It’s been a bit of a circuitous route but I’m finally going to talk about my first gym session … In summary – it was good … but could’ve gone better!

My regular slot with Mark is 8am on Mondays. (Yes – you read that right.) I leave home dressed for the gym – with trackies over my shorts because I don’t want to frighten the sheep too badly – and my work clothes folded ever so neatly in my rucksack. For some reason I’m convinced that I’m going to be late: the bus will break down or I’ll fall over and damage myself or I’ll get caught up in an international terrorist plot – you know, the usual. Instead, however, I manage to turn up to the gym 10 minutes early. I even manage to remember my door code. This is good.


Then I have to enter my door code again to get through the weird airlock-type doors. I bet they never had that trouble on Star Trek with dealing with broad shoulders and rucksacks wedged between knees. No sign of Mark – this is good. However, the first person I see … the person who first looks up when I walk in … is my nemesis. Which is just fucking typical and immediately puts my back up …


I try to claw back my sense of self and I can ignore him as much as he is evidently trying to ignore me. I manage to find the entrance to the locker room by myself and have to enter my door code for a third time (really, Kiss Gyms?). So I enter the inner sanctum … and nearly choke to death on Lynx fumes (or Axe if you’re European or American – why is it only called Lynx in England?). So far so not an Olivia Newton-John video …

I stuff my bag in a locker, grab my nutrition tracker booklet and walk out (cleverly forgetting my towel – a mistake I will later regret). Still no Mark so I loiter in the seating area. Which is exactly opposite where the nemesis is doing some kind of work out. Or parading around in his vest and stupid plimsolls. Whatever. I’m too busy to even pay any attention.


A couple of minutes later Mark appears and we sit for a few minutes chatting about what we’re going to be doing – he shows me the programmes he’s put together for me (two – in case I get bored of the first one after a few visits – uh-huh …) and I give him the nutrition tracker. He flicks through it and makes a couple of comments about “that’s good … that’s bad …” and we agree to go through it properly at a later date after he’s studied it. Fair enough. He’s the PT. I’m the baby elephant.

First stop, the treadmill. He’s not a big one for basic cardio, but it’s a good warm-up. I am not a runner. Never have been. Although it’s something that I have in my head for something I would – perhaps – like to pick up once my weight has decreased somewhat so I can do it without totally bollixing up my joints. But I hate it. Consequently the 4 minutes I spend running at what was probably a very mediocre speed were not great – especially as he is keen that I talk whilst I run. He’s not happy unless I’m dragging air into my lungs and sounding like a steam train that’s run out of coal … This becomes a bit of a theme …

Heart-rate well and truly elevated – and forehead well and truly dripping – we get to the kettle bells for some squats. Eventually I manage to get my posture right – boobs out, butt out – and he counts off for 10. Back to a machine for some leg extensions. All good – I can feel my thighs starting to make their presence known. Another machine, more legs … this time prone leg curls. Yep. No skipping leg day for me … Then comes the Bosu calf raises. Looks simple: balance on an inflatable half-ball of rubber and stand on tiptoe. Not simple. Least of all for someone whose balance is so good he can fall off a flip-flop. Unhappy calves.

No rest for the wicked and its on to the mats for some *pause for dramatic effect* ab strengthening work. Now, if I had any abs this would be great. But I don’t. Consequently the pikes, sit ups and reverse planks all leave me shuddering and breathless. And leave the mat with a sweaty forehead mark. No towel. Whoops. Sorry, guys. As I make my wobbling way off the mat area I do notice that the nemesis is nowhere to be seen. Not that I’m paying any attention.


And that’s Programme 1. Apparently I should treat it as a ‘circuit’ and do that at least twice per visit. Or 3 times if I’m feeling particularly perky. Or suicidal.

But we don’t stop there. Nope. Straight onto Programme 2 …


I’m not sure how I do it. I feel like I’m on the edge of collapse … yet strangely energised. Is this what exercising does to you? Drags you to the brink of limb failure, forces you to push out all liquid in your body via your pores, but demands you do more?

Incidentally, by now I’m leaving drops of sweat all over everything. I am disgusting. My t-shirt is stuck to my back.

Programme 2 seems more chest-oriented. We start with dumbbells and the chest fly. Not good. I can feel myself flagging. 8-9-10-death. Goodie – more chest … this time the chest press. No idea what weight Mark picked first but … nope. Second time’s the charm there …

Lateral pulldown (wide grip) follows that … and then the seated row – where I’m convinced I’m about to push myself right off the seat. But no chance because apparently my arms are made of noodles …


Its not until we get to the reverse fly (more dumbbells – marvellous!) that things start to go a bit … awry. I get to 7 and I start to feel sick. I struggle through to 10 and Mark figures that something’s up and I manage to mumble that I’m dizzy and feel sick. Off the bench, onto the floor. Sit down. Head spinning. Stomach in my throat. Am I going to disgrace myself? Should I try to leg it to the toilet?

Mark recognises it as an incredible slump in my blood sugar and makes me lie on my side. As I concentrate on heaving in air and remaining conscious he explains about how my body is releasing a swirl of hormones to make me feel awful and my body to stop whatever punishment it’s doing. Message received. Slowly (far, far too slowly …) my liver is dripping sugar into my bloodstream. I don’t want drips. I want buckets. But, with my head lower to the floor, I start to feel better. My gasps fade to regular breaths.

Mark decides to call a halt to the session – I’m only missing out on bicep curls (always with the dumbbells …) and the tricep pushdowns. I stand and stagger to the changing room, grab my bag and sit on the bench. I have a muesli breakfast bar stashed in there but stop myself from wolfing it down … taking mouthfuls, chewing, swallowing … as I grab my towel and shower gel. Luckily the one other guy (yet more clouds of deodorant) is buttoning up his shirt and leaving.

I shower, dress in my work clothes and rejoin Mark back in the seating area. Brief chat. I pay for the session and we agree that I’ll do better with my pre-workout breakfast next time, but come back at least twice more before seeing him again.

And then I’m free …

tumblr_inline_nadtq4REPy1sig878… to repent at leisure …