The Gym- Fitness or Lifestyle?
Over the past Christmas holiday I was visiting my mum and because when I am with her I have a support system to help look after my toddler, I was able to treat myself to the gym. Yes, you read that right- I treated myself to the gym. My primary objective was to shed the remaining 2 kilos which are proving to have eternal life following my pregnancy.
Before the holiday I bought the appropriate gym gear: sports bras, long sports tights that double as yoga pants (with dri-fit technology), sneakers (already had those), sports wife-beaters… all in neon colors because you never know. Don’t quote me on these clothes’ names because I don’t know what most of them are really called. At any rate, I certainly looked the part when I stepped up in the gym.
The fact is I have a deceptively fit-looking build. Nothing could be further from the truth, I am and always have been super stiff. I remember, when I was in my teens, a biokineticist exclaiming “you don’t have a single ounce of muscle on you anywhere!” I’m sure the revelation was shocking for her because of the wool my body’s appearance is pulling over everyone’s eyes. I digress, back to what I noticed… The gym-life is a lifestyle. What I mean is it’s equal parts health-driven and conspicuous self-care driven.
· First day was hard for me to drive home because my muscles were quivering, presumably from being used properly for the first time in what is probably ever.
· The yoga instructor literally had to come and help me do some poses because apparently my balance is off.
· Folks strut around like peacocks showing off the fruits of their gyming labour in fashionable gym attire.
· The gym is like a bar: it’s also a social meeting space for groups of people.
· All the pickup artists go to the gym: it’s both true and disturbing that a good number of folks are looking for their future partners at the gym.
· The gym is the home of welfies i.e. selfies of your wellness journey. Lots of people (myself included) snap away on smart gadgets hash-tagging how ‘real the struggle is’ trying to look after ourselves.
· Remember the deceptive appearance my body has? I asked the trainer to show me how to use the rower and he overestimated my fitness level, set it at level 5 and rowed next to me at what I suspect is a competitive pace for 30 minutes. From then on, I took to keeping my eye out for him so I could hide.
· Elliptical was my jam. It felt like I was working out my whole body and I could close my eyes and listen to my music while doing it. Truly being able to walk with your eyes closed without the fear of eating concrete is pretty amazing.
· Endorphin high is a real thing. After every workout I felt energetic and generally happy. I threw focusing on the weight out of the window and focused on building my core strength.
· The beats are key. Music helped me keep a steady pace no matter what equipment I was using.
What I learnt
I went in there, wanting to lose weight. I lost zero kilos because I was eating like a horse the entire time I was home but I kept going because somewhere along the line the gym became about getting stronger and more flexible. It’s definitely something I want to keep up. This ellipticated lady is now convinced that exercise (in preference on machine of same name) induced heath is indeed wealth and also great for keeping up with dear 'Shebaby'.