Andrea goes to the Gym
By Andrea Rennick
Last October, I did something I never thought I would ever do.
I joined a gym.
Like a lot of other things, I sort of fell into it. It had become too cold for me to walk outside without needing my inhaler, so I started looking around for other options.
At the first place I called, the one nearest to my home, a perky voice answered, “Gymnasia, Kathleen speaking. How may I help you?”
Something triggered deep in my mind, and I said, “Kathleen, as in Kathleen?”
Turns out I knew her as my mother’s neighbour. Oh the joys of living in a small town!
Kathleen set me up with an introductory offer and I went. Actually, I made the mistake of mentioning it to my husband when he got home from work. He insisted supper was fine, the kids were fine, and it would be no problem for me to go to the gym right now.
Frankly, I think he was a little too enthusiastic.
So I went, and I tentatively got on the treadmill, starting it easy. I was shown how to use the buttons, and they even discretely looked away when it was time to type in my weight. I managed to stay on the treadmill that first time for the full half-hour without falling off. It took at least a week for me to get used to the motion of the machine and not list dangerously to starboard every time I dismounted.
I’ve started to get a little cocky, and like a good trainer, the treadmill lets me know who is boss. You see, at the end of the timed workout, it slows down and counts the last 30 seconds. If you time yourself right, you can stop walking and the pad will pull you backwards and deposit you gently on the floor behind you.
Sure enough, the day I was feeling really good about this, I miscalculated while the manager and a few other ladies were nearby. They are really fit people, as they moved quite fast when they heard me thunk into the wall. So now I just consider myself lucky that I am co-ordinated enough to grab my water bottle or walk without holding onto the handy rails in front and to the side.
I had the opportunity to have a workout program set up just for me, and one of the trainers walked me through it. He showed me how to use each piece of equipment and recommended good starting weights and repetitions. Referred to as “Reps” by us body-builder types. It’s a challenge some days. I know not everyone can lift those five-pound dumbbells with as much finesse as I can. That time I dropped them on my toe was a fluke really.
Some of the scarier machines, resembling medieval-like torture devices, turned out to be padded machines of bliss. They were actually fun and interesting, not as bad as they looked. There are, however, a few machines that make me weaker in the knees than my husband does.
Now that it is winter, leaving the gym is interesting. After a workout, I have to bend down, untie my sneakers and replace them with my winter boots. This only sounds easy. I’m thinking of suggesting they put some comfy chairs in the entryway.
It wasn’t even January when I began, and I had resolved to exercise more, and to my surprise I stuck to it. My family has been a big help, helping me to remember and pushing me out the door. Especially when I am cranky. It seems a workout improves my mood. Who knew?
So now the words do not stick in my throat so much when I say, “I need to go to the gym.” I’ve stopped looking behind me to see who said that. I’m actually looking forward to setting up a more intensive program. Maybe they’ll suggest I can leg lift 35 whole pounds. At any rate, I know it has become fun, has more benefits than I originally thought, and is so very worth it.
Andrea Rennick is a homeschooling mom of four children, ranging in age from 2 to 15. A sense of humour is a big part of dealing with the ins and outs of her day. She can also be found at her website, www.atypicalife.net. Reach her at