Fatty's first day at the gym.

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Pink!, 6 July 2010 Social URL.

  1. Pink!

    Pink! Silver Member

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    Walking into the gym for the first time you’re bombarded with the sound of the clunking, hissing and thumping of various machinery as it’s being powered by a vast array of freakishly healthy people and the odd fellow fatty or pensioner. Of course, there’s music in the background, songs that are barely discernable over the racket to begin with, but add the furious pounding of your own heart and your poorly disguised ragged breaths as you sweat it out on a treadmill or cross trainer and it’s barely worth mentioning. Of course, all of the fitness freaks have headphones plugged in and iPods strapped to their arms; they know better than to trust the gym to provide the soundtrack to their work out.

    Now really, it’s not nearly as intimidating as it seems to be from my first description. Yes, the first time you walk up to the desk and ask the slim blonde or buff brunette about a membership it is a little daunting, but they’re paid to be nice to customers, whether they’re tiny little slips of things dressed in the smallest swatches of lycra, or a podgy student hoping to look a bit better by the beginning of a new term.

    Right, you’ve paid a ridiculous amount of money for a membership, trackies, a t-shirt and pair of shiny new trainers boasting some sort of genius new sole that will either make you feel as though you’re walking on air or will make your bum as neat and round as Felicity Kendal’s in her dungarees. Now it’s time to actually work out. You’ve learnt how to use the machines; you vaguely remember what buttons to press to get the whole thing going; where to start? The rowing machines seem a safe bet, no where nearly as scary as the weights or treadmills. You sit down, strap your feet in, just in case you lose so much weight whilst you’re exercising that you float away (yeh right), push the requisite buttons, slide the weight dial to a suitable number, grab the horizontal bar and, well, it’s time to start pulling. Five minutes in you think you may die; pass out from dehydration due to the vast amount of sweat you’re losing, fall off the seat and die in a less than elegant pose thanks to the fact that your feet are still attached to the machine. Ten minutes in you feel amazing, as though you could do a hundred years of this exercise malarkey and never feel the strain. Fifteen minutes in you lie somewhere between the two, suitably knackered, but on the right side of death, for now anyway.

    You’re sweating and taking a break, a plastic cup of water in hand (of course the fitness freaks have their own fancy ergonomically shaped bottles to sip from as they glow serenely whilst running faster than you’re sure is possible). Glancing briefly around the room you try to decide what to tackle next, you’ve heard that the cross trainer kills calories dead as effectively as a semi-automatic rifle in a Texas high school, to that then. Once again having pushed a myriad of buttons the screen flashes at you encouragingly; it’s a cross between cycling and running, with your arms moving in tandem with your feet, hands sticky on the heart rate monitors built into the handles. After literally three minutes you’re back to greeting death, why do people put themselves through this? After seven minutes you can’t feel your legs and your brain is floating in a fuzzy space where the sweat collecting in every niche of your body seems unreal. At ten minutes you decide it’s time to stop, you’ve done very well for your first ever time at the gym and you’ll do better tomorrow.

    You wobble to the exit, stumble down the two sets of stairs on imaginary legs (the stairs themselves being some sort of Darwinian plot to keep the weaklings from ever even entering the gym, God knows how you got in then) and stagger to the car. Well, that went far better than expected, no one openly pointed and laughed, you weren’t nearly as dire as you thought that you’d be; you’ll be back tomorrow you decide, make that membership fee worth it.

    Of course in two weeks time you’ll be going to the gym wielding headphones and a water bottle; probably not in lycra just yet, but maybe one day. It gets easier day after day and you wonder how you could have possibly ever been afraid to go to the gym when now it seems like such a normal thing to do, almost essential really. The endorphins salsa through your blood stream making you grin and charge towards your day with shield and sword, or at least a P.D.A and a mobile. The clunking and hissing and thumping of various machinery is a soothing soundtrack to your mornings, at least until you plug your headphones in.


    ***

    This is a new style of writing I'm trying out. It has been read through and edited a couple of times, but if you see anything that snags or you feel should be changed please let me know! I'm doing an English degree and I crave criticism in the hope of self-improvement.
    x
     
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  3. LVLLM

    LVLLM Gold Member

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    really enjoyed that..thanks x
     
  4. Goodbye belly!

    Goodbye belly! Full Member

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    I loved it! Very familiar!
     
  5. michelle185

    michelle185 Full Member

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    This was very good :)
     
  6. Pink!

    Pink! Silver Member

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    Thanks :)
    It was eventually turned into a full feature article with quotes from some of the ladies on this site ;) I think it's hanging about in the gym section somewhere if you're interested ;)
     
  7. Pink!

    Pink! Silver Member

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    Actually, here it is:



    Feature article on joining the gym – structure based on Caitlin Moran’s features in The Times – most notably ‘Who Scares Wins, Doctor’ – 17 Feb 2011.


    Gym’ll Fix It
    With the Olympics around the corner and Britain about to be beset by some of the best athletes in the world, is it time that we shaped up?
    Intrepid reporter, Emma Hutson, braves the danger, technology and sweat-bands of that hitherto un-clambered mountain, the gym.

    Surveys have found that almost 4.5 million UK adults have a gym membership (of course only 27% of those people regularly go, but still, the intention was there). Some people think that joining the gym is terrifying, like Hannah from Avon, who told me that ‘The first time I went on my own I was petrified!’ and others feel that it’s invigorating, like Paula who said ‘I was pretty big when I was going but I never felt intimidated or embarrassed, I felt proud that I was doing something about it.’, and some just find it a boring necessity, like A.H. who said ‘It's a bit of a chore to be honest, especially if you haven't been for a few weeks, it's really hard to get back in to the swing of things’, so with all of these contradicting opinions I decided that I simply had to find out for myself.

    Walking into the gym for the first time you’re bombarded by the sound of the clunking, hissing and thumping of various machinery as it’s being powered by a vast array of zealously healthy people and the odd fellow fatty or pensioner.

    There is music in the background, songs that are barely discernable over the racket to begin with, but add the furious pounding of your own heart and your ragged breaths as you sweat it out on a treadmill or cross trainer, and it’s barely worth mentioning. Of course, all of the fitness freaks have headphones plugged in and iPods strapped to their arms; they know better than to trust the gym to provide the soundtrack to their work out.

    I may have been slightly dramatic; it’s not quite that intimidating really. Yes, the first time you walk up to the desk and ask the slim blonde or buff brunette about a membership it is a little daunting, but they’re paid to be nice to customers, whether they’re tiny little slips of things dressed in the smallest swatches of lycra, or a podgy writer hoping to combat some of those desk-incurred pounds. In fact, Zoe from Wales reports that at her gym, ‘The staff really helped [her] with [her] exercise programmes and were very encouraging.’ And I wouldn’t expect anything else, from people paid to stand around and take the odd call, not to mention the personal-trainers (who often wander around the gym offering advice when they’re without a customer) who can earn up to 55k a year in some gyms.

    Once you’ve paid a ridiculous amount of money for a membership, trackies, a t-shirt and pair of shiny new trainers boasting some sort of genius new sole that will either make you feel as though you’re walking on air, or will make your bum as neat and round as Felicity Kendal’s in her dungarees, it’s time to actually work out. You’ve learnt how to use the machines; you vaguely remember what buttons to press to get the whole thing going; where to start? The rowing machines seem a safe bet, no where nearly as scary as the weights or treadmills. You sit down, strap your feet in, (just in case you lose so much weight whilst you’re exercising that you float away), push the requisite buttons, slide the weight dial to a suitable number, grab the horizontal bar and, well, it’s time to start pulling.

    Five minutes in you think you may die; pass out from dehydration due to the vast amount of sweat you’re losing, fall off the seat and expire in a less than elegant pose thanks to the fact that your feet are still attached to the machine. Ten minutes in you feel amazing, as though you could do a hundred years of this exercise malarkey and never feel the strain. Fifteen minutes in you lie somewhere between the two, suitably knackered, but on the right side of death, for now anyway.

    After a truly poor effort on the treadmill you’re sweating and taking a break, a plastic cup of water in hand (of course the fitness freaks have their own fancy ergonomically shaped bottles to sip from as they glow serenely whilst running faster than you’re sure is possible). You glance briefly around the room to try to decide what to tackle next, you’ve heard that the cross trainer kills calories dead as effectively as a semi-automatic rifle in a Texas high school, so you should probably try that. Once again having pushed a myriad of buttons the screen flashes at you encouragingly; it’s a cross between cycling and running, with your arms moving in tandem with your feet, hands sticky on the heart rate monitors built into the handles. After literally three minutes you’re back to greeting death - why do people put themselves through this? After seven minutes you can’t feel your legs and your brain is floating in a fuzzy space where the sweat collecting in every niche of your body seems unreal. At fifteen minutes you decide it’s time to stop, you’ve done very well for your first ever time at the gym and you’ll do better tomorrow, maybe even have a go on the weights.

    You wobble to the exit, stumble down the two sets of stairs on imaginary legs (the stairs themselves being some sort of Darwinian plot to keep the weaklings from ever even entering the gym, God only knows how you got in then) and stagger to the car. Well, that went far better than expected, no one openly pointed and laughed, you weren’t nearly as dire as you thought that you’d be; you’ll be back tomorrow you decide, make that membership fee worth it.

    Of course in two weeks time you’ll be going to the gym wielding headphones and a water bottle; probably not in lycra just yet, but maybe one day. It gets easier day after day and you wonder how you could have ever possibly been afraid to go to the gym when now it seems like such a normal thing to do, almost essential really. The endorphins zumba through your blood stream making you grin and charge towards your day wielding your iPhone and a Starbucks (skinny, of course). The clunking and hissing and thumping of various machinery is a soothing soundtrack to your mornings, at least until you plug your headphones in.

    So is all of that sweating really worth it? An NHS survey showed that almost a quarter of Britain’s population is obese, and as something that only comes second to smoking in causing preventable deaths, it’s not to be taken lightly. We have been told time and time again about the health risks involved with being overweight, (heart disease, cancer and infertility to name a few), so why are so many people still obese? Aside from a couple of medical conditions the only reason that people put on weight is because they eat too much and don’t move enough.

    Programmes such as ‘The Biggest Loser’ garner over 4,000,000 viewers on ITV each week, and celebrity magazines constantly feature pages on who’s gained what or who’s looking too skinny, so people are obviously interested in weight, or at least watching other people losing it.

    One of the people that I spoke to, let’s call her G&T, said ‘I think that being overweight affects your confidence, and when joining a gym you do feel a little self conscious thinking that others are watching.’ Gina from Preston was quick to say ‘Don’t worry about people looking at you or staring, they’re all in there for the same reasons! Some people are overweight and do nothing about it, but you are doing something about it and that’s brilliant!

    So, in this dreaded month, halfway between the barely lost pounds of Christmas, and Easter balancing on the horizon, will you decide to join the gym (and actually go)? I hope that I’ve shown that it’s not too dreadful of an experience, and as Hannah says: ‘just bite the bullet and go!
     
  8. bluenose1

    bluenose1 Member

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    Very good, just off to bite the bullet and go to a circuit training class on my own for the first time. not looking forward to it.
     
  9. JamesRob

    JamesRob Full Member

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    Good read that Pink! :)
     
  10. trimlee

    trimlee Love God; Love People

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    Brilliant piece, you had me in hysterics Pink. Love the writing style; all the best with your degree, sure you'll make a great writer. More please!
     
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