10 Rules of the gym

Rules of the gym, as I have found them to be.

  1. Whichever locker you choose, when you go back to it, someone is getting stuff in and out of the one immediately next to it.
  2. When your favourite song comes on your playlist, however tired you are, you will always run faster on the treadmill.
  3. You can never have too many gym clothes. FACT.
  4. If your Personal Trainer is in the room, even if he is working with some else, you will be acutely aware of his eyes burning into the back of your head and work harder than you really want to.
  5. There is always someone who leaves weights all over the floor for other people to fall over.
  6. There is always someone who thinks it totes ok to leave their sweat all over the machine for someone else to sit in.
  7. There is always someone who wants to engage you in conversation, even when you have headphones in.
  8. There will be a grunter.
  9. Even though you are going for a big workout, you still want the parking place next to the door.
  10. It is the best hour of every day.

A year of fitness.

It has been a year today since I started working out with my Personal Trainer.

A year of changes and of learning.

A year ago when I started, I could just about run 5K without stopping. Slowly.  By October last year I could run 10 miles.  Today, I am training for my first half marathon.  I’ve come a long way, and lost some inches along the way.

I’d been the member of a gym forever. Only until I started to lose weight, I’d been more closely acquainted with the sauna than the weight rack. I started to go more often, usually clothed in big and baggy jogging bottoms.  I was moving my body which is always a good thing, but not getting the best from the experience.  Because I didn’t really know what I was doing.  There were machines that I didn’t know how to use, others that I was too intimated to try.

I began to have the vague idea that I would do a 10K. That this would be the big achievement.  That just maybe this former fat girl could run that far.  So I got myself a Personal Trainer.

The first session was about goals. Apparently, have a body that you would be happy to show any member of One Direction wasn’t sufficiently SMART.  So we agreed on running that 10K all the way.  Slow would be acceptable, walking would not be.

And so we began.

The short version of this story, is that I ran the 10K, all the way. Slow.  But definitely no walking.

The longer version is about what this year has taught me and given me.

I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. That includes lifting weights, but so much more too.  Because if I have done this, then I believe I can do just about anything.  I’ve signed up for more and more events this year.  Events that I might be slow at, events that are frightening me to even think about, but I know that I will do them.  I have no doubts at all.

This year has pushed me to a place that I didn’t know I could go, to become a person that I didn’t know I could be. My trainer has challenged, me, pushed me, guided me, and listened to none of my bullshit.  He has taught me that I have no limits.  In the words of my favourite song, he has taught me how to be someone.

And do you know what else?

This is just the start.

The Third Place

I was introduced to the concept of the Third Place at a conference last year.

For most people work and home are the first and second place. The first place is your home and the people that you share it with.  The second place is your work, somewhere that you might actually spend most of your time.

The Third Place is something else.

It is somewhere that you don’t have to go. But a place from where you draw strength.  A place without judgement.  Somewhere or something that is just for you and only you.  A place that makes you happy.  A place in which you can find flow.  Where you don’t have to be anyone but yourself or where you don’t have to justify anything. No questions, no answers, no need.

Maybe it’s a real place. A garden, or a park. Maybe it’s an activity, like meditation or reading.  Maybe it is virtual place, like a social media platform.  Maybe it’s the pub.

Mine is the gym. Headphones in.  Weightlifting gloves on.  trainers laced.

Feeling invincible.

No one to answer to, other than myself. Nothing to prove, except to myself.  Just me, my music, and the machines.

Worries checked in at the door. Work stuff, home stuff, all of that other stuff, simply gone, just for that precious perfect hour.  Just me, for me. Making me strong, in more ways than one.

Everybody needs a third place.

Where’s yours?