The time has come to renew my gym membership. This means that I’ve been going to the gym for a year now. Time to take stock.
It’s not cheap, but I go every other day, come hell or high water, so the cost-per-session is tiny. I’ve managed to justify it to myself, despite all the Extreme Economising going on elsewhere in my life. I believe we should fix what can be fixed – and for me that means (amongst other things) staying as fit as I can for as long as I can. I’m 58, and if I intend to stay fit well into my 60s and beyond I can’t give up now!!
I’ve always done ‘something’ to keep fit, but I’ve never been entirely happy with how it’s organised – you either pay a monthly gym membership and then suffer the crushing boredom of sessions on the treadmill or the bike (and being forced to watch crap on the TV screens) all on your own, or you pay for 10 weeks of classes, and find out half way through that you can’t get to a couple and there are no refunds.
This gym is different (and not just because they have Pizza Night once a year…). It’s basically circuit training – you can’t just rock up and use the equipment, you have to book on to a session. Sessions run from early morning to late at night, 6.30am to 8pm, seven days a week. Each session is 45 minutes long, each session is for everyone, each session is led by a personal trainer, and each session includes both cardio and functional work. You book online and you can go to whichever sessions suit you best. It’s perfect for normal people who have busy lives!! It solves all the issues I’ve had with previous fitness activities – it’s not boring like conventional gyms, and you don’t have to go at the same time every week like conventional classes.
So, a year on, how’s my progress? I’m one of the older people there, but I do OK. I can certainly do things that I wouldn’t have been able to do a year ago (or ever, to be honest) –
I can do a box jump – when I started I could only do a half-height jump. I felt that I should be able to do the full height, but I was nervous of ‘missing’ and looking like a twonk. With the trainer stood ready to catch if it all went wrong, and a small cheer from the woman behind me, I managed it – and I’ve never looked back.
I can do a full push-up (yes, from the feet, not the knees). When I was at school, I can remember being specifically told in PE that girls don’t do push-ups. So this girl didn’t do push-ups. But she was always curious as to what would happen if she did do a push-up. So, rather late in the day, I can report that – nothing happens. I’m not at all sure what the PE teacher was worried about.
I can run. I always enjoyed running. Was reasonably fast over 100 yards when I was at school. Had to stop after baby # 1 of course – couldn’t laugh or sneeze either. We didn’t use to talk about it – but thankfully Tena and Always have changed that. Such a little thing, really – but I didn’t run for 29 years. I always enjoyed running. And now, when I’m on the treadmill, and going faster than I ever thought I would again, I remember all the years when I couldn’t run without wetting myself, and I’m deeply joyful. Knackered after four minutes though.
I can do burpees. I’d heard of them a year ago, but I had no idea what they were. Well, now I know… They fall firmly into the category of ‘You don’t have to enjoy it, you just have to do it.’ Rather like maths homework and cleaning the cat litter tray.
I can lift heavier than I thought I could. I started on the lightest weights, of course, but one day the trainer looked at me, and told me I needed to move up to the next size. In fact, he banned me from using the lightest ones. It was the first time in my life that someone had told me I could do this stuff.
I used to feel achy when I got out of bed in the mornings, and I thought it was normal for someone who was 57. I still feel achy when I get out of bed in the mornings, and I know for sure it’s normal for someone who is 58 and works out 3 – 4 times a week. Oh my goodness, it’s a different sort of ache though – it’s the sort of ache that says, ‘I’m using my body for what it’s meant to be used for’, and it feels good.
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