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I went to the gym and realised that it’s basically the same as a big night out…

I admit it, I’m that girl who wears gym gear to uni and splashes out on new sports bras with no intention of actually breaking a sweat.

I’m notoriously bad at exercise, the most I stretch to is a sprint to catch a train, and even that’s a push for me, leaving me red faced and breathless. I have no idea how to use gym equipment and the thought of getting all sweaty in a room full of people fills me with dread.

But after five months of neglecting my free gym membership I decided that it was finally time to get more use out of my collection of gym clothes than walking to Aldi (and getting a taxi back). I set a time and a date and promised myself that I would finally give the uni gym a try.

The morning of the big day dawned and it didn’t get off to a good start, the group of friends that I’d planned to brave the gym with had been out the night before and started making excuses, one choosing a “”Netflix and chill”” session instead (although all forms of exercise count, right?!) The group started dropping like flies until I was left with just one friend to help me enter this whole new world.

Fear started to grip me, with less of my girls as protection I was exposed and there were endless disastrous possibilities: what if I fell? What if people laughed at me? What if I broke my ankle? What if my tendency to faint at random times would leave flat on my face surrounded by people? But I’d made myself a promise and off I went, with a full face of makeup that I would later regret, into the mysterious world of a university gym.

I sheepishly entered the fitness studio and instantly wanted to run back out – all around me were people who knew what they were doing, from the girls doing impressive exercise routines on the mats to the huge lads in the corner lifting weights double the size of my head. I was grateful for my gym partner who led me straight to a cross trainer and helped me set it up, and after fiddling around choosing a radio channel to procrastinate for as long as I could, I had to take the plunge: this was it, I was doing actual exercise.

 

Despite a shaky start when I was informed by my friend that I was doing it backwards (I had mistaken the amused smiles from the girl opposite me as friendly encouragement) it wasn’t as daunting an experience as I had dreaded. I realised I wasn’t as alien to exercise as I had thought, the muscles that burned when using the bike machine were the same ones that ached after a night out in heels, and the feeling of hitting the fresh air after getting sweaty was all too familiar from leaving a club after hours of intense dancing.

I didn’t fall, I stopped caring if people were laughing and the adrenaline I felt afterwards was worth all the anxiety leading up to the trip. I’d done it, I’d lasted more than five minutes in the gym, and I rewarded my achievement with a KFC snackbox and a bottle of wine because those 350 calories I’d burned weren’t going to waste.

 

3 Lessons I’ve Learnt From My First Gym Trip:

  1. Don’t wear bronzer when doing exercise

It will run down your face when you sweat. And people will look at your half worn-off makeup and think you’re on a walk of shame on your way home.

  1. Going to the gym definitely resembles a big night out

The muscles that burn on the bike machines? The same ones that ache after a night out in stilettos. That feeling of hitting the fresh air after an hour at the gym? The same feeling of getting out into the smoking area after hours of dancing in a sweaty club. It’s the same.

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others

After trying to keep up with the lad next to me on the rowing machine I ended up pulling my back. For every pro rowing at 100 miles an hour, there’s another newbie struggling. Everyone’s got their limits and trying to match up to those around you will only end up in an injury and/or you looking stupid.