It’s been about three weeks now since I joined Hope Park Sports and attended my first Circuits class. I’ve also been trying to eat a bit healthier and have stopped snacking on chocolate and fatty crisps, replacing them with fruit and healthier alternatives (sob). It’s been ok so far and I’m starting to notice an ever so slight difference in the size of my waistline, although I’m really starting to miss chocolate! Anyway, this week I took a big step and went to the gym with my friend Nicole.
I’ve only ever been in a gym once before, many years ago, and I hated it. The last gym I went into was full of uber-fit experts and I felt really out of place, so I was quite nervous about going into the Hope Park Sports gym. It really helped going with a friend, as at least I knew someone and we could stick together.
The gym at Hope Park Sports was so much better than I was expecting! It was a good size, not absolutely massive but plenty of space and equipment to choose from. Even though it was quite busy, I certainly didn’t feel cramped in. As with the circuits class, there was a mix of staff and students in the gym, and everyone was very friendly and smiley. I was worried that people would be looking at me but I honestly don’t know why – as soon as I got in there I realised everyone is so busy with their own exercises that no one has time to look at anyone! I relaxed immediately and decided to tackle my fear and go on the treadmill – and do you know what? I survived! And, dare I say it, I actually quite enjoyed it.
The treadmill was really easy to use: just clip on the safety tag, press start and then set the speed to however fast or slow you want to go. I started off with a gentle walk and built up to a run over a minute or two. Once I was in the rhythm I really got into it. The treadmill had a TV screen on it so I wasn’t bored just looking at a wall – and there was some great energetic music on in the gym too. On the screens on the treadmill there is a timer, a distance monitor and a calorie counter. I’ve never been very interested in calorie counting or anything like that, but it was quite fascinating to see just how many calories can be burnt off in a short amount of time! I ran for just over twenty minutes, with a final distance of 3km and burnt off just over 200 calories – not bad for my first go.
After the treadmill, Nicole and I went to the rowing machines and spent 10 minutes rowing on the hardest setting. It was hard work but I felt better for doing it – although I did find that the time dragged a bit on the rowing machine. Knowing we had circuits class on Thursday, we didn’t do anything else in the gym (saving our energy) – but I felt really good for going and doing some exercise when usually I would go home and eat rubbish whilst aimlessly staring at my phone screen.
What I’m beginning to notice is that once I’ve done some exercise, even though I feel tired, after an hour or two I feel a lot more energetic and I feel more inclined to do stuff – something I’m not used to but I’m enjoying! The day after the gym I was full of energy and in a really good mood too – a surprising but nice additional benefit to trying to get into shape.
Before circuits, I mentioned to Laura about going to the gym, and she told me about the fitness plan that Hope Park Sports do for free. All you do is fill out a short form that asks fitness questions like what do you want to achieve through exercise (for me, feeling better about myself and losing some weight, particularly around the middle!), what equipment you like using and what you don’t, and what you want to get better at (lifting weights, my arms are so weak!). From this, Hope Park Sporks create a personalised fitness plan that you follow. You’ll be told what equipment to use in the gym and for how long, and if there’s anything you’re not sure how to use, the staff will help you. The plan changes every 4 weeks so that your body doesn’t get used to doing the same thing, which I think is brilliant and definitely not something I’ve thought of before. I filled out my form and I’m just waiting for my fitness plan – once I have it and I’ve tried it out, I’ll let you know how it goes!
I can’t believe how much better I’m feeling about myself, and how much my attitude to exercise has changed in such a short space of time, all thanks to some encouraging friends and some great staff at Hope Park Sports. I’ve still got a long way to go yet, but I’m feeling much more enthusiastic about it all and I’m going into the bank holiday weekend feeling positive and energised!
Thanks again for reading and following my journey – next time I’ll be writing about how I’m getting on with circuits. Until then, have a great long weekend everyone!