The title was originally just exercise, but really, this post is about getting myself to the gym to exercise. Because, I do realise that I could exercise in many different ways, and I have tried, but the only real functional exercise that I can count right now, and at most stages in my life, has been getting to the gym.
CAVEAT: I am not mega fit, nor am I mega lean/toned. This is not a post about how much exercise I do, and look how fit I am, it’s more about how much I haven’t done, and my feelings towards increasing that and actually doing something I know is so good for me!
I have never been sporty, or that into exercise. I played netball in the school team, I had a few years of dance lessons after school, but I wasn’t ever actually good at either, and though I partook in PE lessons, I never enjoyed them, and certainly didn’t do any races come sports day.
I’ve just never been that good at making my body move fast or in a certain dynamic way, and I’ve certainly never been that into it either!
Moving into my student years, I still didn’t do anything sporty, y’know beyond walking fast to the local Londis in first year to buy awful cheap huge bottles of Lambrella… those awful habits at least died off by my third and fourth years. In its place, alongside the usual student life, I did sometimes go to a gym. I went with friends so sometimes we did a class together, which was effective, or occasionally just the gym, but I never really did anything beyond making my body try, and fail, to run on the treadmill.
After graduation, I moved to Manchester where once again I joined a gym. At first, I remember it feeling so novel, so cosmopolitan, to walk from my city centre flat to a city centre gym – the only problem that stopped that becoming an actual long term habit, an occurrence that happened often, was the fact I still had to exercise at the destination! HA!
So, I was a member of a gym at least, but not going very often and still using it in a fairly aimless capacity. On slowly realising how little I used the gym, I quit the membership, and didn’t take on another one for several years.
MOVING TO NORTHWICH – LA FITNESS
Fast forward to moving to Northwich like I mentioned in my post on Monday.
We have a gym just at the end of our road, admittedly, that’s a bloody long road, but it’s just under a mile away; about two minutes in the car. Gemma has always been a member of said gym, partly because the first café she owned was part of this gym, so it’s always been a big part of her life, and after she left her café there, she continued being a member, and always has.
When I moved here, I can’t remember for certain, but I think I joined straight away. It was an LA fitness gym at that time. I went along to the gym when Gem was going, sort of copied what she did, or just tried to make myself run like I thought was the best plan, and use some machines (weight machines), but I didn’t really know what I was doing.
In truth, I never enjoyed the gym when it was LA Fitness, it felt flat of atmosphere in the gym, the classes felt mega cliquey, and I definitely still didn’t know what I was doing so never really felt I got much from it beyond feeling I was ticking an exercise box.
Besides just the gym, I certainly tried lots of different classes there, but never found one that I liked, and that suited the timeframe I like to be at the gym. When it was an LA Fitness gym, they had a pool, but for all the good intentions, and good things I read about swimming, that is not a habit I can create. I’m pretty shit at swimming, but that aside, the faff of showering and changing regularly not in your own bathroom… nah, not for me.
One of the days I was working out at LA Fitness, I clearly remember another moment of not feeling it, at all, and just switching off the treadmill, where I was still just trying to make my body run, and failing desperately – I am no runner – and I just hit stop. I walked out, quit the gym and left it at that.
From then, I dabbled with exercise at home, and had a phase, albeit a short phase, of trying to run outside, where my only motivation was the fun map made on the runkeeper app I used at the time.
I found a local yoga class and LOVED it, and I went religiously, once a week, for a year or so, but that wasn’t really for exercise purposes, it was more to try and deal with my sometimes-horrific PMT. The yoga in that class was super gentle, and much more for relaxion purposes, and I stopped going, as unfortunately, the wonderful teacher from those classes stopped teaching.
My first few years living in Northwich, I was trying my best to exercise some more, and though I was frequenting a gym more, and then personally trying to exercise at home/outside, I still wasn’t really there. There was still no love to do it, I just knew I should because it was good for me!
LAFITNESS BECAME A PUREGYM
LA Fitness got bought out and changed to a PureGym. There was lots of local chat about how faceless PureGym would be. No reception to gossip at holding you up from just getting in? 24-hour access, 7 days a week? Entry via a code? Well, all those things that some were seeing as a negative were just the icing on the cake of what appealed and why I returned to be honest.
I rejoined the gym in January 2016. I had a good stint of some early morning spin and circuit classes, though they had to stop after a while as our café just kept getting busier and busier last year, and we needed to be at the shop a little earlier in the morning for prep time. But, aside from the classes, I was still trying to get to the gym. The atmosphere was completely different after the buyout; it was busier for one and much less cliquey!
After a time again of feeling a little aimless in the gym once again, I decided it was time to see a personal trainer. I saw a lovely PT, who I’d met as she taught our spin class, for my first couple of sessions, and she set me a program, showed me what to do, and having that program helped me so much in feeling like I knew what I was doing, what I was to achieve whilst I was there, and feeling like I was doing something beneficial!
The gym was going relatively well, until the summer of last year when my wrist problem kicked in with a vengeance, and wouldn’t bloody budge. I tried to keep going to the gym, but anything I did, felt like I was damaging them more. And now, in hindsight, I realise I likely was.
WRIST PROBLEM DIAGNOSIS
My gym sessions slowed down, and alongside this time, or half arsed going to the gym, I finally got a proper diagnosis for my wrist problem, after what felt like an age of just dealing with it by taking painkillers. I have nothing serious, thank god, just a specific kind of tendonitis, which is brought about by my occupation of making coffee, carrying plates, and basically holding a lot of things. I know it’s just my wrists, but I am using them constantly at work! At its worst, it’s bloody painful, and makes my wrists feel numb, or like planks, and at best, a dull ache deep in my wrist. Basically, my little wrists get absolutely battered at work, which is because I’ve never been very strong in body, especially in my arms, and shoulders, so I put too much weight and pressure directly into my wrists, rather than transmitting those forces into muscles further up.
There were lots more ups and downs and round the houses, but getting that diagnosis, was the start of finally getting sorted, as I finally got referred to a local physio early this summer. That first local physio appointment was the start of finally getting a year-long flare up under control again without painkillers.
The physio explained so much more about my tendonitis than the specialist I saw did, and put into my mind that exercise was going to be the key, which I had never known before… he explained that without a strong body no amount of direct wrist physio would be that effective. So I needed to work on that, whilst caring for my damaged wrists, or basically give up work.
And so, following my discussion with my physio, it was either sack off working in my café (not really an option!) or fix myself, and for that, I knew that I needed to drastically change my approach to getting to the gym, and working out in a way that would benefit my wrists.
BACK TO THE GYM WITH A SPECIALISED PT
I sought help from a new PT. This PT is someone who Gem has seen on and off for years, but she has seen her more consistently over the last 18 months in the run up to a hip operation she had last December, and in the rehab period since then getting her fully fit and mobile again. Hayley, our PT, is very medically minded beyond just pure exercise, so she is the woman for the job when it comes to helping me work out without further fraying my wrists and helping me to know how to work out to build myself up so that one day soon I might be pain free! There are many many other aspects to Hayley’s talents, but this post is about how she’s helping me and not about her amazing ultra marathoning!
I think I saw Hayley for the first time in June, and I’m nowhere near a gym lover now - I feel I might always have a love hate relationship with going / getting to the gym - but right now, I’m in a period where I feel *into* going to the gym in a way I never have before.
The bottom line is, I need to be stronger in order to stop exasperating a physical problem I have that is not going to just go away. My work will always be present, so I need to do all I can to contribute to aiding not buggaring them up more.
You can’t really make a decent latte without using your wrists, so I need to fix this!
The upshot is, I need to work out and build muscle where it’s never been! So… my wrist issue is sort of forcing me into working out, but the more I’m going to the gym, and the more I’m feeling improvement in my wrists and in my overall strength, the more I feel positive in myself… and the more I want to develop that.
So, that’s where I’m at today. I’m going, I’m doing it, and that might be because I physically must right now, but that habit is developing constantly, and I think I might finally be in the stage where I keep this up!
For me, I think because my work these days makes me feel sort of like I’m doing exercise often by default of doing a standing up job, that often involves a lot of making my body move fast during busy times, I feel like I don’t need extra exercise. BUT I DO. I need to be stronger… and I will.
WOW - that’s the longest ramble ever right???