My name is Anna and I am an exercise addict. In terms of addictions, it could be worse – I should know, because I have all of them. (I have what they call an addictive personality.) With exercise, however, I’m not planning to get into recovery. See, considering the fact that I’m also addicted to chocolate (an obsession I seem to share with my fellow Deb Mia), my need to don some type of tights and a workout bra and burn those chocolate calories off is a good thing.
Everyone in my family is like this. My dad goes to the gym every day, my mom runs on her home treadmill every other, and my brother literally cannot function unless he’s run a good, say, 20 miles in the past 12 hours. I remember an old boyfriend joking, when I was going home for Thanksgiving, “What do you guys do that night, anyway? Each have a glass of water and then go, ‘All right, that’s it, now let’s hit the gym’?” (Actually, my family tends to work out before the meal, pig out and then work out twice as hard the next day — seriously.)
Here’s my weekly schedule: Sunday, I spin; Monday, I do a class called Shreadmill (running on the treadmill at speeds and inclines you don’t want to, essentially); Tuesday is my hip hop dance class; Wednesday is spinning; Thursday or Friday, I do yoga and take one of those days off; Saturday, hip hop dance class again. Keep in mind, this is the optimum schedule. I do miss days. But not that often.
But addiction isn’t measured by how much you do something — it’s in how you think about what you do. And I think about it in a fairly addict-y way (as may be obvious from the obsessive schedule detailed above). At one point, I belonged to three gyms. On vacation, when I go, I try to join the local gym for the week. I used to go to this crazy workout place five days a week where throwing up during the class was so common that if you did it, you got a free t-shirt. (Not me — I knew better than to eat anything before.) I used to be so obsessed with my old spinning teacher (who, by the by, ended up reaching the stardom I just knew he was destined for by landing the trainer job on The Biggest Loser) that if I got to the gym and found out there was a sub, I’d cry.
This isn’t about experiencing nature, feeling oxygen come into my system as I climb a mountain, parasail or waterski. It’s about being inside, sharing germs with fellow exercise addicts. I started taking ballet when I was five so maybe it’s just yet another example of some pattern set in the formative years that still plays out. There’s just something in me that won’t let up unless I’ve sweat around a group of at least 20 other people. For some reason, that instinct that tells people, “Hey, better brush the teeth before leaving the house today” tells me “Get your ass to the gym — or else.” I joke sometimes about how I work for the biggest bitch imaginable — myself: a boss who oftentimes expects her employee to skip lunch, work 10 hours a day and produce more work than 10 people could expect to do in a month in a single day. I guess that same boss oversees my workout schedule.
So, when I’m not writing, oftentimes I’m at the gym. It’s a good thing I live in LA, where behaving any other way is considered suspicious indeed.