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