At the risk of sounding like the VoiceOver at the end of a Modern Family episode, you really can't overstate the power of family motivation. Families are generally pretty great. They tell you what you need to hear while also being so biased that they think you're gorgeous no matter what you wear (well, almost). They're great like that. But what they are also good for is supporting you, getting behind you and sometimes jumping into the raging torrent with you.
I am of course talking about the gym.
Now I have almost always been one of those people who would quite like to be a teeny bit thinner or be toned enough to pass for Jessica Alba but have never had enough of a problem with myself to actually do much about it (a few months of sporadic morning sit-ups and afternoon skipping reps barely count).
But when my mother convinced me to come along to her first taste of the local gym I was obliged to go along and sign up with her.
Not going to lie, the first couple of visits were tough. As a self-described energetic (read: spazzy) teenager, I had assumed that I would find the workouts far easier than I did and at no point did I entertain the notion that I would be less fit than my 40-something mother.
But I guess if it was easy they wouldn't call it a workout.
After a few visits I wasn't waking up aching the next day. Which isn't to say that I am ready to sign on for a personal trainer the way my parents have. Their frequent exclamations of pain and an inability to sit down without great difficulty days after a session aren't exactly ringing endorsements.
But my obligatory teenage whining aside I don't dread attending anymore. I like the feeling of achievement I get after completing a session on the exercise bike (man, is that thing painful. Ten minutes feels like an hour of uphill torture). And knowing that my parents are there too, working their hearts out on some other brutal machine, makes me want to work as well. Though they are in pain they still obediently go a few times a week. And when my mother chirpily asks if I will come too, how can I really say no?
Honestly, I don't think I would have gone if not for my parents' motivation. I'd thought about it, for five seconds every day as I walked past the gym on the way to the bus stop. And maybe I would have made it there on my own. Likely it would have taken at least another year of thinking and balking at membership fees. But with my parents there, all seemed possible. Realistically, I'm unlikely to look like a bombshell actress at the end of it. I'd need to become a vegan and spend all day working out in a private gym with a personal trainer, dietitian and dermatologist on hand. But I'm already starting to feel better about myself and look forward to promised future improvements. So thanks, mum and dad, for not so much pushing me as convincing me and for being there all the way with kind words behind your grimaces of pain.