So last night I went to a gym for the first time in my life. I figured since the college gym is free, why not make the most of it right? I have never EVER been in a gym…I used to go swimming sometimes and bypass the scary gym bit but I stopped doing that when it got too hard to swim without glasses on, therefore without ploughing into a poor unsuspecting front crawler. So my experience of gyms? Non existent. BUT THAT ALL CHANGED!
I always thought gyms were terrifying places filled with giant man beasts and a dozen wannabe-Kardashians. I am very much neither of those. I am a little 5″3 mouse who can’t really lift a heavy jam jar let alone weights that are the same size as my torso.
I’ve struggled a lot with fitness over the last few years and never knew why. I used to be sporty as hell, captain of the netball team, always playing rounders, could sprint and did swimming and stuff…..I used to be fit and pretty strong but then my body literally turned to human goo only held together by a thin layer of pale skin. It turns out that my losing any ability to be strong or fit had something (aka everything) to do with being a bloody coeliac. I was malnourished so obviously my body wasn’t going to waste the precious little it could digest by trying to bulk up, it was using it all to keep my organs functioning and you know, keeping me alive. With my underactive thyroid, when untreated, I literally had to nap twice a day….so exercise wasn’t high on my priorities. BUT NOW I know all this crap and have my thyroid tablets in me and am not eating gluten so maybe, I say to myself, just maybe it’s time to start trying to get FIT.
So I went to the gym. With my new personal trainer (well really phd in astronomy but hey) we took to the ‘cardio room’. I did half an hour of spinning (on a bike obviously, everyone knows that but I thought spinning classes were hula hooping or something idk) and then we went onto weights. Among my host of other issues, I have serrrrrrrious flexibility issues… I’m TOO flexible. I overextend and overuse wrong muscles basically every minute of every day, so I was really worried I was going to dislocate something or snap in half. This flexibility means naturally my wrists, elbows etc are all super weak because they flop all over the place. It clearly means I need to work the muscles on them but its also hard because I can’t put any weight on them. Tough in a weights room right? Well. We went round ALL the equipment to try it all and see how much it killed me. Doing leg presses and crunches I found pretty easy because it was working big thick bits of my body. Squatting was also okay (and by okay I mean horrific but no chance of breaking). Instead, for bench pressing I had to literally just bench the BAR without weights on it and for squatting with the bar (yes these all have technical names but how am I supposed to know) I couldn’t even lift the first bar and had to get a little one. For kettle bell lifts I had to use a heavy ball because I couldn’t even hold the damn thing let alone bloody lift it and for all the other equipment I just had the lowest weight possible. Being short meant I also had to adapt to certain things like having to put my knees up on the bench because they didn’t hang over the side like most people.
These are all the reasons I never wanted to go to a gym. I’m incredibly weak and small and clueless. But you know what? I BLOODY DID IT! (with massive help and shoutouts and love to my new PT) I realised I do not give a flying fudge about the giant men in there lifting double the weight of my entire body. I don’t care about any kardashians lookin perfect and knowing what to do and being all toned and fancy. I am only there to try and get my body into a mode where it can actually do stuff. I don’t think anyone else in there was a malnourished coeliac with an underactive thyroid and extreme hypermobility? In which case, suck on THAT because I actually managed to do stuff! However weak or ‘pointless’ what I did may have seemed to pro gymmers, it made me wake up a little stiff this morning but without any injuries or serious pain. That meant I did what my body could handle. I’m never gonna deadlift 100kg or pull myself up to a bar but I WILL go to the gym again and improve my overall fitness and strengthen some muscles that will help my posture and enable me to open my own glass jars.
It’s funny how you can build something up in your head and make it seem like the worst thing in the world….but when you do it, it’s totally fine. I was way fitter than I thought after cardio and doing core stuff and I also managed to do weights, however small, which I’ve never ever done before. I impressed myself and proved to myself you can legit do anything, as long as you listen to your body and know your limits.
SO for anyone who is terrified of the gym, take it from one of the biggest wimps out there….it ain’t so bad! Just make sure you go with a nice pal who supports you and gets you’re weak and shy and crap at most things. Then it can even be, dare I say it, fun.