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Dear Diary Lifestyle

The struggles of starting the gym

My phone lit up one Tuesday afternoon a couple of months ago and it was a message from one of my nearest and dearest friends. I was expecting to open the text to read ‘Coffee?’, ‘Cinema?’, ‘Nandos?’ Turns out the message read nothing of the sort…. It said, ‘I’ve found this personal trainer and he’s offering 4 weeks’ worth of sessions for 50 quid!!….’ Hold. On. A. Minute.

Now, I wasn’t really the type who revolved their life around the gym. I tried, I really did but it often didn’t hold up. Having said that, I am the type of person who does tend to say yes to things that come my way; sometimes this is a great thing, sometimes it’s not, but hey ho that’s life!

Anyway, a week later I’m driving down to meet Gary the PT for an introductory chat about his fitness classes and what they entail. All the way there the Mars Bar that had been sitting in the cup holder of my car was staring at me, asking me to eat it… I resisted (I surprise myself sometimes). I had a sneaking suspicion that the first thing Gary was going to ask me was, ‘what was the last thing you ate?’ and I was NOT gonna say a Mars Bar.

When Han and I arrived at the meeting we were ushered into Gary’s office where he asked us about our diet habits and what we’d eaten that day (thank goodness I resisted the Mars Bar!!). He asked us how often we exercise and what we do generally to keep fit. I think this was the point that I realised I didn’t do an awful lot of exercise apart from walk my dog. Oh, and I also realised that I needed to grow up. It turns out that having coco pops for your breakfast every morning isn’t really an ‘adult’ thing to do.

So after the introductory chat I went home and told my brother, who is extremely fit and loves the gym, all about my new mission to get fit and healthy (the introductory chat resonated). He asked why I was throwing money at a trainer when it was something I could do on my own…. *Because Joe, we don’t all have the dedication that you have to keep in shape, my dear! * That was my main reason for joining a fitness group, motivation. I agree that I could’ve probably done all of the exercises on my own at the gym but having someone there making you do it is a game changer when it comes to getting fit and productivity. It actually makes you put in 100% as opposed to going easy on yourself and putting 80% effort in when working out alone. I’m the type of person who just wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have someone there telling me that I had to.

The first session was a Monday and I’m not going to lie, it was absolute hell on earth! I couldn’t move properly for three days after, every single muscle in my body ached… even muscles I didn’t know existed. This session consisted of a fitness test which included a circuit of 10 hard-core exercises that we had to complete 3 times, 3 TIMES!! After this session I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t do this three times a week and I wasn’t getting my 50 quid back but at least I tried. At this point I though, solid attempt Amy but the fitness life just ain’t for you hun.

I received a text from Han on the Wednesday evening, checking to make sure I was ‘still up for the gym’. Truth be told I wasn’t; I wasn’t even a little bit up for the gym. If Monday was the first session what the hell was the second session going to be like?! However, due to my ‘yes’ nature there I am again driving down to the gym, still aching like crazy, in my lycra and ready for whatever Gary had to throw at me (or not). This session was weight-based, I was filled with horror, dread and everything else awful. I had zero upper body strength (I lost all of that when I wasn’t lugging western saddles about at summer camp) and knew I’d struggle…again. Despite the dread I battled through the session and didn’t do that badly for my weak little self. I finished that second session and although it was hard, like really hard, I felt a little bit more ok than I felt after Monday’s session, just a little bit.

I found myself actually getting a little bit psyched for the Friday session. I’d managed to get through Monday and Wednesday so I knew I’d at least manage to get through it if nothing else. I questioned myself but ran with these new-found semi-positive vibes for working out. The last session of the week was cardio. I knew I could deal with cardio; I wasn’t very strong but I could hold my own on a treadmill. After this session I felt fabulous! I didn’t know feeling fabulous after the gym was even a thing but it deffo is! It was thoroughly enjoyable this time and I already felt fitter! This sounds absolutely ridiculous after only three intense sessions at the gym but because I was working out I started to make healthier food and lifestyle choices — a recipe for feeling good. I feel like it was this final session of the week that got me on the fitness bandwagon. My thought process was that if I could feel slightly better about myself each week, then this was something I wanted to stick at!

So, this was how my first week of starting to work out went. It was initially tough, really really bloody tough, but I soon learned to enjoy it. I enjoyed the feeling after finishing a workout and I think that was what got me through and eventually hooked me. I have been attending these sessions for nearly two months now and I’ve noticed physical differences already and lost inches from my chest, waist, hips and legs.

I totally get that starting at the gym is a real, humongous, horrible struggle but all you need to do is get the first session out of the way (and the second because you’ll probably dread that one too) and then you’re onto a winner! After a couple of sessions, you start to feel the guilt if you miss a session and you make yourself do alternatives instead. You eat better and generally feel better about yourself. I never thought I’d feel this way towards working out but once you’ve got the motivation to keep going it becomes a really important and enjoyable part of your lifestyle.

If I have any words of advice for those who are wanting to get into a workout routine, it would be to just start. Starting is that hardest thing, once you’ve started you won’t want to stop! Also it’s a great idea to start with a friend, you get each other through. Likewise, at the beginning of your gym journey, start a class. This will keep you motivated and ultimately get you hooked, then you can go ahead and work out alone if you wish! Oh, and don’t forget to take a picture of yourself before you start, when you see the progress you’ve made you’ll feel bloody FAB! So, all that’s left for you to do now is GO GET EM GIRL!

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