Diary of An Old Gym Bunny 3

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Posted on: 14 June 2011 by Diane Priestley

The action is hotting up. I am introduced to the cardio machines! Hello! What do all these numbers mean?

Efficient young Maddy reprimands me straight off. “Is there a reason why you are late?” (In that tone traffic cops use when enquiring about your speeding.) 

“Well it took me longer by train than I thought, “ I stammer, embarrassed as a schoolkid late for class and mad at myself for messing around with my new blender whipping up a green power smoothie and not leaving on time for my first Personal Training session.

If I had a car it would take me five minutes from Ealing to Chiswick but by Tube via Hammersmith on the Piccadilly and back to Gunnersbury on the District, including walks in-between and fumbling in the locker room with my new gym bag full of stuff, it takes a good hour (a work-out in itself). 

Maddy’s Monday morning shift started at 6 am so I can understand why she is a tad peeved with a tardy, mumsy beginner who can’t make 10 am.

Off to a rough start, I decide to thaw the ice by commenting on her Aussie accent and share that I am a fellow ex pat. She hails from Hobart and I am an escapee from up north and we bond a little over our fondness for London.

She asks about my goals in joining the gym. It sounds silly to say out loud what I have earnestly scribbled in my journal in private. “ I want to be healthy, fit, strong and slim!” 

Maddy’s eyes widen in shock as If I have declared I want to climb Mount Everest. 

I elaborate on my ambitions. “Yes, I want to build upper body strength, I say, lifting an arm so my bingo wings wobble. 

“And I want to build core strength.”  I have heard about these mysterious inner core muscles but have no idea where they are located, just somewhere deep inside my bulging belly. 

“Oh yes, I would like to improve my cardio fitness!” I add, as if clicking on an extra item for the online shopping cart. 

In positive thinking mode, I enthuse that I aim to come three to four times a week for three-hour training sessions; a work-out on the machines, then a class followed by a swim. And I want to try ALL the classes from boxing to Zumba. I’m determined to get my value out of this membership!

Maddy cautions me not to overdo it, as I haven’t been in a gym for seven years and, to be honest, my strolls in the park have not been that strenuous! She suggests I alternate the work-outs with the classes. And have some rest days too!  

She steers me towards the sea of macho machines. Thankfully I am not expected to use every one of them! Maddy introduces me to just four; the walker, the treadmill, the rowing machine and the cycle. Confused by the array of buttons and numbers measuring heart rate, level of difficulty, speed, distance, time, calories burned etc, I opt for a simple Quick Start. 

Maddy suggests I do about half an hour on the cardio machines followed by weights (which I will learn next PT session). She shows me a few exercises for finishing off. I enjoy these quad and ham string stretches. Maddie leaves me to lie on the floor in a quiet area. 

Contemplating my new surroundings, I feel like a fish out of water keen to find my feet (and my core muscles) and breathe the invigorating air.

I like this physical new world already. 

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