Tuesday, 16 December 2008

My name's Lauren and I have an addiction...

It was November 22 when this draft was written and I'd only managed to Xmas shop for 1.5 cousins and 0.5 of a flatmate. That's horrendously shocking for a shopaholic.

I blame my recent lapse in concentrated shopping attemps on my newfound gym addiction.

That's right readers, no need to rub your eyes in disbelief or assume that was one huge typo - I have the beginnings of a problem. Albeit a good one, but this is unchartered territory for me.

Having decided earlier this year (5 months ago) that I might resign in February and go home to the land where freedom of speech, women's rights, sexual harrassmant laws and worker's unions are abundant, I realised that it was time to shake the 3 year bulge...which set in 2.5 years ago. It's just taken me that long to A) realise I hate those 5 extra kgs with a passion and B) have the engery or motivation to do anything about it.

Hearing fantastic rumours that a Fitness First opened 10 minutes down the road from my apartment I whooped with joy. I'd previously been a member at home in Aus and loved their group exercise classes. I was a pilates addict, going so far as to drag a tight-hamstring afflicted male friend along with me every week.

By the time I took this job, I was a size 10, had 2 jobs, was going to uni & doing pilates religiously - to put it mildly I was in far greater shape that I am now.

With all the guts I could muster, I made the phone call, went in and met a membership consultant and signed my hard-earned dizzas away. For a similar price to home I now have access to all equipment and all classes. Another Fitness First branch 10-15 mins drive from my place has a pool, so if I feel a burning desire to do laps like an olympian I can. My membership involved a non-negotiable, non-avoidable and completely mandatory fitness assessment + triple pack of sessions with a personal trainer. The necessity of these sessions is two-fold:

1. To make sure I'm not a heart attack in the making who's planning to sue the gym's pants off


2. That I'll be impressed with the PT sessions and buy more.

I'm a typically terrible impulse shopper and managed to be strong in Aus and not go beyond the included triple pack. This time however, my african arse and I decided to employ the power of a personal trainer and all his wisdom.

Wisdom = almost tear-inducing sweat sessions that result in me struggling to walk for days, almost crying when I sneeze and being taunted with my surname like I'm one of the boys while I'm being smashed aroung the gym like a human tennis ball.

I'm your slightly above average girly girl. I hate sweat, I hate pain and while I'm not averse to it for great results, I dont'really like gut-busting exercise. My trainer Jimmy is from Scotland and I was right to worry about a language barrier. Usually people in Dubai have trouble understanding ME but his accent is something else. Having lived in England for something like 10 years, he's lost the Scottish lilt and has developed a hybrid accent that's so hard to understand sometimes it's like trying to crack a code from the Pentagon. I'm sure he thinks I have speech difficulties because I'm always asking him to repeat himself. I started out being polite and saying "pardon?" but that quickly grew old. He's always saying ''huh'' or ''what'' when I talk, so they're the words that make up most of our conversations.

Because I'm fundamentally a big sook, I don't like and am secretly terrified of pain. I'll do anything to avoid it, but there's no fooling him with chatting to try to get extended rest time. The latest trend is that every time I say ''huh'' or ''what'' in the middle of a set, I owe him 10 situps, push ups, squats or whatever cruel action he sees fit. I don't even know Iím saying it half the time until I see his eyes light up and he'll announce the new total. During our last session I racked up a debt of 50 stomach crunches.

I'm maintaining that if he didn't speak to me during a set I wouldn't say the magic words. When I'm distracted with trying to shoulder press ridiculous amounts of weight, of course I'm going to say ''huh'' to anything anyone says to me. An adjudicator from Gold Lotto could come along and shout in my ear that I've just won the jackpot and I'd still say the same thing. Perhaps slighly louder + preceeded by ''effing'', but you get my drift.

I've developed an intense dislike for sweat. As a swimmer, you feel warm in the pool but the sweat just pools with everyone else's. Gross. In pilates, sweat isn't very common - everyone just feels very zen. Give me 5 minutes on the treadmill and I'm sweating like a pig. Follow that with an intense weight workout and I'm dripping like Kylie Minogue's super-gyrating backup dancers - I just don't gyrate or have a fabulous costume.

The first time I actually DRIPPED sweat on the floor I was contorted in a stupid position with weights in hand. I felt it get a roll going through my hair, down my forehead and saw it land with a plop on the mat below me. Forgetting the weights, I stood bolt upright, looked at the floor like I'd just seen a surgeon spit-polish a piece or sterile surgical equipment and uttered an exhausted, yet revolted ''ugh''.

Jimmy looked at me with half raised eyebrows, as if I was insane, said ''it's only water'' and proceeded to make me double the total amount he'd given me. The drop of sweat made my easily distractable brain think of a girl I went to high school with. Her older sister accidentally had the sweat gland under one of her arms cut during surgery and her face was always half red at sports events. I briefly considered having both my sweat glands cut but realised that probably wouldn't stop me sweating - my face just wouldn't go so red.

After our first session I was in 8 out of 10 pain for 3.5 days. I could hardly walk, let alone work. The day after our intensive leg session I started a 9 day Singapore/Brisbane trip. My legs still didn't feel normal by the end of that trip. He later announced that session was designed to shock me and to see if I'd continue with the training beyond the inital triple pack. Feeling somewhat proud that my muscles don't scream with agony after EVERY session, just after most, I daresay I'm getting used to it.

Every 18 months we get fitted for a new uniform and in the 6 weeks between my first session and my fitting I'd dropped a dress size and a few pesky kilos. Apparently the body burns fat for 30 hours after a weights session but only 3 or 4 hours after cardio. Most of the 12 sessions I've done have been weights based so I'm getting results. I'm noticing slight but definite changes in my body and while I don't gleefully skip into the gym like some of the roid-heads do, I'm completely addicted to that post-workout shower feeling.

Chocolate cake tastes so much better after a workout too!!!

1 comment:

Traytable said...

Wow girl, you're good!!!

I suppose coming home in Feb while it's hot will be nothing for a desert-dweller such as yourself :p