As I embark on my training regime, the time has come where I must purchase a pair of Adidas leggings, black Nikes and unfortunate fitting vests and enter the gym, determined not to be distracted by the café’s shameless array of pastries – not this basic white girl! The image of the gym that I had conjured in my mind was a scene of pumped-up guys sporting some barely-there tanks and aggressive haircuts with a bunch of judgey, eye-rolling girls physically marking the border between the weight room and the cardio section. Sadly, this nightmare was exactly what I encountered but luckily, this time, my basic outfit granted me access and I was power-walking all over that treadmill in no time.
Reluctantly, I will admit that the gym is, I suppose, a great place to get fit. The treadmill, although often bashed for its simplicity and inability to radically improve gainz, is my go-to machine – mainly because the risk of popping a shoulder is minimal. ‘Running on the treadmill is one of the best ways to improve your overall health and wellbeing’, they say, and so running on the treadmill is what I shall do. The bikes, step-masters and cross-trainers were also in the safe zone of the cardio section, which limited the chances of my sweaty face being in the background of some pumped poser’s Tinder profile picture. Once I mustered the courage to venture into the world where it was clearly a crime to have a neck, however, I realised the wonders of weight training. Much to my surprise, by combining both weights and cardio, I didn’t start to resemble Arnie in a wig like I thought I would but my mile times started to improve. Seriously, who knew?!
Nevertheless, my favourite part of the gym, other than the cinnamon swirls, is the spinning class. Yes, it’s forty-five minutes of pure pain leaving you with a pair of jelly legs to negotiate your walk home but the combination of blow-your-head-off sprints and collapse-a-lung hill-climbs significantly improved both my strength and endurance – all from the comfort of an air-conditioned studio. The class also comes with an instructor knowledgeable in fitness, Dwayne Johnson quotes and rhythmic screaming, ensuring that our ears were bleeding so we wouldn’t feel our hamstrings snapping – what’s not to love?!
Although I continue to openly hate the iron-pumping, blue steel posers whose vibes alone make everyone feel a little uncomfortable, the gym has finally become more than just a coffee shop to me. After many months, the idea of running thirteen miles is now more of a probability than a possibility and, above all, it means I can eat two chocolate twists on the way out – result!