I've always been a member of a gym. I haven't always gone religiously but the direct debit was there as proof to anyone that cared to listen, that I did always have the good intent to go. Of late, I've been a slightly more frequent attendee. Not because I'm in search of the perfect body or I have hopes of one day being a body builder, but mainly because I have the eating habits of a growing teenage boy. Something's got to counteract it.
I joined a new 'black label' gym back in March. After a weekend of boozing and eating in Ireland for St Paddy's Day I hastily signed up for a year contract to a swanky(ish) gym I can just about afford. It was the ultimate in regret hangover decisions. As such, I've made a vow to go at least twice a week, mainly because on those two nights of the week I can't afford to go out because, well, because I'm paying for the gym.
Over the past few months, I've grown a slight irritation towards the gym, it's attendees and pretty much everything about it. People always ask me why so I decided to write a little account of my typical gym session to prove why elements of it do my absolute nut in.
Here we are.
Greeted with a chipper 'enjoy your work out' is enough to make you want to turn on your heel and run for your life. Enjoy my work out? Alright pisstaker. You locker away your shopping bags and pride and head to the gym floor.
There you are greeted with the mirrored walls.
Let's talk about those for a while shall we. The walls that give you no other option but to stare at the beetroot red, sweaty and fatter than you thought version of yourself. The one that, funnily enough, doesn't run like the athlete you'd imagined, but actually like Bambi after one too many vodkas. Whilst staring at this really unfortunate version of you (because you have no other option) your focus switches from your breathing and rhythm and on to the fact that your eyebrows need doing and that you really need to buy some new gym clothes. In turn, you loose said rhythm, stumble and suffer a near heart attack from the fear that you'll be the girl that face planted a treadmill. Strong look.
As if the mirrors aren't bad enough on a personal level, they are also the gateway into the eyes of one of two of the following people;
1) the woman you think you look like when you exercise. The one whose hair looks great bundled on top of her head. The one who glows, not sweats. The one who does this shit for fun.
2) the type of guy you automatically fancy. The one you'd quite like to stumble across in a make up wearing, hair straightened situation. NOT NOW.
Whilst on the subject of people in the gym, You are always met with at least one of my two least favourite gym go-ers within about ten minutes of arrival.
Rocky is my number one least favourite gym buddy. You know the guy. The one that insists on working out in a grey hoody (because visible sweat marks are a right turn on lad) and punching the air when he runs. The one who is running to the infamous soundtrack in his head, but who in reality looks like an absolute mug.
Katie Price is my second favourite. The girl who wears more make up to the gym than I probably will on my own wedding day. The make up wearing at the gym thing is something I'll never get. It's going one of two ways sweetheart, either you'll be too scared to work up a sweat incase it messes up the work of art on your face, that the whole trip to the gym will be futile. Or you will work up such a sweat that you'll walk out of here looking like a panda on a comedown. It's face wipe time.
Once you've got over the cringe and prat filled cardio section of your work out, out comes the little evil voice in your head that chips in about 'muscle burns fat don't you know'. I hate that guy. Then you stare across at it. The Free Weights Zone. Or should I rephrase. The Man Man Muscly Man Only Zone. Five square metres of pure testosterone, grunting, clenching and cock fights. God, help me.
An area filled with so many bulging veins that it looks like an A-Z of a weird genetically modified town, an area dense with the smell of protein shakes and the overwhelming sense that everyone in said section has a penis a lot smaller than his muscles would suggest.
You stretch, you clench and lunge away whilst worrying yourself into oblivion that your granny gym pants can be seen through your 'seen better days' gym leggings. You face away from the mirror and as such end up slipping a disc or something equally epic.
You walk around. A LOT. Always so much pacing goes down in a gym. Why does everyone just wander about? Why don't we all just join a walking club and save ourselves from 3 hours a week of awful pumping house music? You walk past the Greek goddess who's on her 17th kilometre without a drink break and resign yourself to cramp and a bit of self pity.
You exit the gym floor convinced that the agony of your Sunday morning is over, and then you realise what's up next. The changing room.
In to the shower you go, wondering why these things are never tiled white. White tiles would show you how many pubes and bodily fluids you are actually washing around. Dark blue tiles leave you with sense of worrying mystery and a consistent mental note to buy verruca cream.
You've been brought up with a sense of modesty, so drying and changing for you is done with a certain level of discretion. If only such rules applied to everyone else in Naked Wonder Town. Personally, if I have to be subjected to one more woman bend over in front of me, minus drawers, to pick up her towel I will not be held responsible for my actions. Especially when waxing seems to have been something she's left off her to-do list since 1998. There's the natural look, then there's taking the piss.
You dry off, not properly because the towels are made of paper, and get dressed. You never feel 100% walking out of there. You nine times out of ten forget one thing that makes your getting ready routine complete. Like your bra. That's always a classic. The hairdryers aren't as good as your own, and you spend the whole time thinking up ways you could bring the entire contents of your own bedroom and bathroom to the gym with you each day.
Granted, you walk out feeling good about yourself. The endorphins do the trick, you know it was worth the trauma and the 'enjoy your workout' guy is less irritating on the way out.
Well. That's all fine, until you have to get a slight jog on for the bus home & you pull a bloody muscle.