So I had a fitness assessment at my work gym today. It’s something that’s been on my to-do list for awhile and I finally got around to it.
Bizarely, and arguably uncharacterisically, I like gyms. I enjoy the simultaneously sweaty and sterile atmosphere, the opportunity to lounge on a bike while reading a book and the high that comes from finishing a very satisfying session.
I do not, however, enjoy fitness assessments. What sort of psychopath would?
As someone who was once fit enough to be aware of just how out of shape she is now (ie: on mere nodding terms with any form of propulsion more vigorous than a casual stroll to the pub) I was DREADING it. The bit where you have to ride on the bike? The bit where they weigh you? The bit with the SKIN FOLDS?
In the end, like most things we waste time dreading, it wasn't too bad at all: the lad doing it was perfectly friendly but not cute enough to make me embarassed by my lack of finesse, I didn’t have to have skin folds after all and, not having measured or weighed myself since the last time I had one of these things, I was not displeased with the results. What I was displeased with, however, was the subtle suggestion that I must want to lose weight. Bleh. Not that the dude came right out and said it, of course, but it was the little things that annoyed me.
For a starters: booze. Yes I had to tell them how much I drunk and yes I lied. Even with a lie (“oh maybe a small glass most evenings and a bit more on the weekends”) I got a telling off. “There’s an awful lot of calories in wine,” my tormentor said with a gentle smile that suggested I might like to just stick my finger down my throat right then and save us both the trouble. “Yes but the calories taste awfully nice,” I replied, to not even an amused eyebrow. Next thing I knew he was talking about cutting a lunchtime sandwich in two to cut down those – yes again – calories. What ev. I gave him a frosty look on the back of this unsolicited and unwanted diet advice and then, when he asked me for my reasons for joining the gym and I didn't mention weight loss he said "You must be the first girl I’ve had in here who hasn’t wanted to lose weight,” prompting me to jump up and drive his pen through his right eye. In my mind.
It’s not that I wouldn’t shave five kilos off the side (or better yet relocate it to selected areas) if I could do so without trying (indded I'd say most girls I know would, though whether that’s a good thing or not is another matter) it’s that even though I am well within the normal range for my weight and height the ASSUMPTION is that because I’m a girl and because I’m attending a gym I must be looking to drop a dress size in six weeks or something equally ghastly. I like to think I have – thanks more to a sensible upbringing and no complaints from the boys more than anything I’ve particularly done – a moderately healthy body image. Most of the time at least. But the gym assessor’s suggestion that I MUST want to lose weight made me feel slightly insecure. Was that an extra ripple around my belly? I wondered, studying myself in the mirror later as I lifted weights in time to the kind of music I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. And could it be my face was just a smidgen rounder than it used to be? It’s vile stuff.
All that aside I’m quite excited about getting back into the gym, which is a bit sad. True, I bet I will never ever do the programme my gym buddy mapped out for me (changing machines every five minutes? I just want to read a book and work the glutes, man…) but the prospect of feeling strong again is quite an appealing one.
Though as for the shithouse gym showers and changerooms in which people stroll about naked.. well that’s another post.