Back in the Saddle Again: The Return to the Western Gym!
I watched an old cowboy film the other day because it was one of those “I need to switch off and just chill” time. In the middle of the film there was the classic gunfight, the villain at one end of the street, and the sheriff at the other. As they walked towards each other the music started to build then suddenly they both reached for their guns and silence as a shot rang out and the villain fell. The sheriff had only wounded him and as he helped him up, he did that classic good guy thing of “let’s get you cleaned up and start a new life” speech. The scene came back to mind as I sat opposite the Doc waiting on my blood pressure being taken the other day. I felt like I was sitting in the OK Corral waiting on the gunfight to start and had to stop myself from saying “Ok, give it to me straight, am I dying Doc????”. But instead all I got was a shake of the head and sigh. I already knew what was wrong, months of dealing with anxiety and depression, crap eating, medication and generally not looking after myself physically meant that all the hard work that had gone on before had been shot in the foot and left under a burning hot desert sun aka a rainy day in Glasgow to gain weight and head back to Unfitville!
How do you get back in that saddle again especially after you have fallen off many times before? Part of my problem was that my self confidence was shot to bits, I had allowed myself to believe that going to the gym really did not matter and that I would be able to cope and motivate myself to sort myself out. But what I had forgotten is that I am a recovering gymophobe and any excuse to duck out of exercise will be grabbed with both hands. As I have blogged about before, this is where the 5×50 challenge has really helped, the 30 minutes a day I hav to fit in made me feel so much better and of course after my Big Night Out I had, in my hungover state, told GymGuyMark I would be back.
So I found myself back at the Western Health and Racquets Club gym saying the immortal words to GGM, let just see what I can do! What I had forgotten was that since my last visit, the Western gym has been transformed with lots of new torture, I mean gym equipment and after a quick warm up on the treadmill, I was introduced to TRX and all the agony these innocuous looking bands bring.
Very simple says GGM, grab onto the handles and lean back, then pull yourself up ( that is the simple version)! I have to say that after 5 reps I started having flashbacks to my first gym visit. My arms were giving me severe attitude and my brain was helping them. There was no mind over matter going on, the whole lot was working in sync and they were all desperately trying to get me to let go of the bands and fall on my backside. I am not even going to start on the squat exercise, my thighs are still not talking to me!
Next the tubes of death or whatever they are called! GGM makes it all sound so simple. “Keep your bottom half ridged and using your waist, swing the tube up and over my arm”. “Can I whack you with this?” says I, “you can try” says he!!!!!! About six swings in I knew what he meant. These tubes of plastic are heavy little bu**ers! My shoulders and tops of my arms were now numb and I was in severe danger of never being able to lift a glass of gin again. I was starting to get into a very negative frame of mind, despite GGM’s awesome banter, and when those hateful words sit ups were mentioned I am afraid that was it for me. To be serious for second, the meds had started to kick in to try and calm the adrenalin down and it was not a pleasant feeling. GGM did not let me off though, after a one minute rest the TRX bands were back out. Again with “all you have to do is” start to the sentence, I had to hold on to the handles, lean forward and lift myself up and down. Now I have a terrible fear of falling forward, not off high buildings or anything but tripping up or being pushed. The reason why is not for on here but let me just say that this exercise took me far beyond my comfort zone and into outer space. But despite the fact that my entire body including my lungs were trying to escape my skin and run, well hobble, away little Miss Determination appeared and in spite of the horrendous images in my head, I managed to do the 2 sets of 15 reps. If I got nothing else from today, this was a huge victory.
So it was over, my first proper exercise session in over six months was done, and so was I. The last exercise had taken so much out of me, even the thought of kicking the saloon doors open for a shot of gin to recover was not appealing, I escaped and headed for them thar hills!
Skipping, yeh right, forward to today(Sunday) and my entire body is almost back to normal. I can sit up without making the oyah sound and I can finally feel my thighs and legs again. I have to say a huge thank you to GGM for getting me through the seven different exercises, I was by no means magnificent (get it) but apparently I am on my way back to awesomeness. I guess like the improvements going on at the Western Gym, we are both being remodelled to become new and improved.