As mentioned earlier this week, I thought I would write a post on what joining the gym has been like. I know it is something that a lot of people do, but it is something I never would have done a few years ago.
I blame PE at school, my friends and I always dreaded it. There was the hassle of carrying our kits around, getting changed, actually doing the lesson, and then getting back into our school uniforms feeling a little bit dishevelled and smelly. Nobody used the showers at our school.
So I have always associated exercising with hassle, once we got to Sixth Form and did not have to do PE any more, my friends and I were fantastically pleased.
The thought of joining the gym almost felt like something teenage Laura would never want me to do. We hate organised exercise! But now that I work full time there is not much opportunity to get enough exercise, and it turns out I am not brave enough to jog out in the cold and wet. So gym it is!
The gym I signed up to is a 24 hour gym and you pretty much do everything online. Join online, book classes online. You could go there without talking to a single person! I signed up semi impulsively at work and saw there was a Zumba class happening that evening. I have done Zumba before, I like dancing around like an idiot. I knew I could do this class without being put off and at the same time I could stake out the gym and see what it was like inside.
I got sent a PIN Code to my phone when I signed up, I did not know what it was for but kept the message. It turned out that to get into the gym you had to type in your PIN code. I typed it in. It did not work. A beefy guy waiting behind me told me how to do it, it still did not work. He went in using the other door. I tried it a few more times and it finally worked.
I thought there would be at least one staff member by the door, ready to direct newbies like me, but there wasn’t. Just lots of fit, serious looking people on gym equipment. I could feel my eyes watering, which is what they do when I feel awkward and have no idea what to do. I knew that a younger Laura would have seriously considered turning around and walking right back out so I made myself walk farther in.
I saw the studio as I walked in and some girls hovering around so I guessed this is where the Zumba would be. I noticed that the lockers needed padlocks and felt a bit foolish for not bringing one. Then I noticed two girls opening up new ones and looked around for where they bought them. I did feel a bit like a spy, trying to subtly work out the ways of the gym. The padlock was from a vending machine. I got one and followed the instructions on the back, put my coat and bag in a locker and was ready to go.
The Zumba class was good fun! Whenever I dance I always think that I am better than I am, even if I am sober. I am not sure where this misplaced confidence comes from, but it is useful to have when you’ve gone to a Zumba class on your own at the gym for the first time.
After the class I could not open my locker, I had chosen one that was a little bit too high for my short stature. Another guy who was stood behind me helped me open it, just while I was thinking about how helpful everyone was here I realised that I was in fact, in his way and hurried to the door. My code did not work again. I tried it over and over again. The guy that helped me open my locker walked past and I gave him an embarrassed smile while I found myself stuck in the gym.
Luckily, there were buttons to call for help. I pressed them and waited awkwardly for someone for help. A beefy member of staff walked up to the doors and I told him my troubles. He tried the code and it did not work for him either! This made me feel a bit better about it, he told me their new system was having some trouble and hopefully it would be alright next time.
As I walked out of the gym I felt so thrilled that I had managed it without getting too embarrassed or shy or miserable. I was in a good mood after exercising, I wanted to go back! This was an exciting thought. I have since had my induction, and another couple of classes and I am working out how to fit it into my routine. I am quite excited at the prospect that I might stick to this, I might actually get fit!
I mean, the novelty may wear off at some point and I may go back to being my slightly lazy self but I don’t know, I think I could stick to this.