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Gym Belle  - noun  one who enjoys pull-ups, push-ups, lifting things up/putting 'em down, PRs of all kinds, racing, jumping, spinning, daring and blogging re same (more here)


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Mirror Image

I've got this $150 gift certificate to Equinox that I've been planning on using at the store.  It's a total jinx.  Normally, I could find $300 worth of stuff to buy there just by looking in the window.  Now that I've got the gift certificate, nothing is appealing. 

The one intriguing thing I've found are these tank tops with motivational sayings on them, like "I will persevere until I succeed" and "I am powerful" and things like that.  Only, the sayings are written backwards.  It took me minute, but, clever girl that I am, I realized that if you're working out in front of a mirror, you'll see your motivational saying the right way.  

Cute.  I think.  Unless the medium changes the message.  The sayings on their own are positive and empowering.  They celebrate strength and accomplishment.  In the context of shirts specifically designed to be worn in front of mirrors, though, aren't we really celebrating appearance?

I'm totally conflicted about mirrors at gyms.  I spend most of my time at a gym that, by design, has no mirrors.  Like a lot of yoga studios, CrossFit is decidedly anti-mirror.  We focus on the work, not what we look like doing it.  This makes sense.  A lot of the time, CrossFitters look kinda nasty.  We're sweat-dripping, heavy-breathing, shirt-shedding, grunting messes.  Also, mirrors would be dangerously distracting.  Can you imagine having half your body weight over your head and suddenly noticing that you have a new zit?  Bad idea.  It's better not to know that until the pictures surface on Facebook.  (CrossFit gyms are really into photographs.)  Also, we'd probably break the mirrors dropping weights.

One of the things that CrossFitters poke fun at other gym-goers for is admiring themselves in the mirror as they do endless numbers of biceps curls.  So, when I saw the Equinox t-shirts, my inner CrossFitter rolled her eyes and felt totally superior those Equinox narcissists.

My inner CrossFitter is a total hypocrite.  Put me in a studio with mirrors and I'll stake out a front corner spot to have an unobstructed view of both a front and a side mirror.  And, at Physique 57, I'll all but shove someone out of my way to grab a mirrored spot at the bar (and preferably one of the spots where I'm not facing a seam between mirror panels).  I learn visually, so seeing what I'm doing in a mirror is incredibly helpful in terms of form.  I also find that mirrors can be very motivational.  Just seeing my tummy in the mirror reminds me to keep my core engaged.  And, when I like what I see, I'm encouraged to continue.

For me, I think what it comes down to is that I don't have an issue with mirrors in gyms as means to an end.  I just don't want the mirror image to become the end.  There's so much more to it than that.

-Gym Belle-



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