Wednesday, 3 October 2012


This will be difficult even for those who know me only slightly to believe, but I have started going to a gym. Now going swimming at the nearby Raich Carter Fitness Centre 3-5 times a week for the last four years has become the norm for me but the last time I entered a gym I was still at school. This summer and the time came round to renew my annual subscription for swimming and I found they had a special all-inclusive offer which was actually cheaper. so I went with that to save money rather than any particular intention to start going to the gym. I couldn't go until I bought a pair of trainers anyway.

When I did, I couldn't put it off any longer and booked an induction session which took place on Monday. I filled in a form about myself and got weighed and... oh fuck.

I'm five feet five inches tall and my weight was 15.76 stone (that's over 210 pounds to American visitors). I don't actually look it (I tell myself) but either way, that is seriously obese. I decided there and then to lose weight by cutting out, or drastically down, on the carbs -potato, rice, bread, and pasta. Normally when I come back from swimming I eat a chocolate biscuit or a mini pork pie. Yesterday it was a mandarin orange, today (back from the gym) a banana. So, like I'm really serious about this, man. There are fruit scones I like in the kitchen, mini pork pies in the fridge, but it's no way Jose.

But back to the gym.  A twenty minute induction showed me the basics of about half the machines in the place and I had relatively brief goes on them. At the end I finished with a ten minute walk-power walk-slow job on the treadmill. What surprised me a lot, though as I'd never been to a gym in over 45 years it shouldn't, was how high-tech everything was. The display on all the machines showed how long you'd been on, how many calories you'd burned up, your speed or pace or whatever it needed to show, and if you didn't want to watch the ever-changing display you could watch TV instead. The key to all this is a key, an electronic key which you use to sign in and then sign on to each machine in turn and your results are downloaded to the key.

Today I went in to have a program designed for me. I filled in another form and talked over what I wanted to do and she created it for me. Next I go and sign in the program will be downloaded to the key which will then tell me where to go and each machine would then tell me what is expected of me. Neat stuff!

Once that was sorted I went onto the machines, starting with ten minutes on the treadmill  where I improved on my first session by a third with power-walking and a slow jog. I did a stint on something where you have lift your feet up and down, sort of like stepping but harder. Onto a couple of sitting down machines where you pull with your arms or bend forward as hard as you can. Everything is graded and you can make it as hard or as easy for yourself as you wish and you can guess which option I took. I finished off with ten minutes on a cycling machine traveling, sort of, 2.4 kilometres. 

Now I know why people take energy drinks with them. And Ipods.

I shall, in due course, inform you of how wonderfully successful I've been and how much weight I've lost. Or of my dismal failure.

But I am optimistic because once I get a new enthusiasm I tend to fling myself into it, a phrase which in this case is quite appropriate. Wish me luck.

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