I have never been a member of a gym before. Not even considered it. In fact whenever I thought about the gym it made me think of this clip from the Simpsons. But with my recent foray into fitness meaning that working out meant my face now only resembles that of someone giving birth whenever I indulge in a cardio session more than 2 minutes long (previously my face had crumbled in on itself and looked like a baby crying/filling up its nappy) and with access to a treadmill away from the cold and rain seeming more appealing than ever before, Mark and I took the plunge and can now call ourselves full-fledged gym members. We’re now a few weeks in to regular visits to the gy-m (see earlier clip) and you know what? It really ain’t that bad. Here’s a few things that I’ve learnt along the way…
1. Shop around. Gyms are confusing ol’ things: 12-month memberships, 1 month rolling ones, joining fees, classes included/excluded, so shop around for the best deal. Just bear in mind that you also want one that is close to your place of work or home or you’ll be able to add that to your list of excuses not to go.
2. Do your research and ask the experts. Cardio equipment aside I had no idea what the rest of the torture looking, heavy metal apparatus could be used for aside from inflicting serious pain. So I asked an Instructor when things weren’t too busy in there, they took me round, demo-ed it all, gave me advice on what routine would work best for me and let me get on with it. I’ve also been googling a lot. When it doubt – ask Google.
3. Make it part of your routine. Finding the time is actually harder than the workouts when you get there. Me and Mark have found that dropping in for a class at the weekend and trying to go there two or three times a week either to do a circuit of the gym or a spinning lesson is what fits in best with our diaries. Booking in to classes is also a good way to motivate yourself to haul your ass down there. Going in the evenings does mean we have to have dinner on those nights a bit later and extend bedtime to 11ish rather than 10ish (25 going on 75, eh?), but we make it work.
4. No one cares/will look at you/will point and laugh. Despite rating myself as pretty comfortable in my own skin, this was the part that worried me the most. Would everyone watch and stare as I panted my way through a 10 minute rowing session? In reality, no one gives two hoots and is too caught up in their own panting session. However I found that the presence of others does make you want to be a little more kick-ass than usual and use less expletives in your routine, which is probably a good thing. Sorry neighbours.