“Four Months into Lock-down, I Feel Bad About My Shoulders”

I feel bad about my shoulders. Come to think of it, I feel bad about my arms and my stomach too. And don’t even get me started on my butt.

I didn’t always feel this way. Back in early February, when I took this photo, I liked the way I looked. My shoulders, arms, and the rest of me were enviable. Enviable for a fifty-something desk worker who didn’t work out daily. Enviable for a regular woman, not someone like fitness guru Tracy Anderson who spends hours each day on her body.

I used to take twice weekly Ballet Barre classes that built up my muscles. I used to be able to do 2-minute planks. My bra straps no longer slipped off my sculpted shoulders and I used to wear tops that showed off said sculpted shoulders. I liked the look of my arms in photos, and I could wear small-waisted pants and dresses. I didn’t even hate trying on clothes in stores.

Now that I am four months in on a working from home lifestyle, the only thing keeping me in a modicum of shape is a daily walk. I walk for about 45 minutes outside, wearing a mask. But my beloved barre classes have gone by the wayside, and now I keep seeing ads for the Tracy Anderson Method and her pointy little face is seriously mocking me. It’s as if her arms, chest and her insane washboard abs are saying, “If you were more organized, more self-actualized, more positive, you’d make this a priority too.” I want to wipe that smirk off her perfect face.

Of course, I know she works very hard to have that body, and that she eats clean as well — not many carbs, no alcohol and sugar. I’m sure she’s Keto all the way. I bet she hasn’t been indulging in fancy homemade cocktails like I have. I bet she doesn’t make blueberry muffins or banana bread, and I absolutely bet she hasn’t been baking bread.

Before lock-down, I had gotten into a very nice groove of going to classes at a gym near my office and I paid as I went. This worked well because monthly or yearly gym memberships just end up being a donation that I never utilize.

When I first started these classes over three years ago, they were hard. Halfway through, I’d look at my Fitbit and be baffled that the class wasn’t done yet. I was being tortured. My thighs and my stomach were on fire. But after doing it for a while, I got better at it and I started to crave it. I also loved how my body was changing for the better. I didn’t used to hate myself when I took an exercise class. Now I do and there are several reasons why.

First off, I barely have a space in my one-bedroom apartment to do a web class. I’ve tried propping up my iPad on the kitchen table (or should I say my desk) and doing the class in front of it. I’ve tried doing it in front of the coffee table which is near the TV but there’s barely any room there either. And, no, I can’t do this in the bedroom because there is no room at all.

The second problem is that I have absolutely no privacy. My husband is always here. He’s either asleep, or in the living room in his “office” working, or in the kitchen, or watching the news on TV, so finding a time to do this where I won’t either disturb or distract him is an issue.

And the time of day is not easy to navigate either. If I try to do this before I work, between say 6 and 9 am, I’d likely wake him up in the bedroom with the loud music. After work? He’s watching the news. On the weekend during the day? I’ve tried that and the hubby smirks and laughs at the instructor’s over the top positive attitude. (I just can’t win)

I’ve thought about dragging my home gym to the park to do this and using a park bench as a barre. I do have a yoga mat, free weights, a stretchy band, and a ball to put behind my back for stomach crunches. I’ve obviously got a lot of fabulous workout outfits. Will my WiFi work so I could stream a class? Will my fellow New Yorkers tell me I’m disturbing them? I need to invest in wireless earbuds first but that may be an option on a nice day.

The third problem is that now that so much time has gone by, I am terrible at this. I can barely keep up for even thirty minutes. It’s torture and while torture used to seem fun, it’s no longer fun anymore. I would rather be comforted. I’d rather watch a show on Hulu. A 15-minute mediation seems more my speed.

Part of me thinks I should try to make a WFH exercise plan work. Some of my colleagues and friends have been doing it, and they talk about the variety of online classes and how they are sure I will find something that I like. But I’m not sure I have it in me.

For now, I must try to stop looking at Tracy Anderson pictures on Instagram, on Facebook, on her website, because I’m obsessed. She looks amazing and boy does she know it. Every photo of her shows off her flat stomach, her firm legs, and her breasts, which incredibly she still has, even at her tiny size. I ogle her and then I feel like laying down on the couch.

As I scroll past Tracy’s newest IG post, I need to fight the urge to eat some chips and drink a glass of wine, and truly make a plan. As they say, no pain, no gain. And no wine.

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Heather Drucker

NYC based book publicist who loves to talk about books, media and the arts; Facebook: Heather.drucker.1. IG: @druckerheather, Twitter: @hdrucker