I’ve been weighing it up for a while now, whether to join a gym (again). Apparently 80% of Americans who actually have a gym membership don’t use it. EIGHTY PER CENT!!! Here in the UK gym memberships have exceeded 9 million, that’s 1 in every 7 people….. so I’m in good company.
More than ever now gyms are way more accessible to all. Apparently you can even be referred to a council-run one for free if you meet certain criteria. I’ve found this out scouting my three local gyms, one council and two private along with the fact that most seem not to tie you into a contract anymore and the joining fee is very negotiable.
I’ve given my trainer a tight spec, reform my wine-loving body into something vaguely resembling ‘beach ready’ in three months. So following my induction where the full horror of a winter of very little exercise and a whole lotta wine has been exposed I’m almost back on the straight and narrow. I had witnessed firsthand what a stair master can do for a girls butt on countless Kardashian Snapchat stories and to be honest I was gagging to be let loose on it so it was with oodles of enthusiasm that even more my rigid programme was written I was back at the gym and being shown the beast.
Side note here….. the beast is situated slap bang in the middle of the gym between the elliptical trainers and treadmills and directly facing four recumbent bikes. Now my gym appears to offer a safe exercising environment to the slightly older possibly ex-golfer and I am so grateful that is the case and that my decrepit first attempt at stair climbing wasn’t witnessed by any semi-hot 30 something gym-honed Adonis-types.
In a previous gym-life I had found myself sharing first a small jacuzzi and subsequently a cosy sauna (where we struck up an awkward conversation) with someone who clearly spent every waking moment in the pursuit of a plummeting body fat percentage only to then discover that he was the object of my best friends and my teenage crush. The realisation hit me as I sat there in my swimsuit (he in his trunks), on the hot wooden benches, hair visibly frizzing, Fitbit melting onto my wrist. Yes THIS was him. Top of the junior squash league and now proud owner of no discernible body fat. I left soon after.
I managed to climb 10 floors at my first attempt and the next day I was back in the gym to be formally introduced to my new programme which contained a finishing flourish of a climb of 30 floors. My trainer cheerfully informed me that if I could reach 30 then to add a further one on each subsequent visit. As I climbed carefully off and steadied myself on the side bars I exchanged a knowing look with a recumbent cyclist and vowed to do better next time. Currently I’m a week in and on 23!
This gym really hits all my wants and needs and I know I can be a harsh critic but it seems to have been very sensitively designed. There are little touches that make me think of going on beyond the initial three months. For a start the jacuzzi is MASSIVE and boasts a frosted door so rubbernecking is actively discouraged. I really don’t want to touch a strangers leg with my own while bubbles fight their way into by swimsuit.
There is both a steam room and sauna…. and as yet no former top sports stars have been spotted although the steam room offers zero visibility until you’re in by which time you’re committed. There is an encouragement to join into social things too like 5 & 10km fun runs as a team. I have a shameful confession that I registered for Parkrun and while receiving lovely emails from them on a weekly basis, have never once set foot on a course. I’m definitely signing up for the 5km run that I’ve been told is being held in a month or two, apparently four laps of the golf course and all in aid of charity (I can only imagine how amusing that must be for the golfers).
I had a chat with the gym manager about my first impressions of the gym (it’s amazing what can be achieved whilst recumbent cycling), he seemed pleased to hear my unrequested feedback. So to summarise these are the ace things about my new gym:
- There is NO man cave (where entry requirements call for a beard, hat and hoodie – all worn together of course)
- The floor area where one is free to wobble perched atop a fitball is mostly HIDDEN from general gym traffic
- There is a swimming pool
- The gym staff are there JUST for you
- There is NO jacuzzi voyeurism
- They have cleverly made peak membership the best times to go and so paying the extra means you can avoid the worst of the gym traffic
- The induction was PROPER…. I mean electodes attached to you and an hour and a half long chat about EVERYTHING
I realise this sounds like a sponsored blog about this place and I only have had maybe four gym memberships at different clubs previously to compare it to but I feel like I’ve found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow with this place! This blog wouldn’t be complete however without me naming it so here’s a link.