I have joined the gym.
It would be safe to say that I didn’t get on terribly well with my experimental running, so I wondered if classes might be a better option for me. I did quite a lot of yoga and pilates when I was off on maternity leave (about 27 years ago) and got on well with the class format. I struggle normally with self-directed exercise – after 10 minutes or so I think ‘f**k it’ and go and buy an ice cream instead. Once you’re in a class though you’re stuck there, you can’t leave half way through – ‘Sorry, it’s not that I’m not enjoying it, I’m just popping out for a Magnum.’
So, I joined the Nuffield Health gym, just around the corner from me. I like that it’s within walking distance – I’ve never quite seen the logic in driving somewhere to use a treadmill.
Because the gym is linked to Nuffield Health, there is a strong health element to it so you aren’t just shown around a pongy gym by a stocky man in tight shorts and then left to get on with it, you’re given a proper assessment of where you are healthwise before you even get into the gym. This is good because not only does is give you a bit of extra incentive, but it also gives you a different way to measure your progress; not everyone joins a gym because they want to lose weight, so being able to see if things like your cholesterol and blood pressure have improved too is really useful.
So, the dreaded day arrived. I have managed to convince myself over recent years that I am one of those slightly chubby yet relatively healthy people – sure, my BMI may not be 20, but I eat plenty of nuts and seeds dammit, and I don’t drink much alcohol, or smoke. I drink plenty of water and nibble on the odd oily fish. I wasn’t too worried.
I was in for a bit of a shock. I think the only indicator I actually did well on was my waist to hip ratio and that’s really only because of my massive bottom rather than because I have a dainty waist. In all other areas, there was definitely room for improvement.
Let’s check out the results shall we?
First off, BMI. I can’t quite bear to post the chart, suffice to say that although not technically yet obese, I fall solidly into the overweight category. This is NOT COOL. I blame my boyfriend for making me feel happy and secure. I weighed far less this time nine months ago when I was miserable.
How about cholesterol then? I thought I’d be alright here, what with all those nuts and seeds, but apparently not. In a panic I rushed out and bought some Flora Pro-activ, but I just love butter so much, this is going to be tough…
Next they did my blood pressure. I was confident to the point of cocky about this one as in the past, even when heavily pregnant, I’ve always had low blood pressure. I’ve even faint from time to time when I give blood or don’t eat for a few hours. It was a bit of a wake up call then to discover that those heady 115/75 days are well and truly a thing of the past.
Technically I’m still just about OK, but he had to take it three times to get the top figure under the 140 mark.
The personal trainer talked through my goals and seemed optimistic about my prospects, which made me immediately doubt his credentials – ‘does this man even know me at all?’ I wondered, ‘does he suspect that this whole time I am thinking about sandwiches?’ I did almost convince myself of my genuine desire to get fit, so I guess he isn’t to blame. I was a little distracted I have to say by his over friendly manner; I’m all for getting to know someone, but I left feeling like I knew a substantial chunk of his life story.
(I suspect this may be the effect I have on people – I once had a counsellor who told me all about his boyfriend and the man down the road who was having an affair. Apparently he used to pretend he went swimming twice a week, as a cover for having a shower after each illicit encounter. I’m not sure this is the sort of thing a counsellor is meant to tell you.)
I have to confess now and say that I haven’t been back and done the circuits programme I was given, but I have been to some yoga classes and really enjoyed them, and am keen to get into a regular pattern of doing two or three different classes a week, even if just so that I can switch back to real butter.
What are your diet and exercise secrets? Are there any particular sports of classes you enjoy?
Disclosure – I have been given a gym membership by Nuffield Health for the purposes of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.