The first time I rang the fitness instructor was in September 2013. Thankfully he was on holidays so I was left with a sense of achievement without actually doing anything; that is so typical of me, I wrote it on another list and promptly forgot about it. I felt absolutely happy and confident in my decision to ignore this irritating urge I had to get fit until the first week in August 2014, following my ‘mad idea’ – see post http://wp.me/p4ezB1-87 in case you missed my new motivation/goal and haven’t yet questioned my sanity!
The first time I met with my instructor, I actually moaned about the length of the corridor down to the gym, suggesting that my work out had already begun before he’s even checked my BMI or weighed me! That tells you how deluded I was. Since EVENTUALLY embarking upon this new regime, I have been performing the public service of entertaining some members of my local gym 2 or 3 mornings a week with my attempts at using the equipment. Bright and early, when only the perkiest of neighbourhood birds are rubbing their eyes in search of worms in the dew, you’ll find me scrabbling into my tracksuit, filling my water bottle and off I go with a spring in my step, leaving behind me a confused dog and sleeping children.
I know this post comes dangerously close to me shouting on social media when I lift a weight or jump on a cross trainer. I remember the promise I made NOT to tell you every time I shuffled over the threshold of the gym, but I want to tell you that having said I would start training when I came up with the ‘mad idea’, I actually have! I’m delighted to say that in spite of my poorest of efforts, it’s going really well.
I have been busy using machines with mechanisms so complicated, Christian Grey would be proud to stroke them in a scarlet glow of naughtiness. I hop on these apparatuses with a zealous optimism, until the 18th pull/push/lift at the lightest setting (a pathetic 5kg/7.5kg), when my poor underachieving muscles are whimpering, by the 19th they’re screaming, by the 20th they’re whooping and hollering with delightful satisfaction! Cheering me on as I move to the next machine and start the process all over again, targeting a different set of unsuspecting muscles.
I had been eying up the rowing machines with a sense of longing (seriously, I need to broaden my horizons) during my first few meetings with the fitness instructor. Like ducks in a row they sat all masculine looking, taunting me. My pleas of ‘can I not just try…? No? Ok…’ with a shrug of disappointment in reply to his usual answer of ‘next time’. So imagine my excitement when at last, he suggested I try introducing 5 minutes on the rowing machine into my routine.
Whoop I was thrilled, and approached the machine with my newfound exuberance for scary looking gym equipment. He adjusted my foot straps. He adjusted the seat position, three times. Then we embarked on a surprisingly lengthy tutorial on the little LCD display. Workers in Cape Canaveral need less preparation! All this time I’m thinking ‘alright, I get it! Come ooonnn!!’ Eventually I’m ready for off. What happened next took us both by surprise. What happened next also brought gasps followed by words of shock and encouragement from the guys on either side of me, both by the way – rowing seamlessly and roughly twice my age.
A giraffe on acid would have more rhythm and grace than I had. No amount of coaching from my poor instructor could rectify the situation. ‘Push out with legs, pull with arms…’ blah, blah, or whatever combination you’re meant to use, was clearly beyond me and my coordination, the only benefit was the comedic value, I burned a few calories laughing. I am, it seems – incapable of using a rowing machine. For the moment anyway, I see it as a temporary hitch until my leg muscles get stronger. Damn MS has weakened the thigh muscles in my right leg, resulting in my knee ‘locking’ every time I push out. Which is hardly conducive to building a sense of rhythm and stride.
Now you’d be right in thinking that all this effort can only have a positive outcome, aside from the regular hilarities, but the paths I’m pounding to reach this outcome, are not smooth and without hitches. My typically Irish ability to laugh at myself and see the bright side of even the most ridiculous of situations I find myself in, are necessary companions during my 40 minute work outs.
Amazingly, out of this early morning humiliation come incredible focus, motivation and drive for the rest of my day. Plus the occasional eye-candy lifting weights among the retired gents has to help. The exercise bike I finish my routine on, that cheekily beeps at me if my revolutions drop below 40 per minute – is nicely positioned overlooking the heavy weights area, that cheers me off on my way back down the longest of corridors to get a day’s work done.