Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Embarrassing much, gym?!

I was nobody's favourite in the Down High P.E. department. Perhaps it was the time I turned up to the cross country run in a light blue t-shirt and pair of Dolce & Gabbana jeans or maybe it was the seven or eight times I was caught in the steam rooms with a choice selection of my posse who had taken the (wise) decision to swim to the end of the pool during Games, hop out and run into the steam rooms for some much needed R&R. Upside of the steam? No-one can see you. Downside? You can't see a very angry gym teacher coming your way.

Anyway, post-uni I finally accepted that I needed to do more physical exercise. I think everyone feels better about themselves when they're feeling good physically or just doing something active. I have carefully avoided turning into one of those health freaks though. We have a friend who recently lost a shed load of weight and now anytime anyone feels like a munch, she's like "Oh, how are you going to eat all that?" Next time she does it I'm going to remind her of the New Year's Day morning when she hoovered up a KFC bargain bucket all on her own. If you can't support your friends when they crave junk food, get out!

Anyway, I joined the DW Fitness gym on the Boucher Road and I do actually really like the gym itself. At first, I attempted to do it myself, mistakenly and mysteriously believing that despite not knowing what 80% of the equipment in the gym actually did, I would be able to handle this and achieve some sort of Zac Efron style physique in about a month. Weirdly, this turned out to be incorrect and having been going to the gym for a few months, I decided to invest in a personal trainer.

Now, I should be quite clear: I have a great personal trainer. Honestly, it is the best money I have ever spent - outside of a bar. Allan has learned that the moment I become bored, things become tricky and therefore keeps up a steady stream of banter. When I'm not sure which arm to use and start flailing around Allan knows it's time to shout out, "Use your drinking arm!" Plus, it has thankfully gotten to the stage where I actually do enjoy the gym now and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. Only caveat is take advice, because without Allan telling me things, I think I would still be running on the treadmill and achieved practically nothing for a year's work. My personal fitness is up and so is personal strength - and I feel great. Also, I've learned a lot about diet and fitness that I literally wouldn't have had a clue about and it's great to have someone who can correct various myths about weight loss and fitness.

However, I firmly believe in the tactic of starting with the lowest expectations possible - particularly when it comes to physical exercise. That way, the only way is up and they'll be impressed by anything you do. No matter how rubbish! And so that is why in my first session with Allan I accidentally flashed half the gym, face-planted on the stairs and had to excuse myself for an excellent tactical vom half way through the session. For those of you of a religious mindframe, I knew that the session had reached a new kind of pain when I started envisioning Jesus on the Cross and thinking, "Well, if He can do that, then I can do this."

It was after the second or third set of exercises, which ended with running up and down the stairs of the gym, that I began to become too confident. I started to feel so smug.  I couldn't understand what all those sports freaks back in school had been complaining about! Okay, there was a slight burn - but, come on! Whiney much, athletes?! I mean, according to my new best friend Allan, I was acing the very same technique used by the British Army for their fitness training. (Sadly, it later turned out that Allan had in fact told me this was the beginning of the army's fitness training and that there are obviously several other moves added into it to turn out some of the most elite soldiers in the world. I, however, had apparently chosen not to hear this important detail.) Half-way through the session I arise from my latest set of burpies, looking so nonchalant and smug about my work out so far. This was delightful and I started to run towards the stairs, as usual.

Unfortunately, someone had forgotten to tell my legs that I was now practically at an Olympic-standards of fitness and they decided that they didn't feel like moving anymore. As the top half of my body geared itself up to run, the legs stayed still and I face planted right on the stairs. As I fell, I manfully screamed "My face!" And stuck my hands out to shield it from impact.

For one terrible, awful, soul-crushing moment, I lay with my face on the steps. Allan, to give enormous credit where credit is due, was such a bro about the whole thing. He acted totally calm and told me it happens all the time. Not to worry. Get up. Take a moment and move slowly next time.

It is only recently that I have discovered that Allan in fact was not totally calm. It also definitely does not happen all the time and for several months after that, I wasn't brought near the stairs again because I had couldn't manage the simple task of walking without  nearly injuring myself.

I try to get down to the gym like 3-4 weeks now and since then, I feel like I have definitely recaptured the honour I lost when I collapsed like a demon-possessed drunkard onto the stairs. Without sounding like too gym-bunny about the whole thing, it's been great getting into fitness, plus having personal goals and knowing what's what in the gym has been really good. All that being said, every now and then, when I go near the stairs, you can still see both Allan and myself wondering/praying that I don't again decide to defy gravity and hurl myself like a paralytic frat boy onto the floor of the gym. Face was unbruised though, so...

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