New Adventures at the Gym (Part 1)

I have blogged many times about my dislike of exercise, and that fact that in spite of that I see it as a necessary evil – rather like eating vegetables. I do it because it’s good for me. This is even more true now, as I lurch towards the grand old age of 42. By anyone’s estimation this is middle age, and if I really want to live another 42 years I have to look after the body I occupy.

But up until recently I hadn’t set foot in a gym for months. The gym we had a membership with was council run, and it has to be said a bit shabby. Then a few months ago a new gym opened up, literally right across the road from our house (we can see the building from our living room window). It is a private gym, on the grounds of the local college. The college offers BTec qualifications in sports training, so I assume that there is some kind of sponsorship deal going on to benefit the students.

Even so, the concept of a new private gym so close to home was appealing, and we thought about joining. For a long time we only thought about it. Then two things happened that pushed us further in that direction.

Our old council-run gym has recently changed ownership, and is now run by a different organisation. I got a letter recently informing me that the new organisation have decided to give the place an £8m overhaul. This will require closing the premises. For 12 months.

A few days after that I got a phone call from the accounts department. Somehow, in the change of management, my bank details got mislaid and they were no longer attached to my membership record. So they had not been taking out my standing order for three months. Technically this meant I was was no longer a member. To address this, I had to go down to the sports centre with my bank details and fill in more forms in person.

Decision made, then. Since I was no longer a member and hubby hadn’t been for months, we cancelled his membership and joined the new gym. It all looked very nice when we looked around. Everything was new and shiny and worked the way it should. The gym was air conditioned. There were flat screen TVs everywhere.

All good in theory. Having paid up, we went for our gym induction. It became evident the gym hires a lot of the College students. My gym instructor was young enough to be my daughter. She asked me what I wanted from the gym. “Erm, tone up, lose a bit of weight. Work on the abs perhaps.” My stomach muscles have always been wimpy.

“How much weight do you want to lose?” she said brightly. “A stone, maybe?”

That took me aback a bit. Yes, I could stand to lose a few pounds, but do I really look 14lbs overweight?? She showed me the machines, and I insisted I didn’t want to use the treadmill. I really don’t like the treadmill. I prefer the exercise machines where you get to sit down. I don’t mind the exercise bike. I don’t mind the rowing machine. I don’t even mind the lat pull-down machine.

The perky child-like gym instructor also showed me some abdominal exercises. “These are really good for toning your abs,” she said. I struggled and puffed and wheezed before she eventually agreed with me that my abs were so flabby these exercises were currently beyond me. So she gave me some easier ones. Lying down and raising my legs in the air. Yes, I can cope with that one. Just about. The one where you lie on your back and cycle your legs up and down. That’s OK too.

So I’ve been going to the gym but my asthmatic lungs object to the extra work, and doing any form of exercise makes my nose run (always knew I was allergic to it…). I sound like Darth Vader as I attempt the Free Runner, and I’m blowing my nose constantly. And then I ache for three days and have to crawl up the stairs at home because my arms and legs and stomach ache too much to move properly.

In spite of all this, though, I am endeavouring to do a workout at least once a week (plus classes and swim sessions). So I was somewhat annoyed to find out recently that the membership smart card I was given that is supposed to log all of one’s gym time had not been properly calibrated, and none of my gym sessions up till now have been logged. So I’ve been struggling to be good all this time and the gym computer thinks I’ve been slacking.

So, now I have to start all over again with my gym sessions. I need to keep attending. It’s good for me. At least, that’s what I have to keep reminding myself…

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3 comments so far

  1. Rob B on

    Sara, it sounds like you are more dedicated than me. I find gyms really dull, even with a personal set of excercises to do. Have you considered doing circuit training? I went to my first almost 12 months ago, still find it great fun, and not a chore to go to. As a plus I am probably the fittest I have ever been!

    • sayssara on

      Not so much dedicated, Rob, as acutely aware of the fact that I can no longer do my trousers up. And I don’t fare well with diets…

  2. Sam Webb on

    Good for you!

    Not having a gym nearby is one of the only things I dislike about living in the country. The thought of heaving out of the house early and driving 7 miles just to huff and puff is beyond me.


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