When you lead a busy life, finding time to go to the gym is seriously tough. Now that I work in Belfast from 9-5 and have a 30-45 minute commute (traffic depending) each direction, my old routine of early morning swimming and tea-time gym sessions are a thing of the past. And my night time routine isn’t much better, teaching two Zumba classes per week, attending two salsa classes per week and saving one night for date night – after all, a girl has to have something to look forward to! My solution was to join the gym and start going to classes before work. What does this mean for me? In a nutshell, a 5.30AM alarm clock and very sore limbs for salsa and Zumba.
Here’s what I found out in my first week at the gym. Spoiler alert: this does not include how to do a kettlebell swing or a squat burpee, but I might’ve learned that too.
1. It’s VERY easy to forget things
Preparing to go to the gym before work is like going away for a mini-break without the spa treatments and prosecco. You have work clothes, towels, shower products, hair straighteners, work shoes, make-up and all sorts of other girly bits and pieces to consider if you plan to look professional in the office, and even packing the night before didn’t seem to stop me from forgetting something most days. On the first morning, it was my eyeshadow, and I was forced to do a makeshift neutral lid with an eyebrow pencil. I only thought this was bad until the morning that I forgot my bra…I wish I was joking!
2. The struggle is actually real
If there’s someone who can monitor how many times a gym member books and cancels classes at Pure Gym, they are in for a laugh. On Sunday afternoon, I had all of the good intentions in the world, and booked my morning classes from Monday to Friday. By Sunday evening, I had cancelled my ‘PURE Bootcamp’ class, and decided just to opt for some gentle cardio in the main gym. On Monday morning, I booked in again. Dithering has since become the daily routine, but so far, determination has prevailed.
3. I’m better at mornings than I thought I was
Nobody likes 5.30AM wake up calls. And if there’s someone out there, someone who really likes hearing their alarm go off at that time of the morning, I would like to meet them and shake their hand. Preferably at a respectable time of the morning. But, back to the task at hand. When I first set my alarm for 5.30AM, I was certain that I was going to roll over and pretend that the gym was just a bad dream, but I’ve surprised myself in being able to get up without crying, work out and get to work for around 8.30AM, and I’m still not too exhausted. Result!
4. 30 minute classes are pretty amazing
The most comforting thing that someone could tell you when you’re about to start an early morning workout is that the class is only 30 minutes long. We can all handle 30 minutes, even if those 30 minutes consist of brute force, sweat, tears or maybe even nausea – so far things haven’t reached that stage for me, but you never know. Daunted about taking a class you’ve never tried before? It’ll be over in 30 minutes if you hate it. If you’re feeling fit, there’s always the option to squeeze in an extra class before your shower, but if not, 30 minutes is definitely better than hitting the snooze button.
5. Sometimes you need a little extra help
So far, my early morning workouts have consisted of booking in for whatever classes that are available on that day, but not every class suits every person. Already, I teach 2 Zumba classes per week, so my class quota is pretty decent. What I really need is to be able to walk into a gym and hold my own. To be able to walk over to a machine or a rack of weights, choose one with confidence and just get on with it. Which is exactly why I have booked in with a personal trainer to spend 6 weeks building my confidence in the gym, sorting out my weak ankles and wrists and knees (I’m basically a walking wreck) and providing me with a diet and fitness plan that I should be able to implement by myself. Torture – sorry, I mean training – starts this Monday, so prepare to laugh at my tales of woe.