Tuesday, July 24, 2007

That Girl goes to my gym

One of the reasons I like my gym so much is the variety of people (ages, body types, interests) who use it. I see teenage boys lifting weights, trying to build impressive muscle, and I see geriatric women with no qualms about walking around the locker room in the altogether, boobs and bellies showing what gravity does after so many years on the planet. I figure that as long as people are there to work out and not "see and be seen" like some gyms I've been to in the past, it's all good - nobody has ever made me feel uncomfortable or tried to pick me up. It's a big mishmash at my gym, and there are pretty people as well as us regular shlubs, but I don't feel bad about myself around them because they're not showing off, they just have nice bodies because they work out a lot.

I've written before about my own body image, and the concept of body image in general. I've also written about my fascination with a website showing what women's bodies look like during and after pregnancy, and how drastically some women change. However, some women's bodies seem to look exactly the same shortly after giving birth - most of the ones we see like that are Hollywood celebrities who have nannies, personal trainers, personal chefs, and have time to sculpt their bodies back to pre-baby size and shape. People are astounded, it seems, by how little time it takes some celebrities to get their "pre-baby" bodies back, as unusual as that is it seems to be a) unfairly represented by movie-star types (even the ones who have twins! Even the ones who are older! coughMarciaCrosscough.) and b) seemingly impossible to attain unless you've got a staff. On the one hand, yeah, it's pretty unusual to bounce back as quickly as most Hollywood types seem to do. On the other hand, their bodies have to look good, the sooner the better, or else they won't work, because that's reality in CelebLand. So they hire people to get themselves looking good again, or they have plastic surgery, or both.

However, today I saw That Girl at my gym. Several months ago, I started seeing her in the locker room and sometimes on the weight machines. I didn't realize for a few weeks that hey, her belly was getting a little bigger and her size x-small t-shirt was pooching out a little. Then in the dressing room I saw her putting on what were obviously maternity pants (they had one of those elastic band thingies at the top). I continued to see her here and there, tiny belly growing a bit more each time, but the rest of her looked exactly the same as it had before the belly had begun to expand. I vary my gym times, even though I go at least 4 days a week, but I've been going for nearly three years and I've come to recognize the other gym rats, even if they don't always go exactly when I do. This girl disappeared for a month or so, and I didn't think much of it because I wasn't always there between 1 and 2 on Tuesdays and Thursdays which is when I used to see her. I figured she was getting bigger and that eventually I'd see her back in the gym.

I saw her today. She had no belly. Her body was taught and toned, and if I hadn't seen her obviously pregnant a couple of months ago, I would never have known. I have no idea when she had her baby, or what the circumstances under which she lives that she's able to regularly go to the gym in the middle of the day with (presumably) an infant at home. Perhaps I just don't know what I'm talking about; maybe she was a surrogate mom, or maybe she gave her baby up for adoption. Maybe she had a late-term miscarriage. Whatever the circumstances, I gotta say, she is the living proof that some women have bodies that magically bounce back after pregnancy in a frighteningly short amount of time. I don't know her and have never talked to her, and I'd never presume to ask her about her reproductive history or how she came to look unpregnant so soon after being pregnant. Maybe the last time I saw her she was 9 months pregnant despite looking about six (the rest of her is quite small) and so there wasn't a whole lot of bouncing back to do. I only hope that I look as good as she does within a year of giving birth (should I decide to do that)(well, I'll probably never look as she does, because I'm not 5'3 and 120 lean pounds), and she seems to have managed to do it in a scant month or two. So I guess they do exist, those women who can wear bikinis or tight gym clothes only weeks after giving birth. Something tells me, however, that I'm not likely to have won that particularly rare genetic lottery.


Yank In Texas said...

Yeah, I know some of those people. It's not fair. I know I'm not going ot be one of those people for sure. One of my former co-workers is one of those poeple. She's a gym nut though, and ran miles, even the day before she gave birth. She's as tiny as she was before. Some people have all the genetic luck.

Cilicious said...

I've known a few too, and actually, the first kid doesn't seem to do that much damage.
However, after the second kid, even the gym rats might have, upon *closer inspection* of the abdominal area, a bit poochier skin than in their pre-childbearing years.
With two kids, there is only so much time for crunches, ellipticals and running and whatever else those exercise freaks get up to.
::that's my story and I'm sticking to it::