So Day 1 of gymming came and went without as much fanfare as one would have expected, considering it took me many years to get to this day.
I chose to sign up a gym that fulfilled my many criteria — it’s close enough to home to make the auto ride there and back bearable, and it doesn’t have hordes of people fighting you for the treadmill. I did a little bit of Facebook stalking before joining, and despite the fact that a man called Daniel Handsome has made it is his hangout to get built, I thought it would pass muster. The fact that they had a woman manning the phone when I called only added to the allure.
So I dragged myself out of bed and hurried myself there at the ungodly (to some) hour of 10.30 a.m. It wasn’t as shady as I had feared, though I did have some bad moments when I descended the stairs into the basement that housed the gym, to find myself shrouded in darkness. Even as my mother’s words of wisdoms (“Don’t choose a gym where you think you’ll get raped”) resounded in my head, I then remembered to take off my sunglasses to be greeted by the warm glow of the interior. A sour-faced woman sat in the reception area, fresh from her work-out, so I decided it would do and I signed up then and there.
The first work-out left a lot to be desired, but mostly owing to my own incompetence at doing anything physical. I shone while doing my stretches; the trainer remarked that I must have gymmed before, and I ducked my head in a modest fashion and said yes, but it had been several years. I then did a good twenty minutes on the treadmill which was a pleasure. I read NDTV and Guardian updates on my phone, feeling like one of those 20th Century Women who multitask at the gym — reading updates on the stock market while working out before dashing off to their banking jobs in tight suits. Fiction is always more fun than reality, since what awaited me at the end of this workout was cauliflower curry, a comfortable bed, and many episodes of Frasier.
Cycling, which followed, was several levels worse. Two minutes in, my calves were weeping, my eyes were stinging, and I was forcing myself to play Angry Birds by way of distraction. I craftily turned the cycle off, so resistance went to zero and all I had to do was pedal. Even so, it was one of the worse fifteen-minute segments of my life. I had joined the gym worrying that the handful of men working out might make it uncomfortable for me with their stares. Clearly I don’t look my best when I’m wearing a kurta and tights, drenched in sweat, and trying not to weep while cycling at the lowest speed possible. The men did not look, my ego cracked in two, and by the time I was done, everything was blurring.
I cleverly decided at that point that I was done; when one resumes physical activity after a six-year hiatus, one must not overdo it. While I staggered to find an auto in the blazing sunlight, I was rather sad that I didn’t feel stretched and limber, or even achy and tired. I felt quite the same, albeit sweaty and irritated, but I took the first step, and that was something. Perhaps tomorrow will be a better day.
title source: physical by olivia newton-john