Endorsing endorphins

14 Oct

Slave to the gym. Addicted to exercise. Fanatical about fitness.

Three mindsets that I’ve always struggled to believe actually existed, despite the protests of even the most convincing health propaganda campaigns/gym marketing teams/charity marathon runners. I just never saw how you could crave something that was so, well, horrible.

That is, until I discovered Classes. Now, I’ve long been a huge fan of fads. From fashion to food, I’m always the first to excitedly jump on a new kind of bandwagon (and often the first to leave it just as enthusiastically a few weeks later). This permeates unavoidably into my (loosely titled) ‘fitness regimes’ of the past. I’ve tried joining the gym only to spend five minutes on the cross trainer followed by 45 minutes in the spa, convincing myself that a steam bath was the equivalent in cardiovascular exercise to a hearty 5k run. I’ve signed up for charity runs and completed them, I’m proud to say, but only after a hastily cobbled-together training programme of not eating crisps  the week before the run. I got so good at forging notes to get me out of P.E. at school that I started teaching calligraphy behind the bike sheds. You get the idea. The mere sight of a treadmill and a pair of trainers has generally had me running (okay, okay, lolling along at a snail’s pace) for the hills.

But this week, I woke up on Monday and I… Get this… wanted to exercise. I’ve no idea where this new found gusto came from. I went swimming the previous week, out of a sense of duty (despite hating exercise, I still do the bare minimum to just ensure I stay alive), but nothing prepared me for this sense of drive that I seem to have somehow acquired.

Grabbing opportunity by the proverbial balls before it had chance to beat a track away from me, I packed my gym kit and after work, headed to the local leisure centre in search of something that was at the same time enticingly and terrifyingly called ‘POWER HOUR’. Now, Ive generally avoided exercise classes in the past. I know how unfit I am. I don’t want a whole room of people to share that knowledge. Even less is the desire to watch myself in the mirror as I mis-coordinate steps and get redder and redder. However, I decided it was time to man up in the spirit of positivity.

One day...

One day...

I entered the classes and was furnished with weights, barbells (I think they’re called that, those things that strong men at fairs in the 1920s used to carry), a step, a mat and dumbbells. This almost scared the enthusiasm out of me, however I was determined to press on with my new quest for fitness. Just the idea of being fit was spurring me on. The class itself was surprisingly… Okay. I didn’t feel exhausted, but I felt stretched. I was able to keep rhythm and pace with the rest of the people in there. I didn’t even fall over (an achievement in everyday life, not just gym class so double points here).

I left with one of those ‘glows’ you hear about. The ones only produced by being Cheggers,  doing the sex or exercise. I assure you it was the latter that put those roses in my cheeks.

The next day brought (as I’d suspected it might) the inability to walk, raise my arms, lower my arms, sit down, stand up, bend over or any of the everyday movements that I’d previously taken for granted. But still I wasn’t disenchanted! For some reason I was proud of my aches. I liked the fact that I’d done enough to feel as stiff as the proverbial board. So, rather than take a nice hot bath that night, I did the unthinkable.

That’s right, I went to another class.

Boxing circuits this time, which was even better than the Power Hour as I got to whack various punch bags and throw myself around the room in the manner of someone not quite in possession of her own mental faculties (which, in fairness, is probably very true given the recent passion for exercise).

Today I’m aching double-time, which is giving me even more grim satisfaction. I actually felt like going to another class again tonight, although prior plans to meet friends put paid to that idea.

Could this be a whole new leaf for me? I’ve a sneaking suspicion that I’m quite simply cruising along shotgun on another bandwagon, but I hope it lasts. I feel absolutely brilliant and really inspired to carry on. For now though, I’ll just sit back (or should that be do sit-ups?) and enjoy the ride.

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