January is that time of year where people are trying to live up to the mantra ‘New Year, New Me’. But not for me. I think it’s a stupid mantra. What does ‘new me’ even mean in this day and age? It’s more along the lines of ‘reinventing oneself’, or ‘self improvement’ if you ask me.
And that’s what brings me to today’s post.
I have decided to join a gym.
Yup, you heard right. I’m joining a gym.
And I’m freaking out about it.
I have to confess that I’m currently with a Local Government public gym at the moment and it’s been really great. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing…
There came a point back in 2014 where I wasn’t feeling very well. It wasn’t sudden or anything like that, it was just a gradual thing. I began to notice that I was always feeling tired, my leg muscles were cramping every night and I was weak as piss. My eating habits weren’t that great either, so that didn’t help. I was still getting used to living out of home, paying off a big mortgage in my early 20’s and trying to work out how to juggle all the aspects in my life.
In summary: I wasn’t happy with myself.
I’ve always had body image issues; they stem back to when I was a teenager (that’s another entire story in itself). But one day, I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognise myself. I have always been a naturally thin person (thanks mum!), so I never really worried about my weight until I saw that my size 8 jeans were way too tight and I could see rolls of skin where my flat stomach used to be.
That hit home really hard.
It’s difficult to come to terms with the fact that gaining weight is a part of life, especially if you don’t do anything to combat it. I was beginning to understand why people were so obsessed with losing weight with minimal effort. I began to look for a quick fix so I could avoid the gym altogether because I truly believed I was ‘time poor’ and only needed to lose a couple of kilos and then I’d be back to normal.
I was so wrong.
I tried eating less food, but living off 1,200 calories a day made me miserable and I barely had enough energy. Plus, it wasn’t sustainable in the long term. I gave that up after about 2 months.
Then, I decided to try the I Quit Sugar 8 week program. I’m not going to mock this program because I did find it very useful in terms of looking for hidden sugars, and it made me realise how much of it I was consuming without even knowing. Plus, it completely cleared up my skin (that’s another story), and I felt like I had somewhat detoxed from a drug. In the form of cakes, biscuits and doughnuts.
However, although I ended up finishing the program, I haven’t stuck with it. For one thing, it was really expensive. And it was near impossible to go out for dinner or parties because there was barely anything I could eat. So, naturally I reverted back to my old eating habits, but a bit more conscious about what I was putting into my body.
My third attempt of ‘quick fixing’ my weight problem was to track all the calories I was eating. This was actually really fun at the start because I was using my phone to record what I was actually eating, but in the end it was just so tedious that I gave it up.
After the third time of trying to ‘fix’ my diet, I faced the harsh reality that I couldn’t lose weight by restricting what I was eating.
My friend had been bugging me for a while to go with her to a Vinyasa session, so I caved and dragged myself to the studio for a one off class…
And I loved it.
I joined up on the spot. After a while, I began to do Pilates classes on alternate days and began to feel heaps better. My mobility and flexibility increased and I was beginning to see the promise of a six pack. Coupled with my more conscious eating, I began to lose a little weight and gain some muscle.
Unfortunately, the classes became too expensive and my work demands were making it hard to get to classes on time. I eventually had to leave the studio.
Then, I was back to square one again.
That was, until I had a chat with a friend of mine who suggested that I start going to the gym. At the time, I scoffed because I was nervous, but by then, I think I had done a very good job of avoiding the inevitable. I begged my friend to go with me and show me what I’m meant to do. I mean, I’d only seen people use exercise equipment in the movies . And they were buff AF and extremely intimidating. And I definitely didn’t want to make a fool of myself. Thankfully, my friend was more than happy to help me out. In hindsight, I was lucky that I had someone I knew introduce me to the gym equipment and essentially helped me get set up. Not everyone is that fortunate.
During this time, my work implemented a ‘wellness program’, which incorporated lunchtime Yoga classes, so I jumped on that too. At this point, I was losing weight, but I was keeping it off. I even started to try other forms of exercise to see how well I went.
But after about a year, I was struck down with a really bad flu, a back injury and just life in general. The wellness program at work was suspended and so, right now, I am literally back to square one. Yet again.
And yet again, I’m going to try something different.
I’m going to try my luck at a franchise gym. Don’t get me wrong, the public gym has been awesome, but the equipment is a bit outdated, there’s only one location, set opening hours have limitations and there are very few people to provide professional advice.
Franchise gyms always look nice and clean… and intimidating. Even the idea of setting foot in the door makes me feel really anxious. I know they’ll be a million questions going through my head:
- Should I turn around and walk out?
- What if I don’t fit in?
- Are they going to laugh at me when I get all sweaty?
- What do I do if they are mean to me?
- What if it’s busy and I can’t use the machines?
- How do I use the machines?
- Is there a gym etiquette that I need to know about?
- Am I going to feel better about myself if I see someone who’s in way better shape than me?
- Will I be fashionable enough that they won’t judge my choice of active wear?
- Am I motivated to stick with this?
The list goes on.
I’m sure once I join up and I’m there for a couple of months that I will get over the anxiety, but it’s still a pretty scary thing to do. I mean, the public gym I’m currently joined up with is generally full of older people, but most franchise gyms are tailored towards younger people… right? There’s going to be people my age, sitting/standing/running on the machine next to me, and I bet I won’t be able to help but compare myself to them…
I am prepared to deal with the initial anxiety of joining a gym and paying the extortionate monthly fees… so long as I get results. And I know it’s ultimately up to me to make it happen, but I’d hope that the PT’s would be highly qualified and ready to help if need be. I just need to get over the first hurdle and join.
Wish me luck!
Have any of you guys experience gym joining anxiety? Do you have any tips for someone who’s on the cusp of joining a brand spanking new gym? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear what advice you’ve got on this topic.