I have just joined the gym. This is not an entirely new venture in my life – prior to having children I was a regular gym bunny – but it is rather like hauling my pre-children clothes from the back of the wardrobe and expecting them to fit. It’s been a while since I took part in any form of exercise other than my solitary runs around town, during which I have a tendency to talk out loud as I write in my head. I suspect this will not be acceptable within the confines of the gym.
Because of the time-lag since I last donned a sweat-band (presumably when they were last fashionable) I thought it would be wise to take advantage of the complimentary personalised exercise plan offered to members. I wait at the desk to see Claire, a statuesque figure in an unflattering blue tracksuit, and ask to book a session.
“I know what I want to achieve, I just need some help with my programme.” I say. Tremendous, this is just like work – I’ve identified my overall goals and now I just have to work out how to get there. Perhaps I could have some sort of spreadsheet.
“Oh great!” Claire says, enthusiastically and perhaps a little patronisingly. “So I’m guessing that’ll be weight loss and a general tone up?”
Now, I’m no Calista Flockheart, but neither am I morbidly obese. I feel more than a little affronted by the assumption that the sole reason I have joined the gym is to shed pounds and gain definition. Granted, I have on more than one occasion blogged about my Pilsbury dough Mummy folds, but unless Claire is an avid reader of my blog (gosh – perhaps she is, I must find out) there is no reason for her to know about them. The irony of my post-child body is when clothed it is entirely acceptable – even at times positively desirable (or so I’m told).
Dressed as I am now in reinforced Lycra and hold-em-in pants, with my newly enlarged bosoms strapped into submission beneath an industrial training bra my curves are smooth and positively svelte. Should Claire have seen me a few moments ago in the changing rooms (and I don’t think it’s that sort of leisure centre) she could have been forgiven for thinking I was wrestling a bundle of ferrets into a polythene bag, and her assessment of my weight-loss needs would have been justified.
I fix Claire with a somewhat haughty air. “No, actually I want to put some weight on.” She raises a single unplucked eyebrow to meet her fringe. “Yes”, I continue airily. “I’m researching an article about female body building. It’s for a feature called Bulk Up Barbie – I’ll be documenting my training programme and reporting back on my results.”
And that is why I am now bench pressing ninety kilos, mainlining Creatine supplements and getting up at 3am to eat an egg-white omelette. I’ll be glad when the month’s over and I can pretend to be writing an article on weight loss. After all – that’s the reason I joined the gym in the first place.