main character, Evelyn Couch, uses to empower herself and take back her life. How fitting.

And so, after a couple of weeks of tearing a page from the book of Towanda, we both look forward to going to the gym together, as well as interacting with the awesome people we regularly see there. I'm also finding that just as I am benefiting from Jenn's encouragement (and her occasional good-natured insult), Jenn is getting so much from all the positive feedback she's getting from our fellow gym members.

And, as Jenn likes to point out, she gets the chance to talk to lots of handsome fellows every time we go in to work out.

My response to that has always been and always will be, "Whatever keeps you coming back."

So, to my friend Jenn, thanks for getting me off my butt and inspiring me to get serious again. Towanda!

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