Even though I’ve had some time off from blogging about my pilgrimage preparations, it doesn’t mean I’ve had time off from my pilgrimage preparations; far from it, actually. Preparations are progressing well and continue to stay on track, especially where my training is concerned.
After I returned from Hong Kong, I’d already fallen in love with the routine of gym and the feelings of reward I received after each of my sessions, so I decided to look into finding a gym close to home that wouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg and that offered all the equipment I’d grown accustomed to back in Hong Kong. There are plenty of gyms around but not all gyms are the same. They might offer similar activities, but it’s not all about the equipment or the sessions they offer, I found out. I had to find a gym that I felt comfortable working out at as well. The gym I finally settled on was within walking distance from my home and after taking a tour of it, I decided it looked like the place I would benefit most from.
H2O is housed within the Sleemans Sports Complex. Click on the links to see for yourself the variety of classes they offer. It really is a one-stop shop; a smorgasbord of land and water classes and everything else physical that you could wish for. I’ve been a member since June, 2013 and have no regrets. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made since my return from Hong Kong and I have managed to prioritise my visits to the gym to fit in with my busy schedule.
During the past few months I’ve noted with interest the changes and growth in me. My experience of working out at the gym has had many positive results for me in so many ways; ways I wasn’t expecting. When I was in Hong Kong, I stepped out of my comfort zone by learning, not only how to work the machines and discover how they would help the different parts of my body, but, to actually be vulnerable and show my low levels of fitness to others; not a pretty sight. It’s truly been a lesson in humility for me, that’s for sure.
However, things did not stop there. Once I joined H2O, I thought I’d only want to use the machines and merge them into my training routine, but surprisingly, the water and land classes beckoned me. Earlier this year I endured a bout of Plantar Fasiitis and I also suffer from Osteoarthritis (OA) in my right knee, and my Sports Podiatrist and Physiotherapist recommended Deep Water classes to help maintain some pain-free fitness. The only problem was – I had NEVER taken a fitness class before and even contemplating taking one made me feel embarrassed. If I took a class, you know – with people, real people, everyone would know just how unfit and uncoordinated I really was. However, the more I thought about it and the benefits I would receive, not to mention I was now paying for the gym and should really make the most of it, I finally weakened (or should I say strengthened, in this case) and bit the bullet.
I jumped in feet first and have not looked back.
I’ve made use of all the classes I am interested in. I know I must look silly at times when trying to get in positions I never dreamed I’d ever put certain body parts in, but I just laugh it off and smile to myself. Haven’t I come a long way! The instructors are very friendly and encouraging, but they also keep me accountable and push me when the going gets tough. Getting through the tough sessions can be a little painful and enduring, but then there are periods of rest that rejuvenate me as quick as a wink. The sessions are designed to push and stretch the body, but at the appropriate moment, a rest time takes place and it really doesn’t take the body too long to respond and bounce back. The end result is a very rewarding workout that releases endorphins and makes me feel relaxed and positive about myself. The effort is so worth the reward afterwards. I have to be honest, there are still times when I get a little nervous before some of my classes, but once I get started, my focus is all about the workout and I forget all the things that worry me. I’m pleased with myself for overcoming these anxieties and fears. I haven’t let them stop me from participating in life. This encourages me for the bigger picture of my upcoming walk through Spain. I’m sure there will be many occasions when I’ll be a little anxious or fearful about the trip. At least I know now that I can push through my doubts and know reward is waiting for me. It is these little wins at home that allow me to sense the feelings I might experience along the way of my pilgrimage and to peek through the windows of opportunity.
Another added value to participating in gym regularly is that people get to know me. At my first water class a friendly lady invited me to coffee. Some people don’t show any acknowledgment of my existence, but the general rule is that most people, at the very least will give me a smile, while others are more than happy to have a chat. After attending gym these past couple of months, it is nice to walk into the place and have people recognise me, smile and say hello. It feels very welcoming and I gain a warm sense of belonging. There is community and I’m glad I’m a part of it.
A couple of years ago, I turned 50 and I wasn’t very impressed. I’m still working on my attempt to grow old gracefully. I must admit, I pouted somewhat and wasn’t happy, but it didn’t change anything. I still turned 50. Why am I mentioning my age here, you might be wondering? It’s because I learnt something that I didn’t know when I was considering joining the gym and looking for the best deal I could find regarding gym fees.
At the time I was looking at gym memberships, a dear friend of mine asked me did I have a National Seniors Card? I raised my eyebrows and scrunched up my face and in a very indignant voice told my friend that I wasn’t old enough for that! How old did she think I was? Really? Wow, I thought. I must be looking way worse than I’d ever imagined. However, my friend then went on to explain. She was not referring to the official Seniors Card you get at age 65. She was referring to the National Seniors card that you can get once you turn 50! It gives you discounts to lots of participating places like movie theatres, holiday packages, insurances, plus many more offers, including gyms. Now, she had my attention. I looked into this National Seniors Card and discovered lots. The best news for me was that it shaved a substantial amount of money off my H2O gym membership because they participate in this program, as well as the rebate I received from my private health cover. Suddenly, becoming a member of a gym looked a lot more exciting.
Joining a gym AND committing to it, are two different things. I am happy to say, I have joined the gym AND I am committed to it. I am a changed person, for the better and that makes me happy. I know now that I will stay committed because I enjoy the feelings and rewards it brings me. I am glad I am a person who has not grown so set in their ways that I can’t make changes to help me grow and develop into something far greater than I started out. It is important to me to be a life long learner and I am always looking for ways to improve myself. I love challenges and thrive on them.
Yesterday when I was at the gym, I glanced up at the swimming pool’s white board. Someone had boldly written a quote on it. It stated:
A negative attitude is like a flat tyre…
if you don’t change it ~ you won’t go anywhere
This really spoke to me. I’m not sure of its origin ~ but they are wise words. We all experience a negative attitude from time to time, but it takes real courage to turn it into a positive and go somewhere.
My hope is, if you have taken the time to read down to here, that it has not been a waste of time for you. I hope there is something in my words that you can take away with you and apply them to your own ‘mountain’. And, if you know of someone who is on a pilgrimage of their own that might be encouraged or enjoy reading this blog, please share.