2015 · 2015/11 · Vignette

The first step is the hardest

So, I joined the gym. Again.

This is the fifth gym I ever seriously considered joining, but only the second gym I actually signed up to. The first time, about 4 years ago, I was quite committed, and went fairly regularly. It was a super cheap annual subscription at the local campus – for about £20 a year (no kidding!) I had unlimited access to the little gym. It had everything I would need, even if in limited numbers . But what does it matter if the gym has 3 ellipticals or 10 – I only needed one, and it was never so busy that I would had to share the room with more than three others. The only off-putting thing about the place was the smell as there were no windows, and no amount of air conditioning could mask the accumulation of sweat in the air. Also, they displayed my photo ID card at the reception on the wall next to the key number which I was given, and I was less than happy about having my picture there to be seen by anyone. Apart from that, I quite liked the gym. Small and therefore never too busy, I had freedom to sweat to my heart’s pleasure. And I did sweat there, a lot. I managed to drop about 10kg, which I did not quite recognise or register until a visit home brought on positive comments from the relatives. When the year ended I signed up for another year, but never actually went back for some reason. It’s not too hard to drop 10kg when you’re a big girl, but after I stopped going to the gym, it all climbed back on, and some.

Three years and 20kg later (yeah, oops), here I am again joining the gym. I considered long and hard what to do, should I, should I not, but in the end I got encouraged by the local gym’s offer of letting the sign-up fee off for a limited period to encourage people to join. I thought, well, it’s a month’s worth of membership fee being let off, so I might as well take the opportunity.

The place is quite good, has everything one could desire, gym, sauna, swimming pool, fitness classes, and the option to access other centres across the city for a higher price. I went for the basic gym only membership (still more expensive for a month than the uni gym was for a year, huff), and the facilities look decent enough. Although the studio is quite crowded regarding equipment / square feet, it houses a variety of cardio and strengthening machines and a nice free lifting area. It took me almost 3 hours to get myself ready to go, faffing about with what to wear, what to take with me, what bus to get… In the end I just picked up my bags and left, knowing the more time I took the less chance there was for me to actually to it.

As I signed up online, I had to collect my membership card at reception and therefore tell the receptionists that I was a newbie. I was dreading the inevitable health questionnaire and the induction session, but neither came. I told the nice guy that I had used a gym before, so he let me loose after a brief tour of the facilities. Off I went to change and enter the gym for the first time in years, literally.

It was not too busy, which I liked, and I got on the elliptical like someone who used those before, even if a long time ago. There were young guys lifting weights just off to my side, but I spent the time switching through the channels on the machine, playing around with the level settings, and focusing on my breathing. I guess I kind of over did it, and when my heart rate peaked a little too early, I switched the settings lower until I could actually maintain the pace without fainting. Yeah, the settings I used 3 years ago no longer work. I have to start from scratch, but that’s okay – this way I can see how I improve as time goes by, right?

After a lengthy session on the cross trainer, I hopped off (okay, slowly climbed down while holding onto the handles, lest I fall and loose out on the membership fee as I will be too mortified to return) and went over to the exercise bikes. Acutely aware that those on the elliptical machines had a perfect view of my settings, performance, and wobbly bits, being positioned right behind and above me, I pedalled on bravely. That is, until my tush started to ache. And I mean ache, quite badly. I remembered that I always had troubles sitting on the bikes, the little seats too little and too hard, wedging into me in the not quite pleasurable way, but this pain was way worse than I recalled. I know, no pain no gain, but really, that pain was just not worth it. I ended up squirming on the seat, losing the pace and my patience. I’m not sure if I could maybe put a towel on the seat next time to cushion it? I’ll have to figure something out, because the exercise bike is the easiest machine for me to use otherwise in terms of effort / pay off. I burn more on the cross trainer, but I do work a lot more for it as well.

I guess I will just have to figure it all out again as I go along, because I am planning to keep going. I did not set myself a goal and I did not swear an oath as to the frequency of my visits – I don’t want to push myself and burn out, and I don’t want to over stress it either. (I am going when I feel like it, hopefully twice or three times a week, until I get back to the digits I have not seen in ten years, and that’s it.) Simples.

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