health, lifestyle

The highs and lows of the gym

Shhhh, don’t tell anyone…. I’ve joined a gym. Yep, having always promised myself I would never don lycra nor lift weights, here I am.

And, oh my, do I look out of place! My bobbly trackie bottoms and mismatched vests are found sadly lacking amongst the sea of co-ordinated lycra. But if I’m to fight the battle with my thyroid issues and boost my health then it’s got to be done. No pain, no gain as they say.

So despite my better instincts I’ve signed up for three gruelling visits to the gym a week for the foreseeable future. Yikes!

‘How much weight do you want to lose?’ The instructor asked when I arrived for my induction. ‘A stone? One and a half?’ Ouch that hurt!! Really? And I signed up for this? Nice.

‘Erm, no,’ I countered. ‘Well, yes, I’d like to lose some weight but really I just want to tone up,’ I admitted ‘And … you know, get healthier.’ I added lamely. Well I do. Oh seriously I ask myself, what had I signed up for? I’m no athlete and certainly no gym bunny.

The first day was hard. The challenge of walking confidently across a busy gym is not to be under estimated. Had I the choice, I’d rather have walked across hot coals then run the gauntlet past uber fit women and testosterone fuelled weight training men. I virtually ran, head firmly fixed to the floor, across the room to the cross trainer. Then on reaching said machine found it difficult to negotiate the settings and, too embarrassed to ask, I instead tried out the nearby treadmill. Within minutes, however, that soon beat me as it became clear just how unfit I was.

No, this can’t be! I inwardly squealed. Despite regular attendance of Zumba classes the gym was proving too much already. I could barely keep the pace. I was on the lowest setting and yet my calves were screaming out to stop almost instantly. I managed to do a whole six and a bit minutes of running before deciding to slow down to a fast walk.

The following day my legs were aching and heavy but I knew if I had to get to grips with it and get into a routine otherwise it would be pointless. Again within minutes my muscles were protesting but I pushed through and managed to run for eight minutes this time before faltering and easing the pace to a tentative jog. Small steps and all that.

I have to admit even carving out a bit of time after work for the regular gym sessions proved to be problematic at first. It would have been so much easier to jump into the car and go straight home for an evening chilled out on the sofa. But I’d signed up and I couldn’t give up that easily no matter how tempting.

During that first week I did the rounds of the rest of the gym and since then have discovered, perhaps not a love, but certainly a ‘like’ for the cycling machine. The machine allows me to cycle away to my heart’s content while watching a film of flower filled lanes in the beautiful Dordogne. While I’m never quite fooled enough into believing I’m cycling down those said lanes, it at least takes my mind off the burning muscles.

By the second week it became a little easier to walk across the room – and not just because I ached less. I even managed to make eye contact with fellow gym members and received a few surreptitious nods of acknowledgement. Who knows maybe one day someone will actually speak to me?!!

I’ve now completed my fourth week and while I haven’t lost any weight at all, I’m not deterred in the slightest. It’s still very early days but already I have noticed a change in my health. My metabolism has speeded up a little, which has been a problem for me since my thyroidectomy, and already I have more energy. Time spent at the gym straight after work is also a great stress-buster. All the hassles of the day really do fall by the wayside as I pound the treadmill.

Surprisingly I’m getting quite addicted to the treadmill as I secretly swap channels on the TV screen and tune into BBC’s quiz show, Pointless, to accompany me as I run. OK maybe that makes me the least coolest person in the gym, but, hey, it works for me. I’d like to think I’m exercising my mind as well as my body. It’s multi-tasking at its very best as I keep up to date with my TV viewing, and keep an eye on my progress while watching the calories melt away. Maybe it’s not so Pointless afterall.


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