So this just happened! For the first time in my entire life I have joined a gym! Here’s the chronology of events: I was extremely excited earlier in the week to book a holiday for next year. The initial elation and excitement was soon diluted with the various & usual qualms and niggles such as “Oh gosh how am I going to pay for said holiday” – “Ah it’ll be grand, it’ll be grand!” “Oh gosh I’m not great on long haul flights” – “Ah it’ll be grand, it’ll be grand!” “Oh gosh I’m always a little bit daunted by visiting large cities” “Ah it’ll be grand, it’ll be grand!” quickly followed by the dawning realisation that I would have to get into a swimsuit or bikini by the pool – cue internal screaming! “It won’t be grand, it won’t be grand!” A quick phone call to the local gym ensued and now here I find myself outside this morning with great trepidation and nerves willing myself to open the door and actually go inside.
I had it in my mind from waking this morning that I was going to go and do the free trial run in the gym today that I discussed over the phone with a lovely staff member earlier in the week. I would describe it as desperately trying to convince myself rather than an actual set plan. Somehow the morning just flies by and I’m nowhere near ready to go by 11:45 and the gym closes at one. Even as I’m getting dressed I’m debating with myself whether to go or not. What do people even wear to the gym? I ask myself as I’m frantically pulling clothes from my wardrobe, images of super fit people frolicking around in fabletics outfits by Kate Hudson spring to mind. I pull on my dowdy old black tracksuit bottoms I have owned since forever and a grey T-shirt from Penney’s, I throw a dishevelled hoody over the top and quickly scrape back my hair. I grab a towel and a large bottle of water on the way out the door.
As I drive up I still can’t quite believe I’m actually going to go through with this and I hesitate outside the door for several seconds willing myself silently to actually push the handle and walk inside. I eventually do and suddenly I’m standing in the reception area waiting for somebody to arrive. I’m only waiting about a minute but it feels like two hours and I have to stop myself with every fibre of my being from turning and running out the door. I am greeted by a friendly staff member named Daire who asks me to sign a form and gives me a locker key. I follow him inside, the gym is brand new having only opened this year & all there is all manner of equipment that is spanky new & state of the art. There are a few people in the gym all of who look extremely confident and know exactly what they’re doing.
I decide to start with cardio as I am fairly familiar with it and sure what can go wrong! Daire places me on a treadmill and starts increasing the speed, a bit worryingly high to me in my outstandingly unfit condition & leaves me to it. I feel very self-conscious as it’s all very new to me and I’d rather be anywhere else but here right now. I’m acutely aware of people around me doing their own thing. I increase the speed on the treadmill in preparation for doing a tiny bit of running (ok jogging). People get on the treadmills each side of me and I want the ground to open up and swallow me, suddenly I forget basic functions, like what do I even do with my arms? Why is my breathing gone so funny? I sound like bloody Darth Vader. Oh god I can feel my butt jiggling like Homer Simpson on a trampoline, I silently pray there’s no one using the machines behind me that might see. I try to focus on the poster in front of me on the wall & keep reassuring myself that everyone feels this way the first time you try something new. I run for a while and overall do about 20 minutes on the treadmill. It says I’ve burnt 100 kcal surely that can’t be right? I’m positive it means 1,000 with all that effort, I’m convinced it’s lying to me. I’m all red faced and out of breath as I struggle off the thing wondering to myself if I make a run for it now would anyone actually notice I was gone. I head straight for reception but Daire is sitting there so instead of fleeing in my all-encompassing shame I decide to stop being such a wuss and ask him to show me a few of the machines.
First I do some contraption for your legs that looks more akin to a medieval torture device than gym equipment. I manage a couple of reps very slowly & shakily and with great effort, my legs feel like actual jelly. Next is the lat machine which takes some effort in my unfit state but all in all is manageable but only after Daire decreases the weight. I continue on to 2 other machines for working the chest and arms and good gosh am I unfit! I can barely manage half of the sets and my arms feel like they’re going to burst, I am mortifyingly embarrassed of my own level of unfitness and realise just how long ago it must be since I did some actual serious exercising. I’m annoyed & upset with myself that it’s come to this & I want to cry but I think of the sparkly new dress hanging in my wardrobe that I bought for the Christmas party in a few weeks’ time and also the idea of having to get into a swimsuit for holidays next year and it gives me a huge acknowledgement that I am indeed in the right place and I really need to get busy and build my level of fitness right back up. On that note I’ve been there about 45 minutes and decide that that is quite enough for Day 1.
It is quite clear that I have some serious work to do and whilst, yes, I was nervous and yes, I was self-conscious, clearly that is just first-day nerves and nobody else passes any remarks whatsoever to what anyone else is doing, It is your own fears & trepidation that you need to overcome in these situations. I always told myself I would join a gym when the time was right, when I’d built up my own fitness at home a bit first, ridiculous that’s what the gym is there for, there is no right time, the right time is now. Take that chance, steel yourself inside and just do it! Nobody else can do it for you and you’ll never regret it. Everybody has a day one. Everyone has to start somewhere. I’m sure the next visit I will be much more at ease & it will be much easier, in fact the hardest part today was actually walking through the door. Will I be back? Hell yeah! I’ll be prancing around in my fabletics before you know it! And not least because I accidentally signed up for a 3 month membership instead of 1 month on the way out, if that’s not a sign that I need to get moving nothing is!