Saturday, 16 October 2010

Sweaty Betty ot Gym Bunny?

This morning I am sat on my sofa in my pyjamas, wrapped in my blanket with a cup of coffee, and I am feeling a little bit guilty. Why? Well, I usually get up and go to the gym on a Saturday morning, but I have managed to talk myself out of it. You see, I need to go and collect a parcel this morning, call my dad to wish him a happy birthday and speak to my cousin about our planned visit next weekend. Okay, so it is just gone nine am and I could quite easily fit these things in, but, well, I can’t be bothered. I’ll go tomorrow. Honest.
I’ve never been particularly sporty, but do try and look after myself. This year I’ve even started jogging, although I admit I haven’t donned my running shoes for a few weeks. There is an added bonus in taking part in these activities. The gym is a wonderful place to people watch and its’ etiquette is fascinating, as it is in the running world too. Although I don’t think I quite understand it.
First there’s the issue of clothing. Personally I have a selection of baggy jogging bottoms, most of which are too big for me, a couple of oversized scruffy hoodies and a handful of old t-shirts and vests which I have deemed unsuitable to everyday use but passable for strenuous activity. Earlier this year I spend quite a lot of money on some good running shoes, but often rock up to my classes in a pair of grey excuses to footwear I bought from a factory shop five years ago. I am unusual in this aspect. As I chug along on the cross trainer or get vibrated into oblivion on the power plate, I notice the garb worn by the gym bunnies. Although joggers and vests seem a popular choice among the other women, it seems that the gym is the place to show off your athletic physique. In fact, the tighter the better. Hair is immaculately tied back and trainers are sparkling. And they don’t look at all hot and bothered. For the men it is slightly different. Showing off your developed pecs is approved, but the more perspiration the better. It’s manly. Grr.
The thing is, when it comes to exercise, those who are seen to be taking it seriously are given priority when it comes to using space and equipment. A couple of weeks ago I had done all my resistance training bar the leg press (I think that is what it is called anyway – the one where you have to push the weight away with your legs). There was a male gym bunny using the said piece of equipment, and he had been for some time, hopping off it every few seconds to huff and puff for a bit before jumping back on again. During one of his breaks I asked if he had finished using it, hoping he would take the hint. But, alas, he shook his head, huffed a bit more then jumped back on. Giving up, I left him to it, only to see him graciously let a fellow manly bunny share his machine a moment later. Then there are those people who think nothing of spreading out their various weights and other implements of torture over the floor space, not even leaving a small corner for the rest of us to do a few sit ups.
I suspect the same goes for joggers too. My route takes me to the local park, but before I get there I have to clear some busy pedestrianised areas. This can be very hazardous, and a mere run turns into nothing short of an obstacle course, dodging around people who aren’t looking where they are going, jumping over discarded boxes, jolting to a halt as a cyclist cuts you up AGAIN. It is almost as though, as a jogger, I am invisible, and suspect that the general public don’t take my plight to keep going seriously in my oversized hoodie and baggy trousers. I see other joggers out there in full marathon garb, gliding effortlessly down the street, and doubt that they have the same problem. Mmm.
There is another fitness concept that I don’t get either; exercise classes that seem to have no point, other than to get all sweaty. Okay, so I get that you burn lots of calories and stay trim, but they are so BORING. I went to a “Roxy Snow” class this week, thinking it would be fun. Apparently it improves your skiing technique but is also great exercise. I have never skied in my life, but a friend suggested I try it out, so I did. Yes, I got sweaty, and no doubt burned a Mars bar or two, but pretending to snow board around some plastic cones and ice skate on some funny slidy discs just doesn’t do it for me. It felt silly, and, what’s more, stank of hardcore exercise dressed up as something “fun”. Now, my boxercise class, that’s fun – anger management and calorie burning in one 45 minute session. At least when I go for a jog I feel like I am achieving something and working towards a goal, and my body balance class has a relaxation element to it which I often need by a Thursday evening.
So, the question is, do I cave and revamp my gym look to fit in with the bunnies out there, or stick to my casual approach to exercise and accept that spending money on clothes so I look good whilst I get them all sweaty is all a bit of a waste of money? Well, I know one thing for sure. I might one day look the part, but will ever be an authentic gym bunny? I doubt it.

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