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The Gym Junkie

I’ve never really liked going to the gym.  But everyone else has a membership so I’ve felt I’d better get one too.  Over the years I have spent thousands on memberships where I don’t even put one foot inside the establishment that’s taking an automatic monthly direct debit straight from my bank account.  Hopeless.

It takes all day to get the house ready for a dinner party and even then it's not up to scratch

It takes all day to get the house ready for a dinner party and even then it’s not up to scratch

Swim squads I’ll do without any procrastination and I’ll even turn up more than once a week.  And while that makes me feel good about my keep-fit efforts, others have been suggesting (loudly) that at my age I should also be doing weights.  That’s the trouble with the ageing process – the older you get the more time you need to spend on maintenance.

For 18-months I’ve been telling all the ‘experts’, ‘Yes, don’t worry, I’m about to join the gym; I can’t wait to throw around some kettle bells’ etc, while in actual fact I’ve had no sincere plans to sign up anywhere.

Making the spring rolls

Making spring rolls

Then Miss Arabella (who’s on another of her health bursts) said she would join me at swim squads.  So for the last four weeks she and her Gen-Y pals have been joining me in the pool, and, just quietly, she and her Gen-Y pals are of no threat.  Let’s just keep this between ourselves but the lanes are graded and while I swim in the fastest lane, all Gen-Y’s are in the slowest.  Moving right along…

After the very youthful Arabella had worn herself out trying to keep up with her elderly mother at swim squads, she suggested that it is only fair that I reciprocate by joining her at the gym.  I wasn’t keen but the ‘experts’ said how lovely it is that she actually wants to be seen with me, especially when I’m wearing lycra, am without make-up, am puce in the face and dripping in sweat.

Confit duck legs cooking in a Thai master stock

Confit duck legs cooking in a Thai master stock

Feeling the pressure, I signed up for another membership.  So far I’ve only embarrassed Arabella once.  That was when I was in the change room having just completed a class and I went to the bathroom.  I shut the door of the cubicle and because my quads were really sore, I couldn’t sit down and instead squatted while doing a wee with my head down.  It was a lengthy wee and when I finished I brought my head up to find the door had somehow swung open and I had just wee-ed in a most undignified way in front of a room full of gym junkies.

Besides humiliating myself I’ve done a few classes.  Arabella took me to a pump class where I was sandwiched between two women who looked 70 + and they were throwing weights around twice as heavy as mine.  And when we had to do push-ups, I did them from my knees but they did them from their tippy-toes.  Two women clearly winning the ageing battle.

Dinner outside on the verandah

Dining outside on the verandah

A few days later we went to a Shock-Wave class.  That’s where there are stations set up around the edges of the room and the erg (rowing) machines take centre stage.  If you’re on an erg you have to row a certain distance.  Everyone else in the room has to keep repeating their activity (sit-ups, push-ups, lunges etc) until you finish rowing that distance.  With all eyes on you and everyone in a world of pain, you don’t want to be taking your time.

Then Arabella introduced me to Small Group Training.  It was a strength class.  I thought I’d survive it because it only goes for half an hour.  Eight of us turned up to be put through our paces by Chase.  I wondered what we might be doing and can you believe it was 12kg kettle bells alternating with another activity.  We had to lift those kettle bells over our heads, swing them between our legs and hold them up at shoulder height.  Relief from the kettle bells were episodes of push-ups, lunges, burpies, squats and much more besides.

Pork and glass noodle spring rolls

Pork and glass noodle spring rolls

That’s when I had the wee-ing incident – I was so sore I couldn’t sit down and clearly, had no strength left to properly lock the cubicle door.

I’ve managed to turn up every week since I joined – two weeks ago.  I’m sore all over, I’ve wee-ed in front of a live audience and unlike Arabella who has lost 4kgs, I haven’t shed an ounce.

Confit duck with lychee, mint and ginger salad

Confit duck with lychee, mint and ginger salad

Hardly surprising when I’m hosting dinner parties with spring rolls and confit duck!  Very special friends were down from Brisbane for the weekend and we organised to get together.  I made pork and glass noodle spring rolls with a coconut vinegar and chilli dipping sauce followed by confit duck served with a lychee, mint and ginger salad.

I do love a drink that matches my dress

I do love a dress that matches my drink

Another visit to the gym now very necessary to be sure.




  1. It does get easier! Looks like you have been thrown right into it; no gentle induction. With all that delicious food around, I guess the gym makes sense. Good luck with it, and it is nice that Arabella wants to do it with you (despite the embarrassing episode). Good for you!

  2. What a fabulous meal & I just love the dress – very summery.
    I’m afraid I have a similar gym history to yours. I hate exercise with a passion, but have got a great excuse at the moment as my knees appear to have packed it in! I’ve just had them MRI’d and will await the report from the quack. I suppose I could still go swimming, though …

  3. Man whiten adventurous few weeks you have had, gyms must make so much money from members paying and never going, I know more people that pay and don’t go, than those who pay and go. Hope the weekend is going well, and the laptop will be back in your house very soon 🙂

  4. there is something quite rotten about the gym industry that takes money from people not using the premises. I have had a couple of bursts of enthusiasm one of which ended in paying out more than working out. Which is why I am very wary of signing up to gyms. So your experience sounds tortuous to me but perhaps if it means you can eat great dinner parties and spend time with your daughter then it is worth it

  5. Oh Charlie, you do make me laugh. What an experience with the open door wee’ing. If it helps, I can run half marathons but had to leave the only body pump class I’ve ever attended as I thought I might be sick half way through! Weights are really not my thing, and whilst I do make some efforts, they’re not as big as your recent ones.

  6. While the story is extremely funny 🙂 LOL! the food looks amazing! I am with you about joining the gym! The great thing about my gym is that you can just choose to use the pool or just the gym or both? So I have chosen to just use the pool and swim, but to get to the pool you have to walk past all the “gym classes” and the “weigh training” and it does make me feel a little inadequate… I’ve been thinking of joining up! Too much pressure 🙂 Liz x

  7. I had a similar experience with a couple of friends … we joined a gym, went to it for about a month or 6 weeks. Each trip was followed by a visit to a great Italian pasta place where we took advantage of our increased appetite to indulge in our choice of pasta and sauce combos. After a while we stopped going to the gym and just went for the pasta. 🙂 Your weeing incident was amusing to hear about but not as pleasant to experiences both leading up to and afterwards. I was going to say ‘this too shall pass’ with regard to remembering it but thought the double entendre might not be appropriate. Oh well…

    I love your red glass candlesticks and blue glasses. And the confit duck legs and egg rolls … delicious.

  8. We have a rebounder, elyptical, treadmill, and weights in our exercise roomin the basement gathering dust. I keep telling myself to get down there but after hiking with the dogs there’s not much motivation. Good for you for sticking with it. I’ve read if you drink half your weight in ounces of water every single day it helps to work the lactic acid out of your muscles faster. Arabella should be happy you were able to squat over the potty at all! LOL

  9. Love your gym experience! Doing Pilates is as close as I’ve come to the gym. And I love it but it’s not always easy to find the time. Keep it up!

  10. I’ve tried so hard to be a gym goer, but I just don’t like exercise for exercise sake. I’ll walk down the hill to the supermarket, I’ll lift wood to build our house, but will not go to a gym class. Which means, luckily, I’ll never be in your public wee display situation. Although I did have a giggle about it.

  11. I laughed so hard at this one. Sadly I can close my eyes and see this happening. When you’re that tired and sore, you really don’t care.

    Good on Arabella for losing 4kgs but I can’t imagine where she found them, she’s as slender as a rake. I haven’t been to a gym in a long time – it’s fairly obvious. When I do go, I’m going to wee before I leave home.

    Your dinner party sounds very swish and isn’t it nice that you thought to colour coordinate your drink and your dress. 🙂

  12. I bet you’ve gained muscle and lost fat. I’m exhausted just reading about your workout…you deserved to splurge on duck confit and spring rolls! Next time I embarrass Katie, I’ll tell her of your bathroom incident and maybe it will take some of the sting out 😉

  13. Oh those kettle bell swings are the worst! Apparently weights are good for bone strength. I find that if I do weights, I can eat more (the muscle apparently). I await til some bright spark invents passive exercise where your trainer that you pay does all the work and you reap the benefits.

  14. What’s the gym?

  15. Hi Charlie, sounds like torture to me, good for you swimming in the fastest lane!

  16. Here comes the ‘wet blanket’ again 🙂 ! To each their own but I would not waste one dollar of my hard earned money on a gym membership! Never have!! Never would dream of doing so!!! You need cardio: go for a nature walk, breaking into a jog now and then . . . much more beautiful than inside a roomful of sweaty bodies and rows of machines. You need bending and stretching: if you do your own housework, shopping etc you get quite enough! You need weights of course: well, having carried hundreds of 20-30 litre bags of soil and mulch around my garden during the past weeks, that is well taken care of 🙂 ! And I do have a set of dumbbells I take into the garden during off-season, play music, say my mantras and ‘play’ around with them . . not a penny spent 🙂 ! Sorry!!!

    • Good to hear from you, Eha. You sound like you are very fit and good on you for having that level of fitness without spending a cent! Excellent. As the sun is now shining, I will take your advice and go for a walk – not on a machine at the gym but in the great outdoors!

      • Charlie darlingHeart – only coming back as a sort’of a ‘teacher’ which I oft am in ‘real’ life! As I have quite severe genetic cardiac problems, am a double cancer survivor and have other major chronic illnesses, I am far from ‘fit’! BUT, at the age of about 39 I was given a year at the most to live and handed the usual pile of pink, blue, yellow and whatnot pills. I refused, am still making my docs mad doing it my way . . . and I have outlived almost all of those docs 🙂 !!!! At three unis at the moment learning the ‘stuff’!!!! Have a good Sunday . . .

      • You are amazing Eha. What a lot of issues you have overcome and I’m so glad you found ways to deal with cancer other than with drugs that always have a host of evil side affects. Good on you for still learning and you must be super-busy with three universities to attend. I don’t know how you keep up with that sort of a timetable – I’m sure I’d turn up to the wrong uni on the wrong day!

        • [huge laugh!] Something called ‘on-line’ or ‘open’ studies mostly . . . don’t think I would make it to Texas, Montana and California every day in person 🙂 ! Hope you had a lovely walk: blowing gale here!!!!

  17. Oh Charlie, poor thing. Hope it will get easier soon. i dont really think you need to loose weight you look wonderful but I guess a bit of muscle cant hurt. Duck confit and spring rolls.?….just throw another kettle bell you cant miss out on those

  18. lol! I feel more than one glass of wine would be required after half those stories! I do think that exercise doesn’t have to involve ritual humiliation or paying exorbitant fees. And when I look at a room full of people on treadmills, all staring staright ahead running nowhere on machines powered by electricity – and paying for the privilege – well I do think my laughter as I run out the door is more than qualified!

  19. G’day and good on ya Charlie for continuing to exercise and triumph over your blushing adversity!
    Love the duck confit and spring rolls…wish I could try them now! Fang’s hungry!
    Cheers! Joanne

  20. I am impressed you can even make time for all the gym classes, Charlie. Really! I practice yoga and love it…but I’m not doing anything else with regularity and I should be. I’ve been saying this for several years now. LOL!

  21. hehehe 🙂 Thanks for the chuckle Charlie.
    (ps. who invented kettle balls anyway?? terrible things.)

  22. The words ‘go to the gym’ fill me with a special mix of horror/dread/cold sweat/illlness… But I too am of age where things no longer even out after a big session of eating #damnIt. Your dinner party looks tres fancy!

  23. At least it was number ones not number twos Charlie! I’m impressed that after having had three babies bouncing on your bladder you make it through a weights session without having to leave half way through for a wee run- I know I’d have too 🙂
    I’m sure such a yummy meal is worth the extra gym class, I hope we see these recipes soon please! Xox

  24. Oh Charlie I clearly need to pick up my game then. Running 5km some days less and doing my own arm and tummy exercises at home isn’t cutting the mustard – in my defence I do not live anywhere near a gym. Clearly things have changed in the decades since I was last in one – I never knew about the classes you were talking about. The most “modern” I hear of was a spinning class.
    Both you and Arabella do not need to lose any weight – you are both beautifully skinny.
    Sorry but I had a laugh at your wee incident – sorry.
    Have a wonderful and hopefully pain free week ahead.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  25. Oh Charlie – I am so sorry but I couldn’t quite stifle a chuckle at your wee experience! I am glad you have shown up for the last 2 weeks – in no time at all you will be slugging weights around that our twice as heavy as you are now!

  26. Oh Charlie, you never fail to make me laugh (and usually until I cry)! This ageing business is definitely no fun at all … I manage to get on my exercise bike most days but that is about the extent of it!

  27. You should be extra proud of your swimming skills!! I bet you are building muscle, which is what the pros say is the best way to keep the metabolism humming along. Gotta keep the muscle to enjoy great dinner party foods! 🙂

  28. —Charlie,
    How the HECK can you talk about gyms when I’m drooling over duck and spring rolls!?
    That is just WRONG))!! xx

  29. from pictures u are looking pretty fab and fit, no need for the gym! And i have learnt the hard way that gym change rooms are always the epitomy of embarassing moments.

  30. Gym…. Hmmm, not sure I know what that is. And far out, you got a huge LOL from me, public wee-ing… Bahaha. Seriously tho, your commitment to the gym is brilliant, virtual high fives and fist bumps to that.

  31. I guess I’m lucky that my eldest is lazier than I am so there’s no threat of her forcing me to go to gym classes! Like you though, I do need strength training, my excuse, my joints, I just cannot afford to hurt them. I will have to break down and do some kind of low aerobic and strength class.
    That’s quite a fancy dinner, I can’t believe you have the patience to roll spring rolls for a party! I’ll always pick something else!


  32. The wee incident cracked me up. I hate gyms, but did belong to one and even taught water aerobics at one for 12 years.

  33. I feel your pain…literally! I’m not one to go to the gym either, I love my daily exercising of walking outside, bike riding and morning yoga. My daughter insists I go with her to the gym as she compromises and walks with me at times. I do find that extra burn wakes up my body in a good way. Plus it balances out great dining experiences. I too love that your dress coordinates so well with your drink 🙂

  34. confit duck? yum.. Gym? no. walking is as much as i do as you can tell from my rotundness:)

  35. Your very special friends have to love you with the wonderful dinner you prepared them. It seems that people working at the gym always say if you are not loosing weight, it is because you are building muscle.

  36. Loved your fresh, spring-y dress! Adorably feminine 🙂 What sexy duck legs, Charlie! That picture made me drool profusely when me and my husband were talking about a very serious family issue. Embarassing 🙂

    I know the wee-incident was definitely Embarassing for you. But the way you described, I laughed out loud. Sorry! 🙂

  37. Your house parties are always filled with such great food 🙂 I would love to self invite myself to your place one of these days hehe and I really hope you will accept and cook me some of your amazing dishes! Especially the confit duck!

    I know exactly what you mean about the gym, I’ve joined for quite some time and even though I did go consistently for a while, I have become quite lazy and trying to avoid it…but soon hopefully I’ll pick it up again soon!


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