My legs hurt.

Ten days without a blog post? I think it’s time we talked about sports.

I am not a naturally athletic person. So it came as a shock to myself, and my family (particularly my dad who still doesn’t quite believe it), when sport became an instrumental part of my life at university. It’s not that I like exercise. More, that I love food. When I discovered that I could eat everything I wanted guilt free if I just exercised for a large percentage of my week, well, I was sold.

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I am based on FIU’s North campus which has a distinct lack of sports opportunities. The gym is… ok. But when I asked where the floor area was the girl at the reception looked at me like core exercises were the Devil’s work. South campus (35 minutes away) is the place you want to be if you’re looking for a team. I had been so sure that I could cope without a sport (and more importantly, a team) but I’ve found myself at a bit of a loose end. Working out but never feeling satisfied. Counting calories rather than thinking of food as fuel. My mindset was rapidly changing from “I am training!” to “I need to not get fat” and honestly, that’s not the kind of person I want to be.

On Saturday I decided that enough was enough and I drove down to Coral Gables for a session with the Olympic Weightlifting team. I had been interested since seeing there was a team back in June and Sarah had confirmed my interest by saying, “It’s like rowing but without the cardio!” Which, quite frankly, sounds like heaven. I had written it off because of the distance but finally I cracked and decided that I had to give it a shot. It was completely worth it.

There were a couple of regular members there and five newbies like me. We got taught basic technique and for two hours I did squat after squat after squat. Their coach is Cuban and speaks minimal English so that was a harsh wake up call for me as to how bad my Spanish has gotten (although I have been reassured since that Cubans are almost impossible to understand). I could tell that he was telling me to do something with my feet… but I couldn’t decide if he wanted them narrower or wider. So I would shuffle them one way (“No no no”) and then the other (“Si! Eso es!”). It is now Tuesday and stairs are still being avoided at all costs. Parts of my body ache that four years of rowing didn’t make ache. This. Is. Awesome.

I fully plan to try and make this work around my other grad school commitments and my teeny tiny graduate budget. I didn’t really need any more convincing after Saturday afternoon but when I told Echo she said, “Your butt is going to look AMAAAZZZINNGGG.” Yes it is, Echo. Yes it is. And let’s be honest, having a nice butt is just as important as doing well in grad school.

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