Tag Archives: gym

Monday morning hurts

13 Jun

If you’ve ever put petrol in a diesel car you’ll know how my legs felt this morning.

Egged on by twitter power from @alanjslater @Runningthetube @kaz_wright I made an uncharacteristic morning gym visit.

Hopping on the treadmill I was feeling pretty smug – look at me eating healthy breakfast and exercising BEFORE work.

Only the exercising part didn’t go so well due to shin-splinty legs and a weird pain in my thighs.

I don’t quite know what went wrong, but it really was painful and I decided to stop running before I did some damage, instead walking 3k just so I didn’t feel like the whole trip had been a waste.

That made the legs feel a lot more normal, so I had a bit of a crosstrainer session as it meant no pounding my bones into the floor.

I still feel cheated though – all that effort to get there and all legs can do is splutter to an undignified stop.

This is either (a) due to the fact I never run in the morning and my body was in shock, (b) I have been working too many crazy late shifts at work and need to calm things down or (c) I’m a person who doesn’t exercise enough trying to exercise everyday.

A, B or C? I think I know the answer…

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The world’s most expensive gym

6 Jun

My best friend lives in Chelsea and is a member of the Fullham Road branch of Virgin Active – the most expensive gym in the world*.

She claims to have got an introductory deal bargain and says she’s only doing it for three months in the run up to a holiday, but nonetheless regular membership costs an eye-watering, heart palpitating £1,200 a year. Maybe part of the work out is the increased heart rate as you part with that kind of cash?

On Saturday she signed me in as a guest, giving me a glimpse of the rarefied world of the Chelsea set as they work up a sweat.

“You won’t believe the number of YSL gym bags you see in the locker room,” she told me as we walked there.

At that moment a man with a large, live blue parrot on his arm (not stuffed this time – that was last week) passed us before turning into a smart town house.

“That man’s got a big blue parrot,” I stated.

She looked at me, clearly wondering if I could still be drunk from the night before.

To prove the point I insisted on breaking into a run so she could get a better view. This achieved, she had to admit that he did indeed have a big blue parrot on his arm and that I was sober.

Dazzled by the knowledge I was now in a part of town where distinguished looking 60-something gentlemen own exotic pets, I began to imagine what extravagances the world’s most expensive gym would indulge in.

On arrival I was disappointed to note a distinct lack of diamond encrusted trainers and gold-plated water bottles.

That said it didn’t take me long to realise that this gym was different.

If I were a single female looking for a rich hubbie to fund my ladies that lunch lifestyle I’d sign up immediately. It’s a would-be banker’s wife’s paradise.

The main gym is full of men, without doubt they all work in the city. I think you can probably taste the testosterone in there.

As we aren’t in the market for a Gordon Gekko we opted for the ladies only gym, and were greeted by the sight as a statuesque blonde model holding an arabesque pose standing on one leg and admiring herself in the mirror.

There’s clearly an under size 14 rule in operation as everyone in there was toned, tanned and owned thighs that didn’t touch when they put their feet together.

We had a good bash at 20 minutes of interval training to get the heart rate up, a bit of boring cross training and then we went to play on all of the exciting expensive equipment my gym doesn’t have.

The powerplate had me in fits of giggles, I felt like a turkey wobble personified. How on earth is that supposed to help you get fit? Perhaps the mortifying sensation of feeling your excess pounds wibbling for all to see reinforces the desire to lose them?

When I got off a Swedish goddess got on and did a complicated medicine ball twist sit-ups routine while balancing on the powerplate. It was impressive, but it did cross my mind that it must have taken weeks to master, and perhaps there are more important things in life. Then it crossed my mind I was just jealous.

Of course I’m being completely unfair – I’m sure there are lots of pretty toyboys and inspiring women of independent means who work out there too – not least my wonderful BFF – but it’s still the best people-watching work out I’ve ever had, even if no-one spritzed my face with mineral water or mopped my brow with a cashmere towel while I was on the rower.

*This may not be true.

13, lucky for some

19 Jan

Straight to the gym after work as (a) it’s cold (b) my right foot was niggling a bit so I thought the treadmill would be kinder (c) it’s really cold.

Resolutioners haven’t given up yet, although I think we’re into the second wave of them.

Obviously the first newbies will be back on the biscuits* by now, as wonea aka Gareth Brown sagely tweeted in reply to my outrage that they were causing a queue at the gym: “Don’t worry they’ll all disappear before long, give them a couple of weeks before their couches come calling.”

But while the knee-jerk resolutioners have vanished not to be seen again until June, those that initially tried to ignore the New Year, new YOU! magazine features and D-list celebrity fitness videos** must have had an attack of conscience as they are now the new set of newbies.

Contemplating this changing of the guard I took to the treadmill and with not a lot of time to devote to Janathon today I decided to try some fast(ish) and furious interval training.

I alternated a minute of walking at 4kph with a minute of running at 13kph. I never run at 13kph, ever. I’ve always felt that if the number “13” flashes up in red on the display something disastrous will happen to my legs – like they’ll drop off – and that will be the end of my beautiful running career.

However, it turns out that 13kph is not my kryptonite, but my NBF. You see when I accelerated to 12kph it didn’t feel like much of a speed, which makes me wonder if I haven’t picked up my pace a little overall without realising it.

Flushed with success and with the end in sight I increased again up to 14.5kph and it was really fun. As the whole point of interval training is to get your heart rate right up I think it had the desired effect.

During the walking sections I had time to observe the second wave resolutioners.

Fellow Janathon nutter Mr Lumpy Badger recently embarked on quite some rant about the various species of gym-goer. As I surveyed the newbies and their interesting footwear his post came to mind.

Before I go on I must make it clear that if I were to start criticising the fashion sense of my fellow runners I would be in a glass house throwing stones. Hareem pants, hooped earrings, one-shoulder tops, velour tracksuit bottoms – I don’t suppose it matters what you wear as long as you’re comfortable.

But the footwear is another matter entirely. There are RULES, people.

They go like this:

Do not wear deck shoes
Do not wear ballet pumps
Do not wear those flimsy plimsolls currently popular with indie boybands unless you are planning on doing gymnastics
Do wear proper trainers.

It’s really not that hard.

Maybe it’s the bad trainer choices they make that stops them from coming back? Maybe after an ill-advised treadmill sprint session set to a dizzying gradient and hanging onto the side for dear life (see Badger’s thoughts on this) wearing inappropriate footwear they are too busy with surgical procedures and chiropractor appointments to ever fit another session in?

*I hearby admit to being a big biscuit loving hypocrite (biscuit count today – two fig rolls, one Jammy Dodger)

**Davina is NOT D-list, how dare you?

Oo la larghhh!

11 Jan

Once a week I pay a man to sit and listen while I murder the beautiful French language. Today is this day.

Ray’s a patient chap but it wouldn’t surprise me if after I and the rest of fourth set French group have filed out of his classroom he shed a quiet tear for his beloved mother tongue, mauled once again. Whether it’s a tear of pain or a tear of laughter I couldn’t guess.

We are not a gifted group. Between us we bring the subtleties of the Welsh accent, the charm of Scouse, the mind-bending prospect of Scouse-Italian intonation (whatever you’re imagining it sounds worse) and Indian to the pursuit of the mastering la langue française.

Just as I warm up for a run I like to warm up for the class – I’d hate to disappoint Ray with a below par performance in our weekly debate (today: The Environment).

Usually I do a bit of reading or listening practice on a Monday night to immerse myself, but Janathon has played havoc with this and at 3pm this afternoon I realised I hadn’t heard a word of French since December 14.

What to do? There was nothing else for it but to multi-task.

I finished work at 4pm and headed straight to the gym to complete my daily Janathon. I’d already fixed on the gym because I wanted to use the cross trainer to give my bones a bit of a break as I had a clunky knee on and off last night.

Once there I plugged myself into Complete French on the ipod and hopped on the machine. Parfait!

It wasn’t actually. In fact it turns out that when you attempt to learn French on the cross trainer all that happens is you get very cross, but not very far – literally in distance covered or metaphorically in the pursuit of knowledge.

Discussing cinema plans becomes very complicated in a foreign language when aboard a piece of moving gym equipment. First there’s the fact that you’re not quite sure whether Marie is saying she already saw Pirates des Caraïbes or has plans to go and see it and then there’s the perilous possibility of falling off as you ponder this.

At one point I decided I needed to stop the passage so that I could replay it – only in my sweaty confusion managed to stop the cross trainer instead – thus resetting it.

Then I realised that a woman had got on the machine next to me, only to move away again because I had subconsciously started to mumble along to the tape in French.

The lesson is the two disciplines are surprising different and are best practised separately.

Tonight they were not, but nevertheless I arrived at French class on time having completed Janathon and with a notion of the future tense.

C’est super, non?

Distance: 1.5 km
Time: 0:25:00
Calories: 205 (quickly offset by eating Wispa chocolate bar – 210 calories – on way to French)

Nothing running

20 Dec

We journalists love a weather cliché and today was the perfect excuse to wheel them all out.

Have you ever noticed that as the “Big Freeze” grips the nation “Travel Meltdown” always ensues? Freezing and melting? At the same time? I mean if it were melting we wouldn’t be in this mess would we? We just get carried away with the sub-zero-cold-snap-record-low of it all – the Daily Mail is always the worst offender.

Transport was a disaster all day long with the rail network floundering into life for just long enough to get everyone’s hopes up, before icing to a standstill again. Some buses battled on, some didn’t leave their depots and others went home early, presumably exhausted by the hysteria of it all.

So I didn’t go for a run at the gym, on the grounds that I had a short window of time to make it home before becoming a Snow Chaos Commuter Misery victim.

Had I gone to the gym I’d have probably had to sleep there.

When the weather outside is frightful

19 Dec

Normally I’m not a fan of the gym – I see it as a preening palace and swine flu risk.

But with treacherous conditions underfoot I decided there was nothing else for it but to make use of my membership.

I have already mentioned that motivation (or a lack of) is my running nemesis, so having gone to all the effort of starting this blog and finding a whole world of twitter runners I wanted to capitalise on that momentum and start training again.

And to my surprise I really, really enjoyed it. I don’t know whether it was due to the snow or a last minute Christmas shopping panic but I practically had the gym to myself (no peacocks, no life-threatening disease – result!) which put me in a good mood.

The other key to today’s success was not pushing to soon. I erred on the side of caution after a three month break and ran 5k on the flat in 31min 30sec. I started at 9kph working up to 11.5kph and felt comfortable at all but top speed – I’ll take that.

There’s nothing worse than walking out of the gym feeling beaten, it makes it ten times harder to summon the desire to go back. I’ve got that lovely afterglow now and am looking forward to my next date with the treadmill.

Snow excuse

18 Dec

So no run today on account of icy snowy conditions. Well, that and a hangover.

Last night was “Mad Friday” and so it came to pass that the work Christmas party took place in Liverpool despite blizzard conditions. Flakes the size of 50p pieces were flying everywhere, it was hard to believe we were in Merseyside. I’ve only ever seen snow like that before in the Alps. I’m not sure what was falling to the floor faster – women in inappropriate footwear or the snow.

Anyway, weather aside it was fun. For Liverpool types the venue was the new Clove Hitch on Hope Street – formerly El Macho – its fairly new and it was pretty good.

So I was a bit hazy of head this morning, with the start of a sniffle and when faced with the prospect of falling over in the snow or being pelted with snowballs (inevitable) I wimped out. Which means that there’s only one thing for it: Tomorrow it’s treadmill time.

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