After getting in over 10,000 steps a day for the past few months by walking too and from work, I wanted to start doing more exercise and targeting certain areas to tone up - such as my arms and stomach. While I have been doing some video fitness routines, as well as squats and sit-ups at home, I knew that once I hit the six stone-loss mark, it was time to get more serious and join a gym.
I had actually wanted to join one before now, but I was advised not to after injuring my foot (which turned out to be hurt worse than I was originally told so I shouldn't have been walking six miles a day on it - oops). However, this actually gave me a chance to look at a few different gyms in the area rather than just signing up to the cheapest. It also meant I got to check out what the swimming options were.
It is a tad on the expensive side, with the gym in The Light in the centre of Leeds being £51 a month - this changes gym to gym - but for that you get the pool, steam room, spa, jacuzzis, a full gym, all the classes, a couple of mini PT sessions and a Health MOT every six months. I also feel really supported by the staff and haven't encountered any of the bitchy gym-goers I did when it was Virgin Active.
The fact that it is literally across the road from my office is another bonus, especially as I can do a quick before work gym session, run over for a lunchtime swim, and have plenty of time to get there for classes after work. This means that I tend to go at least twice a day, six days a week, with my rest day being Monday's when I work from home. I've managed to stick to this over the last few weeks and have genuinely enjoyed it.
I also took full advantage of the Health MOT and Fast Track PT session. The Health MOT is an hour session where you have some tests done and answer some lifestyle questions so you're better able to put a fitness plan in place. I booked mine as soon as I could and was expecting the typical height and weight measurements, as well as questions about how much gin I drink (not as much as you might think from my Instagram page).
What I actually got was a full work-up, including a couple of blood tests and several heart measurements. It was probably the most involed physical I've ever had apart from my pre-op one. I discovered from this that both my cholesterol and blood glucose levels are well in the green areas, as are my blood pressure and resting heart rate. A few sections were high, but a lot lower than they were at my pre-op tests. I also found that my scales at home cannot be trusted and have been making me think I was heavier than I actually am.
As well as using weight machines on my own - I rarely use cardio machines because I walk and swim every day - I've been going to classes regularly, including yoga, Pilates and aqua Zumba. I also tried Body Combat, which I swear almost killed me but was really good so I'm going to go back. The classes are really inclusive and there is always a mix of abilities so I never feel a bit daft because I can't do as much. I find the instructors really helpful too so I've already seen some improvements.
Since joining the gym, not only have I lost weight faster - I've now lost more than half a stone this month so am well on my way to reaching the seven stone-loss mark - I've actually felt better. I have a lot more energy, I sleep better and, most importantly, I look forward to going. In fact, if I don't go to the gym, I feel a bit crap and super lazy, which has made me go at weekends too. I don't even mind that I've been going on my own as it ensures I concentrate on what I'm doing and push myself without worrying how I compare to another person.
While I do ache every now and then, it isn't just random like it used to be when I was bigger. I know I've earned every ache and that it means I worked hard, but then, I don't hurt after the slightest thing like I used to either. I've already noticed my legs and arms toning up a bit and my shoulders - of all things - changing shape. My wobbly bits definitely wobble less when I'm in the Jacuzzi than they did even last month.
Going to the gym has made me realise more than ever how amazing and versatile my body is. Not only has it managed to carry all the extra weight for God knows how long, it has gone through surgery and rapid weight loss and is still going, changing and improving. Now I'm not going to become a body builder anytime soon, but at least now I am improving my fitness levels as well as just losing weight.