Sunday, 23 March 2014

Not having a Personal Trainer

So, I went to the gym last night.

This may surprise some of you, who may think that my physical appearance isn't of the utmost importance to me.

I am in shape.  Round is a shape.

I must admit that I was tempted not to go - it was about a quarter past eight when I went, and the idea did pass through my mind to, instead of going to the gym, perhaps:

  • Go to a bar and drink beer / rum / jagerbombs
  • Go to the cinema - I quite fancy seeing The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Sleep
  • Sneak out to the petrol station and buy cake and chocolate, and sit on the sofa drinking Guinness and eating sweet stuff while watching NCIS.

(By the way, I've got a new video out about drinking Guinness for people that don't like the taste of Guinness)

But, I did it.  I went to the gym.

Now the gym I go to is an inexpensive one.  It's £9.99 a month to use the gym and includes all of the classes (not that I ever go to any of them), and it suits me pretty well.  But the way I like to use the gym is to get in there, do my workout without interacting hugely with other people, and then leaving.

In particular I've never liked the idea of having a personal trainer.  Logically, I can see the point of one - if you make an appointment then you have to go, you can't get out of it, and I'm sure that they are very good at teaching you the best way to exercise and making you push a bit further than you might do by yourself.  Nevertheless, I like to go and do my thing, by myself. (Don't misunderstand me, if you know me and you see me, feel free to say hi and chitchat if you feel the need, I won't be radiating hatred because someone has interacted with me.  But the exercise itself I generally like to do just with my music for company)

I've always been slightly wary of the people that look like personal trainers at my gym, as though they might try to engage me in conversation and then offer their services, because I would have to decline, and I'd probably feel bad about declining.  So I don't go out of my way to look overly approachable, and from the moment I enter the gym to the moment I leave I have Cascada blasting out of my earphones at a volume level just below the amount necessary to cause a small earthquake.

I'll make you evacuate the dancefloor.  When I bust a move the structural stability of the building cannot be guaranteed.

Anyhow, I started on the cross-trainer, aka the "fake skiing machine", for my warm-up.  My warm-up is usually about six minutes in length, and gets my heart rate up so I'm burning fat throughout the rest of the session.

I had planned to try to go a little slower and longer this time, but little did I know that all of my plans were to fly out of the window, when about four minutes into my exercise one of the chaps from the personal trainer area (they have a little space with a table and chairs all to themselves) came over and started working out on the machine next to me.  I began to worry that the guy had spotted me and considered me the equivalent of an injured wildebeest - an easy target.  He'd probably think that all he had to do was get me to do some half-assed exercise three times a week and at least a stone would drop off in a couple of months.

He wouldn't know that he would have to keep me away from these bad boys too.

Clearly, I thought to myself, he'll be planning to wait until I stopped exercising, then compliment me on my workout, and move from there into asking if I'd ever considered having a personal trainer.

Now, I did consider jumping off the cross-trainer and running for the exit, but I had a towel on the ground that I was reluctant to abandon, plus there was some guy running up and down the space behind my cross-trainer dragging a couple of chains around (no idea why, perhaps he was a sort of emergency backup when a car really needed towing) so I'd probably trip over a chain and smash my face into a flexing muscle.

So I reasoned that the only option open to me was to keep on exercising on the cross-trainer until the personal trainer got tired, stopped, and left to find other prey.

Now, I'm not sure if this guy was "ripped", but he certainly had muscles in places where my body did not (I presume that my body made a decision some years back to let most of them die, and focus on the important typing and mouse-clicking muscles), and was unsurprisingly thinner than me.  But I went for it anyway.

I exercised.  And exercised.  And exercised.

I kept going at a rate of around 6 to 6.5 kilometres per hour, on level 6.  I don't know how fast this is, or how tough level 6 is, but it's a slightly slower than what I normally do - that said, what I normally do, I do for six or seven minutes.

About a quarter of an hour in he started mucking about with his mobile phone whilst exercising, making him look cooler and increasing my hatred of him, which was already being amply fuelled by being forced to sweat.

At the twenty two minutes mark, I glanced across and noticed that not only was he going slower than me (he was on a leisurely 4.4 kilometres per hour), he also had his cross-trainer set on a lower level.  So he was both fitter than me and doing less exercise.  This wasn't going to be easy.

At twenty eight minutes, after resorting to taking a couple of swigs from my water bottle to replace the fountain of water that had erupted from my forehead, I faced the faint possibility that my strategy of tiring the guy out might not work.

So, I made one last roll of the dice.

I accelerated.

To the sound of "Angel" by Ralph Fridge I sped up.  I passed 7 kph, and went up to 8.  8 doesn't sound like a big difference from 6.5, but trust me - it is.  I hammered away at this pace for 180 seconds, feeling like the toughest guy in the world.  My mind filled with clips of me pumping improbably large weights with 80s power ballads blasting away.

Did I do it?

Well... no.

At 32 minutes, after "travelling" 3.2 kilometres (actually further than if I had walked to the gym from my house), I gave up.  On the plus side the guy didn't stop and approach me, which makes me think that he was probably just exercising, because an overweight personal trainer probably isn't what you need.

Nevertheless, I'm quite pleased at how far and for how long I managed to exercise, and fingers crossed I can repeat it next time.

Just hopefully without the pressure of a PT threatening to talk to me!

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