Want To Get In Shape For The New Year? Here’s How To Kick Your Gym Fear

Former gym-pobic Elle Gordon discovers the power of exercise.

We all have that moment, and it was the shop window that got me. It could have been the glass, and it could have been the light…but whatever it was, I was walking passed and I got a shock. That was me. But it was not the ‘me’ that I used to be. I had gained weight, on it had crept and it did not suit me.

Before you roll your eyes at yet another diatribe on gaining a few pounds, let me explain. A few pounds here or there is fine and sure doesn’t it happen to us all? And should you find the place wherever that might be on the scales, where you are in good health, feel great and are confident in your body then that is great. But for me as someone with a bad hip, carrying an additional stone meant that I was finding it harder and harder to do the simplest of things, like walk home without having to stop, or get a taxi. I was even bringing a crutch to work for those, ‘just in case moments’ when the pain would become too much to walk without. For me, this was an additional stone that I certainly did not need.

The thought of joining a gym at 27 having fleetingly dabbled in one a decade ago and not darkened the door of one since freaked me out. I had images of myself walking into a brightly lit room full of ridiculously toned, perfectly honed, tanned, rippling humans with white teeth, great hair and a penchant for Lyrca. Oh and that other-worldly ability to make a messy bun look the ‘must-have hairstyle’.

But then something changed. And it was simply the fact that I knew if I did nothing then tomorrow  would be the same as today – or even worse. My clothes would continue to feel tighter, my hip aches would increase and I would most likely continue on a spiral where calories went in but few came out.

So despite the knowing fear that I was ‘too squishy for the gym’ – an irrational thought I now realise – I joined a gym and got myself a personal trainer. I cannot even begin to describe how many times I thought about cancelling that initial assessment. I had visions of being turned away, told there was nothing they could do, to ‘do some physio and see how you get on.’ Never in all the shaky nerves that were jangling round my brain that day did I consider that I might just, in fact, be okay. Not brilliant. And perhaps never brilliant but that I could be okay at the actual working out part.

The first thing I learned was that my imperfect body blended in with all the other different shapes and sizes that we humans come in. Or maybe it’s just really, everyone is too busy focusing on  their bodies to give two notions to what yours or mine looks like. The weight loss is one thing – I have lost 5kg so far and it has eased my hip significantly. Another huge thing for me is the feeling when you open a really heavy door, I can feel how my body is like, ‘Yeah I can do that no bother.’ Strength. Whoa!

But most of all for me, the biggest thing, is the fact that my daily dose of painkillers has reduced. What was once the most important item in my handbag, I can now go days without even thinking about. I am not healed but I am fitter, leaner and stronger… three words I never thought I would hear in relation to me. Goodbye, fear. See ya, squish. Hello nimble and strong. Nice to meet you!

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