Exercise Diaries: Induction Session At Gym Leads To Abject Humiliation And A Longing For Cake

Some people are natural born runners. I am not one of them.

You know the type, they pound the pavement with limbs pumping fluidly, their gazelle-like movements gaining muscular momentum. Nope, I am definitely not one of them. I wish I had heeded those wise words of Baz Luhrmann, 'be kind to your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone' because mine left me many years ago.

I need to have the structure of a gym to exercise - organised classes, blaring music, smooth cross trainers (they play nice with my crumbly joints) and the motivation that comes when you see someone with abs you could scrub your washing on. And it's important to me to pick the right gym with classes that suit, clean changing rooms and nobody using the hairdryers to, eh, create a bouffant look in their nether regions. No, sir, you may not borrow my hairbrush.

Woman running

Last night I was told I would have to attend an induction session at my new gym and my heart did sink a little. Because I like to refer to these as the Humiliation Sessions.

I HATE these assessments. Look, I've paid you lots of money and I'll probably only darken your door about ten times over the next 12 months so it will probably work out at about €50 a workout; is it really necessary to make me suffer any more?

Apparently, yes, it is and so I gather my courage and best sports bra and head for the gym. We start the painful process by discussing the unhealthy aspects of my lifestyle. The good news is that both the trainer and I are agreed that fluid intake is important. But the bad news is that I like wine, coffee and an occasional mojito (it has fresh mint AND lime, damn it) and he keeps bleating on about protein drinks and recovery shakes. I make a joke about preferring Eddie Rocket's malts to shakes but he does not find this funny.

(Image courtesy of Academy of Exercise Studies) (Image courtesy of Academy of Exercise Studies)

And to punish me for this flippancy, he brings out all sorts of torturing devices. There is a weighing scales, a measuring tape and *shudders* FAT CALLIPERS.  I feel like a piggy being measured for market but I do not make any more feeble jokes.

Then he announces that we shall do a fitness test. What fun. I run along the treadmill, gasping for breath and wondering if I could just make a break for freedom by hopping over the handrail and flooring it through the fire escape door. Then we do some press ups and I swear I could sense him rolling his eyes when I collapsed face first onto the mat.

It could have been worse, at least I wasn't this poor girl.

Eventually I am released from his fitness dungeon - limping, exhausted and clutching some whey protein in my hand.  Whey hey. I crawl home dreaming of buns (cream not steel).

I think they insist on these assessments to deter members from ever returning. Is the gym only for those lithe, skinny people that run marathons before breakfast? I wonder if should I give Davina and her 15 minute plan another shot in the safety of my living room.

But then I'd miss the motivation, the energy and the trainers' encouragement pushing me through the last set of reps. Not to mention the opportunity of seeing people like this fabulous fella:


Are you a gym bunny or a Swiss-ball-in-the-bedroom bunny? Do you detest the assessment session as much as me? And have you any funny stories from the gym that you would like to share with us?

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