Going to the gym: an honest review

A critical account of a self-proclaimed lazy person

Let me start out this critical account by saying the #fitgirl does not, in the slightest, apply to me. I don’t own a pair of Sweaty Betty leggings, I don’t take pleasure in the aesthetics of avocado on toast and I am unfamiliar with the rush of endorphins after a good workout. Perhaps needless to say, I am no Sporty Spice. Instead, I bare more resemblances to the likes of Posh Spice (I do enjoy wearing black) or Baby Spice (I’m not very tall), now that we’re riding this Spice Girls analogy.

But with my rather unhealthy lifestyle come some unhealthy drawbacks. When taking the stairs to the third floor laundry room, I’m completely out of breath and my heart is pounding in my chest. When cycling towards school, I feel the muscles in my legs ache because of the unfamiliar efforts. Perhaps the most annoying and impacting drawback to me personally, is when I’m going to a music festival, I’m yawning uncontrollably before the headlining act even takes the stage (I’m truly sorry, Paul McCartney). Conclusion: my lovely lazy life is actually super unhealthy and change is very much required.

This change happened with the beginning of the New Year. For once in my life, I followed the advice of my boyfriend, my ridiculously fit aunt and my own conscience, and went to the gym. As soon as I entered the Fit For Free here in Middelburg, I was struck with a crushing duality. On the one hand, I felt empowered, excited with the prospect of working on my body and health. On the other hand, I felt so completely and utterly out of my comfort zone, like I was standing in front of the stage at a Justin Bieber concert or sat in on a lecture about quantum mechanics. But I took a deep breath, wriggled myself into my exercise outfit (consisting out of sale-purchased H&M leggings, a bright pink Tim Knol is vet T-shirt and cheap converse) and stepped out onto the workout floor. All around me were buffed-up guys wearing football merchandise, fitgirls in colourful leggings and matching headbands, and countless torture devices waiting especially for me. Where to start my quest for health?

Luckily for me and my fellow self-proclaimed lazy persons, Fit For Free offers these little guidebooks that lay out this workout routine for you, based on what areas of your body you want to focus on. There are different programs for beginners, such as yours truly, and those of you who that do know how to strap themselves into the torture devices with ominous names such the ‘glute’ or the ‘pectoral’. According to this little workout schedule, I should start with a warming-up of around 10 minutes. Sounds easy enough, right? So I took place on a rowing machine, looking out over the excruciatingly long 50 kilometre road into town, strapped my feet into the holders and began my journey to health, a travel-sized Victoria’s Secret body and an upgraded stamina.

What at first seemed impossible has now become a routine. I got a subscription at the gym and made a pact with myself to go at least once every week. Those first few times I went, I slightly regretted my decision to become healthy. I never really enjoyed exercise and that much-talked-about endorphin rush just didn’t seem to kick in. Going to the gym really felt like a chore in the beginning, like doing the dishes, or taking out the trash when it’s raining outside. However, after a little while I started to notice my progress. Those first few weeks I was completely out of breath after cycling to the gym (that totally counts as a warming-up exercise, right?!) and I could barely lift 10 kilograms. Now, after going to the gym once every week since the beginning of the year, I’m no longer completely out of breath from walking up the stars to the laundry room or cycling to the gym. I can now do the exercises with 20 kilograms, which, according to my careful and precise calculations, is double the amount I started with. It might not be much in the grand total of things, but to me someone who adores the lazy life with all of her heart, it really is a personal accomplishment. Who knows, maybe I do have the #fitgirl spirit, just waiting to break free.

Eden van der Moere, Class of 2017, is a literature, linguistics and theatre & media studies major from Goes, the Netherlands.

Image source: memecrunch

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