Well, it’s official. I have finally joined the gym in Bridgend! It used to be solely owned by Bridgend County Borough Council; however it has recently come under the management of Halo Leisure, a leisure company based in Herefordshire and it seems they’ve invested in the centre.
Following my induction last week I have since been to the gym three times and gone swimming once.
The first time I went was on Saturday the 5th. It was a rather depressing first session! The last time I exercised properly was around May 2010, a long time ago I’m sure you’ll appreciate, and since losing all the weight and being unwell I’ve really lost my previous stamina and strength.
When I went on Saturday I tried to ignore that fact! A combination of ignorance and feeling self-conscious led me to burn myself out on the treadmill within 7 minutes… I had to prematurely finish my run and then move on to some resistance machines after a rather large gulp (or five) of water.
The first machine I used was what my friend Ivan and I used to call the BJ machine – the machine designed to work the abdomen. I then went on to work the shoulders and upper back and finished on the rowing machine. It was a very short workout and by the end of it I was shattered and felt a little light headed! Oh the shame! All joking aside, though, it really was quite hard to come to the realization that all the hard work I did in 2009/2010 was nearly in vain.
Anyway, determined not to give up or let a bad experience put me off I forced myself to return a.s.a.p. As I was going to Malvern on Saturday evening until Monday night I vowed to go jogging at least once while in Malvern (which I did on the Sunday) and then on Tuesday while at work I created an exercise timetable for myself and went to the gym that very same night.
I was rather concerned it would be really busy… it was a Tuesday, it was evening, and people had had a long weekend of overindulging and partying. I thought it would be heaving! However it was pleasantly calm there. There were enough people for me not to feel exposed but not too many that I felt intimidated.
I approached the gymnasium with a metaphorical dull pain in my stomach, a feeling of worry and dread; I proceeded into the locker room, changed into my sports clothes and advanced to the exercise suite.
As has always been my custom, I began on the treadmill. I programmed into the machine that I wanted to run for 10 minutes at 10.5km/h at a gradient of 3.5%. The machine began just as I’d found This Is My Life by Eurobandið and off I galloped. I ran and ran expecting myself to suddenly find myself with a painful stitch in my side or in agony fighting for breath. But no! Far from it. I was back to my true greyhound Gareth self! I was enjoying the run, mouthing the words of the songs playing on Calcifer Jr. (my iPod) and the rest of the session continued on the same triumphant level.
To date I’ve been doing (along with the BJ Machine and the treadmill) reps on the leg press and curl, vertical traction machine, shoulder press, pectoral machine…the gym computer tells me I’ve been working my upper back and chest the most and my upper legs! I’m still trying to decide which machines to use, what weight to lift and how many reps to complete. I suppose I’m still finding my feet.
Following that Tuesday I went swimming on Wednesday, to the gym again on Thursday and then again yesterday (the 12th). I think my body has had quite a shock, going from no exercise to sudden intense workouts- and each time with an increase in weight…so much so that this morning I woke up with sore arms. It hurt so much to stretch them out – eek!
My friend (and long-distance PT), Charlotte, said it may be DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). Having read about it, I believe she is dead right. As always. I suppose my body is just telling me ‘Woah, hold your horses dude! Gimme a break’. Consequently I’m going to wait a few days until I work out again, and I think I’ll take it easier/slower and also avoid increasing the weight on the machines.
Anyway – since joining I’ve been feeling much better generally. Exercise really is good for the psyche and having something to do in the evenings or on days off is a good thing too! I’m hoping that I’ll soon enough be putting on weight and gaining more definition. It might seem vain, but I don’t care! In reality, I remember in final year when I was exercising I felt much more confident in and of myself and I honestly think exercising did that. Running has always helped to clear my mind and so doing a bit of cardio each time I go to the gym will help in that respect, and maybe also having a bit more definition gave me a better self-image which then added to my confidence levels?! Who knows…but whatever it was, I’m convinced that it was my working out which helped with my PMA (positive mental attitude).
Once this DOMS has cleared I’ll be going back and will be a bit wiser with my exercising. Mission not yet complete but definitely underway! Oh and I want to join some classes too: circuits; fab abs; and tai chi!