To begin, I had better come clean. I’m one of those people who whines about the way I look, moans about having nothing that fits properly and begrudges going outside in any form of heat that will give me ‘chub rub’. Yet, I do all the above while sat on the sofa, watching Netflix, eating cheese and drinking wine. Then wonder why I’m spending another summer in floaty dresses and clutching a hand fan.
Last year’s shift from an active job which saw me running around race tracks every weekend – counteracting my cheddar and cava habit in the process – to a fairly sedentary role, has played a huge part in, well, heading down the road to hugeness.
It is worth pointing out here though, that my new career is providing me with a far healthier mind, if not slightly squashier hips.
Despite having been a long-time member of some form of gym, I’ve mainly flounced about at the back of a Zumba class feeling more ‘grey elephant’ than ‘black swan’. But, when my membership at the local sports centre ended last month – which coincided with me turning 32 – I thought it was probably about time to take my health a little more seriously.
My new job meant new local businesses, and as such, I decided to investigate the on-site facilities here at Heritage Exchange. Only, the first thing you notice when you walk into Reform Gym is that everyone already looks like the ‘finished product’ – yikes.
Thankfully, the second thing you notice is the owner, Barry, who ushers you inside and gives you the guided tour. He’s fabulous, but as I’m standing there with no make up on, pasty white legs and probably unbrushed hair, surrounded by extras from Baywatch – is that still a thing? – I immediately feel out of place.
It’s always quite intimidating isn’t it? Joining a new gym for the first time – particularly when you’re unfit and those around you look marvellous. But like my mum always used to say: “Feel the fear, and do it anyway.” So, I signed up.
I was determined not to make another empty commitment to my health and fitness, so a few days after joining I embarked on my first class – RF30. Essentially, 30 minutes of pure hell where I genuinely thought I was going to vomit afterwards. Like some complete sadist though, later that week I was back for more. I know, I couldn’t believe it either.
This is now – hand on heart – my new favourite class. I can get in, work out, and get out during my lunch break, leaving my evenings free to complete the 10,000 steps I’ve been tasked with every day. The fact that there’s only about six of us in each session, and the ‘coach’ takes the time to explain exercises which I’ve only ever watched from afar, has made a significant difference. I’ve even made some firm friends.
Bitten by the bug, I’ve also been doing some PT sessions with Coach Agus recently. He’s already seen me crying – that was just in the consultation alone – but has made a massive difference to my self-confidence.
If I was left alone in a gym, I’d always gravitate towards the treadmill, cross trainer and bike – whiling away the time without a clue what I was doing. Making sure to steer well clear of the various weights and pulleys all the serious folks gathered around.
With James, there’s none of that. You’ve got absolutely no choice. Those terrifying dangly rings that you pull your own body weight up on – yep, I’ve had a crack at those. Stepping onto some massive box – done that. Using this scary leg press contraption – completed it, mate.
Okay, let’s not get carried away here, it’s only week four, I’m still wearing my ‘L’ plates and would never brave anything by myself – yet – but at least I’ve done it. Right? Each time I leave, I can’t believe that I’ve tried something new, something I’ve seen other people doing and thought ‘that will never be me’. Amazing.
The whole ethos of the place is to be friendly, supportive and encouraging of everyone else in the building. Which really is evident on its social media pages, and from the moment you walk in the door.
In truth. I can’t believe how much I enjoy going to the gym – that may be helped by the fact that some of my clothes fit again already, and I have lost a couple of kg.
I suppose it’s like marriage – you will eventually find ‘the one’ and I’m so happy that I said ‘I will’ to Reform gym.