Instagram is full of runners doing strength training and going to gym classes. Not wanting to miss out I decided to get over my fear of the gym and join in. So earlier this year I signed up for a 6 month classes only membership at a gym. I only signed up for 6 months because I wasn’t sure convinced if I would actually stick with it. I At £12 a month through work it seemed a good enough deal to give it a go. Guess what? I’ve stuck with it and what’s more, actually kind of enjoyed it.
I’ve surprised myself by becoming something of a regular at gym classes. It definitely helps that I work at a University, where the gym is in the same building as my office and I have flexible working hours which most of the time allow me to attend classes. Not sure how this will change once Autumn term begins and my time is no longer my own though.
I have hated classes when I have been in the past. Still do to be honest. My fears of going aren’t about not wanting other people to see me exercise. It is the anxiety problem I have always had, ever since I was a child, about going to something new. The problem of not knowing where I am going, not knowing what to do, doing the wrong thing, looking stupid, unexpected and out of my control things happening. I’ve definitely experienced some moments of panic when trying out new classes at the gym. What equipment do I need? How do I use it? Are all the regulars laughing at me for being so incompetent?
The other problem I have with going to classes is that I am a bit rubbish. When I was younger I hated most exercise because I though I was rubbish at it. Probably because I was genuinely not very good at sport. At school I didn’t entirely hate P.E. I was good at running and I could swim. All the other sporting activities brought me out in a cold sweat. I can’t throw or catch. I was hopeless with a lacrosse stick and so bad at tennis that I was allowed to go practice running the hurdles instead. I couldn’t and still can’t do a forward roll and the trampoline made me cry. I remember everyone watching as my Year 7 P.E teacher determinedly attempted to force my long lanky limbs into a forward roll. When we were in GCSE Year my school sent us all the local sports centre to do exercise classes instead of P.E. Thankfully nobody had invented Zumba back then but memories of those aerobics classes live on in mind. I’m that person at the back who is out of sync and doing all the wrong moves.
This isn’t me channelling my usual negative outlook on life. I am actually quite rubbish at anything involving coordination, rhythm, or agility. As a result not all the classes I’ve been to have worked out well. Body Balance I didn’t enjoy as there wasn’t any time to focus on form. In any Les Mills class the instructor doesn’t have opportunity to correct your form or technique due to the choreographed nature of the class. Similarly Body Pump was reasonably fun however I couldn’t keep up and couldn’t move my arms for a week afterwards. CX Worx was hilarious. I went once and spent most of the class desperately trying not to get tangled up in the resistance ropes. Basically the less equipment involved in a class the better. Body Pump featured an overwhelming amount of equipment.
Classes that I have enjoyed with and stuck with have been Pilates and Power Pilates. If a class involves distinguishing between left and right sides, keeping up with music or repeating too many complicated moves at speed then I struggle. I love power pilates because it is done so slowly that I find myself able to do the routines.
I am noticing the difference in my running performance as a result of working on core strength and flexibility by doing classes. I’m not motivated enough to do these workouts at home on my own. However I’m wondering if it would be better to make use of the personal trainer service at my gym and focusing on doing my own thing.