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Friday, 24 October 2014

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I've only gone and joined the gym

My boss has a lot to answer for.

“Why don’t you have a go at this boot camp?” she said.

“Ooh, that looks good,” I replied.

Little did I know where it would lead.

This weekend I did the unthinkable; I signed up for membership of Workington Leisure Centre.

I nipped up there on Saturday, filled in some forms, handed over some money (they do say it can be painful going to the gym) and off I went home.

“That was easy,” I thought to myself.

“I’m not even tired.”

So yesterday I went back and this time I actually set foot in the gym.

It turns out it’s more energetic once you get in there.

I met a nice man called Lee who gave me my gym induction.

I describe him as nice because, although he made me work, he specified that he didn’t want to kill me, which was reassuring.

Lee showed me how to use each piece of equipment, I had a go and Lee suggested how long I should use each thing for and on what settings to get maximum benefit from my workouts.

There are still inductions for the resistance machines and free weights room to go but one step at a time - on Saturday I didn’t even know how to find the fitness suite.

Today I decided to head back to Moorclose to try out the gym by myself.

Well, it’s good to do something fun on a bank holiday.

Now today I faced a new challenge - other people.

There wasn't anyone else about when I had my induction.

Luckily the room wasn’t jam packed with Pamela Anderson lookalikes and none of the people looked like they were about to laugh if I flew off the back of the treadmill or wheezed my way across to the rowing machine.

Cross trainer first. I did my two three-minute stints with a minute’s rest in between and before I knew it I’d burned off 22 calories.

That’s not bad considering that some of the 15-minute workouts I’ve been doing on the Wii only burn off something like that.

Next it was the step machine - an interesting piece of apparatus I hadn’t realised existed before yesterday which is just like climbing loads of stairs.

Another seven minutes and I’d climbed the equivalent of a tower block without even a hint of altitude sickness.

I made my way round the rest of the cardio-vascular equipment and as I sat pedalling the hand bike, which uses a little water wheel to provide resistance, I wondered whether anyone had investigated the possibility of hooking up all the machines to the power network.

Many of them are already set up for their computers to start working, so you can set you time goal, level, etc., when you start peddling or stepping.

What about setting them up so instead of running on electricity they used the energy expended by the user to generate power?

You could go to the leisure centre in threes. Two could play squash while the other pedalled furiously to keep the lights on. What fun.

I soon realised I wasn’t an engineer and creating such a renewable energy source was probably a little beyond me and my teeny, unscientific brain so I got back to concentrating on my workout.

I finished off on the rowing machine and in six minutes I covered the equivalent of 1.1km.

That’s about the distance from my house to work, not that I plan to take up rowing to work as there’s no water between the two.

It’s a shame, really, as it takes me far longer than six minutes on foot.

By the end of my session I’d burned off 220 calories - more than the carrot and Brazil nut cupcake I had after lunch.

I knew I’d had a good workout as I wobbled down the corridor to the changing rooms, my legs a little shaky from all the exercise.

What better way to finish off my  trip to the leisure centre than a few lengths of the pool?

There’s a banner up at the pool which tells swimmers they can burn up to 350 calories in 30 minutes of swimming.

Clearly they’ve never seen me swim.

I’ll be lucky if I burn 30 calories in 350 minutes of swimming with the speed I travel through the water.

I managed 16 lengths and then it was time to get changed and head home.

All I have to do now is keep up the enthusiasm and keep using the leisure centre facilities.

Amazingly, I seem to be quite into it now.

Who’d have thought three months ago I’d be willingly signing up to a gym and enjoying working out?

Well, they do say life is full of surprises.

By Sarah Nicholls
Published: May 7, 2012

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