Body issues and the gym – the endless dilemma

Now I count myself amongst the lucky ones. Being a journalist has always opened me up to a more than average amount of invitations to lunch, dinner and the pub.

So when after hitting mid-40 the inevitable injury curtailed my footballing days and meant that my running was having to be shelved and I could not get away with “burning off” the excess.

Those of you who have read my posts for the past year will know it ended up in a dangerously high blood pressure level and a warning that I had to shed a fair few stones or face the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke.

A spot in the jungle for three weeks on beans and rice via I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here was not really on the agenda so it was a more traditional route of a personal trainer a gym and a modified eating regime – NOT a diet.

Just over a year on and three and half stone lighter I am just about feeling comfortable looking at myself in the mirror. Without a doubt I am now slimmer and trimmer then I have been in almost two decades and the results have spurred me on to keep up the good work.

But this week I was speaking to a personal trainer down at the gym who had approached the reception as I arrived and said to the staff behind the counter “I have a very nervous new client coming in so could you make sure you are really engaging!”

I had to ask what the problem was and the PT said that the female in question was 23-years-old very overweight and as such was extremely nervous of going down the gym as she felt people would stare.

Now I only have to cast my mind back a year when I entered the gym wearing a baggy shirt and expansive shorts thinking exactly the same thing. There I was sweating profusely on a treadmill at a pace I would now view as walking while all around me were these gym goers who look more Venus and Adonis rather than my Billy Bunter.

Now while I do not feel I will ever join the Adonis cadre I feel a lot more comfortable in the gym both on the treadmill and in the weight room.

There are a number of male members of the gym who are larger then I was when I started and some are a lot older but do I look and stare?
No, I like so many of those who go to the gym can understand the journey they are on, the desire to not just lose the weight but also extend longevity, and actually have a huge respect for their decision to do something to change their futures.

Indeed at the age of nearly 50 I have decided I am now ready to join the gym’s boxing club and approached the trainer to ask if it was for experienced pugilists only.

“No we have every level” he said. “We have guys who have been coming for years and they tend to go out of their way to help the beginners and are keen to pair up to offer advice.”

Those, who after the excesses of Christmas, feel they want to get into shape but fear a visit to the gym should think again. So many of us on the bike or treadmill next to you have been on the same road and once heading down it are not keen to return to our starting point. But we certainly remember where it was.