Gym Game-Changer

I am writing this on an endorphin high. I am writing this in case it's a fleeting or brief epiphany which later I can return and read myself in the hope it will make me wriggle into a sports bra (girls, we all know how challenging that is!) and get my butt back to the gym.

I've dabbled with gym memberships over the years beginning when I was 14 and my parents offered to pay an extortionate fee to keep me entertained for an extra hour or two after school. The truth is I mostly sat on the machines chatting and the only muscles getting any major workout were those from my constant chinwagging with friends. Throughout University, I had an on/off relationship with the gym and in true student style, was never seen there before midday and was solely motivated by a) a small dress I was daring to wear that night at Oceana or b) the hot men working out in close proximity. (Tangent: My favourite memory from this time was when my roommate and I went to the gym and were - standard behaviour - walking on the treadmill, only when my friend thought a guy she was seeing had walked in, she then tripped and made a rather dramatic flail to regain her composure. Turns out, it wasn't him.)

When I moved to London after graduation, in some vain attempt to tick those I'm-a-real-grown-up boxes, I signed up to another extortionately priced gym in West London. The slight victory was I actually went there! At best, my average was four hours a week which, deceptively, would only require two actual visits to the gym with a Les Mils Body Pump class followed by Body Balance. Brutal.

The 'W' word was the real milestone in changing my thinking about a regular exercise regime. First stop: Professional help, obviously. Hello PT! I was recommended Kaytee as the best of the best when it comes to understanding a woman's physique and how women want to feel in their bodies (and she has a body to die for so you know you're in good hands). She eye-rolls at men doing all that huffing and puffing and gives diet advice on the side (she's a chef and caterer by day). This is the woman I have to thank for getting me into the best shape of my twenties. Just as well considering the low-cut back and clinging wedding dress I had fallen in love with.

Fast forward two years, travelling out of a backpack for 6 months with an on-the-go diet and then the shock of American food (read: pizza) on my ever expanding waistband. I remember hearing a colleague of mine say both her and her husband had put on a stone in their first year of marriage. Ironically, the little voice in my head said, That won't be me! ... It was me. My first go at ClassPass had led me to fall in love with Physique57 barre classes where I attempted to repair some of the damage. The mental benefits alone were totally worth the $300 monthly membership fee and it encouraged me to try ClassPass back in London. I can finally see the pattern: the way to get me to move my butt is to book me into the escape-free-zone of an exercise class where you'll slap a penalty charge if I don't turn up! Trap me in the room, make me fear losing face for walking out or giving up and I'll give you 60 good minutes of movement!

But, to finally bring you to present day, living outside Zone 2 makes ClassPass slightly less convenient. Add it to the change of job afoot in February, I have a distinct feeling my days at the barre are numbered. Whilst on a mission to get into shape ahead of the big 3-0, I've joined a gym where the membership fee is under £30 a month (I had begun to think that was an urban gym myth) and I just went for my first session there. Truth be told, the intention tonight was for a gym induction. Only, for less than £30 a month they forget to book you into the system and you're stood there in head to toe gym kit fighting the urge to turn back and head home to the sofa. So, I did what any self-respecting 29-year-old would do... I plugged in my headphones, sat on a cycling machine and watched Instagram stories for 20 minutes. The fact I managed to get a sweat on whilst scrolling the 'gram felt like the most efficient I've been so far this year! Perhaps I should consider this a regular habit?

The real game-changer (hence the title of this post...if you've persevered this far, well done!) was when I took to a new app on my iPhone. ClassPass GO is a database full of different 10/20/30 minute regimes based on whatever time you have and whatever type of exercise you fancy; choose from arms/butt/core or Yoga/Pilates/HIIT and state your ability from beginner > medium > advanced. It was the gateway to a host of mini gym workouts for those of us that stand in a gym feeling self-conscious and wondering how long we need to stand there pretending to know what we're doing. For me, this was a game-changer though. Despite hours of PT sessions where I felt my confidence rising, understanding and using different equipment around the gym, take that PT away and my mind goes blank. I need that structure and I need that voice telling me what to do, for how long and when to rest/drink/breathe/repeat. Best of all, it's a completely complimentary service for the ClassPass subscriber so in between your Reformer Pilates, Hot Yoga, Spin or Pure Barre, you can pop to the gym or even make space in your living room to achieve your fitness goals. This evening, I was headphones in with one of LA's finest PTs instructing me through a beginner's Upper Body Burn (10 min) and Booty Burn + Balance (10 min). The app has hundreds of programmes to choose from plus some handy pics to follow for posture etc. and even the background music to make you think you're in that studio being energised to the beat! Try it.

Whilst I fall into an exhausted slumber, I seriously recommend the ClassPass GO app for anyone reading who doesn't think they're a gym person. (Even you, Rose)

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