Happily I handed over the forms with my bank details on it to the girl behind the reception desk. I had the tour and I was impressed so arranging a monthly direct debit was perfectly fine. The next stage was booking my fitness assessment.
Excited and motivated I booked my appointment for the very next day and it happened to be with the manager, James. I was weighed, measured and evaluated. I was still excited and motivated.
James took me out of his office and into the main gym area and explained each machine and what he wanted me to do.
First was a warm up on the bike. Five minutes cycling staying above 80rpm with the resistance set at 9 or 10. He left me and came back just as the five minutes was ending. He congratulated me and we moved on.
Ten minutes on the treadmill, walking at around 5km/h with the incline set at 1. “Watch the time and every minute increase the incline by point five. If you’re struggling lower the speed by half a kilometre, don’t lower the incline. I’ll be back in ten minutes,” and off he went.
Sure enough ten minutes later he came back to find me sweating, the machine running at 3km/h and the incline at 5.5. I felt like I was dying but my motivation and excitement was still high.
After a two minute break we headed over to the weights area. He went through four different routines all using the dumbbells and bench and then he gave me a card and circled the four exercises he just shown me and wanted me to do on my own. “Cool down with another five minutes on the bike then finish. Do this for six weeks then book another appointment and we’ll see how you’re getting on.”
I did exactly as he said in an empty gym – the benefits of joining mid-week and mid-year – and then finished on the bike, showered and went home.
The journey home was amazing. Thirty minutes of driving home thinking about how I was making positive changes and planning when I’d next go to the gym. I had a fitness plan, I was eating healthy, I was on a roll!
It was two days later.
The place was busy but not overly so, so getting on the machines wasn’t a problem.
Bike done, treadmill done, time for the weights. Two guys already there. Two fit ripped guys. Two guys who looked like they spent every minute of every hour of every day at the gym.
I did two of the four exercises then went back to the bike to cool down. What motivation I had was going because I was embarrassed by being fat in the gym. Embarrassed by my body.
I spent forty minutes in the shower, wasting time as though I’d done a full work out.
During the thirty minutes drive home I beat myself up for not doing the agreed workout. Then I started to plan my excuses because telling James I was embarrassed wasn’t an option.
The next time at the gym didn’t go any better. In fact it went worse. The place was rammed. Five minutes done on the bike. Ten minutes done on the treadmill. Ten minutes in the shower. Forty minutes locked in a changing room reading crap on my phone. Thirty minutes sat in lay by crying about what a complete fucking loser I was.
My next gym session was even worse. Five minutes on the bike, five minutes in the shower, five minutes in the cubicle, then rushing out the door with my phone pressed to my ear pretending I was on an important work call and had to leave as soon as possible.
I never went back to the gym and it was four month before I cancelled the membership because in my head I’d get over this and go back.
This is just one example of how my body issues affect me.
There are many other ways.
Many many other ways.
And each of them is more screwed up than the one before.
They involve jealousy, paranoia, depression, loneliness and a myriad of other feelings and emotions and not one of them is logical or reasoned or rational. Yet somehow, each and everyone of them, at some point, appears valid in justifying my body image issues.
I hate being fat.
I’m doing something about it.
I’m always doing something about it
But it’s a struggle.
And it probably always will be.