I’ve changed my mind. I’ve decided that you are going to hear about my trip to the gym yesterday, whether you like it or not.
I’m one of those annoying people who gets lazy and goes through entire weeks of not going near the gym, then gets all motivated and obsessive for a few weeks before that motivation slowly disappears. For example, before this week, I hadn’t set foot in the place for about a month – except for swimming, which I do every Saturday morning, and Body Balance, which I do at least once a week. Those two seem to stick – I think swimming because it motivates me to get up on a Saturday morning, and because you have to book Body Balance, it’s harder to avoid. It helps too that I actually really like those two.
I digress. Yesterday I headed to the gym at possibly the worst time of day – I finish work at 3pm and can be at the gym by 3:20, changed and ready to work out by 3:35, which is perfect because it’s usually pretty empty. But yesterday we had directed time – written into our contract that we have to stay later at school, for meetings etc – so I couldn’t leave till 4:15. So by the time I found a parking space and made the trek to the doors (not even kidding, my space was so far away), got myself changed and avoided the stares of a thousand toddlers here for their swimming lessons, it was nearly 5pm. Prime time for #newyearnewme gym-goers.
It was packed. I couldn’t get a bike, so I had to head right to the front and use one which I’m pretty sure was installed in 1983 or something. Seriously, there wasn’t even a TV. I had to listen to a podcast (which incidentally I really enjoy – it was Women of the Hour, hosted by Lena Dunham. Perfect brain food for the feminist in your life) and avoid eye contact with every person who came by to fill up their water bottle right in front of me.
After I warm up on the bike I like to go to the cross-trainers for a while. They burn calories fastest and I get bored easy. I had been on there for 5 minutes or so, sweating terribly, when two young ladies walked in that I recognised.
Being a teacher is a bit like being a celebrity – you get recognised in public, people talk about you a lot more than you know and some people openly dislike you despite actually knowing very little about your personal life. Sometimes I enjoy seeing students outside of school – I think letting them see that you are a human being who has a life outside of teaching them French can only be a good thing. But when I am red-faced (I mean, really red-faced. I don’t sweat particularly heavily, but damn does my face turn red when I’m exercising) and out of breath with messy hair wearing a man’s t-shirt, I really do not want to make small talk with two of my students.
So I pretended I hadn’t noticed them, and continued my workout. They climbed onto the cross-trainers just down from where I was, and I managed to avoid looking in their direction until I moved on to the treadmill, desperately hoping that they would be gone by the time I’d finished. Why do I never see students when I’m clean, wearing nice clothes and doing something cool, like having coffee with my friends?! Why is it only when I’m in the queue at McDonalds, or at the gym, or jet-lagged after a 7-hour flight to Dubai (true story)?
They were doing some kind of plank on the exercise mats in front of the mirror as I left. I really wanted to stretch out but no way was I going over to do it next to them. I’m not catching up with my ex-students while I’m exhausted from my first day back at work, my first proper workout in a month and having avoided them for 20 minutes? I mean, when you know people are watching you you actually have to look like you are exerting yourself!
I guess I should be thanking them for making me burn twice the calories I would otherwise have done…
* the picture above is from a few weeks ago when they installed disco lighting in the studio where I do Body Balance. Not the most relaxing thing in the world!