Apparently, I exercise now.
Exercise is a funny old thing, isn’t it? I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the gym. I still dread going, but I love how it makes me feel afterwards. P.E was definitely my least favourite class in school, I hated it even more than I hated chemistry. Fun fact: the only time I ever had a punishment exercise in school was for “forgetting” my P.E kit one too many times.
I’ve tried the whole gym thing a few times, but it never quite stuck. I don’t mind running, but the Scottish weather doesn’t really play ball, and I don’t like running in the dark either. I loved netball at school, but the thought of joining a team now absolutely terrifies me. I tried Zumba and it was alright, but it was never really my “thing”.
But then, on a whim, I signed up for a 10-week boot camp with AG Fitness. I’d trained with Andy before and knew he was the sort of trainer who would make me feel comfortable and ensure I was doing things right. I trusted him, and I knew that his gym would be a positive environment to work out in, as opposed to those mirror filled monstrosities that I had tried in the past.
So what changed?
You see, the thing is, I have control issues. Not the obsessively-reading-my-boyfriend’s-texts sort of control issues, I’m not a controlling person, I just like to have a sense of control over my own life. The majority of my anxieties stem from a lack of control, and it’s definitely one of my biggest triggers. The thought of sneezing whilst driving and losing control of my car is genuinely one of my biggest fears in life, and I absolutely despise driving over bridges just in case it happens.
Ironically, however, my life seems to be fighting back against my desire to be in control of things. I guess that’s just the way life works, really, but it can be exhausting. I have chronic health issues and have been dealing with various ailments and injuries for the past few years. Then, last year, I was injured yet again in an accident, which left me feeling totally out of control of my body.
The combination of these things left me feeling pretty helpless, and I decided it was time to take back control. Hence the gym thing. I thought I’d be awful at it, which I was, but I persevered and I made it through. The sense of pride I had in managing 10 weeks of two classes a week (one of which was at 9am on a SATURDAY) was unbeatable. I finally felt like I was gaining some of my strength back, and leaving a life scarred by illness behind.
I’ve had worse Wednesdays ✌🏻😍 I wasn’t originally going to post this because all I can see is the patches where alopecia is thinning my hair or the rolls on my back or my Kim Kardashian butt, but this was a happy moment and one I want to remember. My body fights chronic illnesses on a daily basis and maybe I reward it in the form of food a little bit too much, but at the end of the day who cares ❤️ #colourscarouseltravels
Looking Long Term
For some reason, I enjoyed my time at the gym so much that I’ve signed up for rolling team training sessions this year. Three times a week, I’ll be heading to Andy’s gym for a group session with some of the nicest people I’ve met, who get to witness me cry and throw tantrums when I’m a bit hangry. They’re lucky folk, I’ll tell you that much.
Last week was the first week back over Christmas, and it was incredibly frustrating. There was a lot I struggled with, and I hate feeling so limited. I cried a lot during and after the first session back, mostly out of sheer anger at my inability to keep up, and I was seriously doubting if I could really do it. I was close to throwing the towel in, self-doubt was taking over and I just felt terrible.
But I know that it’s okay because the team at AG Fitness are some of the most supportive I’ve met. I fight with Andy a lot, but that’s okay because that’s just how our friendship is. Juan is also great, even though he doesn’t like Christmas, and we both like Call Me Al which is very important. At team training, I now get to train with Finlay too, and even though I missed my first session with him because of the snow I feel like we’ll get on.
Most importantly, I’ve found the right environment for me. It’s so nice to find a gym that isn’t intimidating, with people who actually want to help you out. The guys are brilliant at adapting exercises to accommodate for my injured shoulder, so I still feel like I’m doing some good, and they’ve been incredibly patient with me too. I honestly couldn’t recommend AG Fitness enough, which is why I’m even writing this blog post in the first place. So, I’m persevering. I know I’ll feel better when I get back into the swing of things again, and I found my second session a lot easier.
Taking Back Control
I’m lucky enough to be in a position where, although I am ill, I can still live a relatively normal life. Yes, it’s incredibly frustrating to be a 22-year-old with the health of a pensioner, particularly when it’s not immediately obvious from the outside, but I’m in a privileged position. My injuries will heal eventually, and I can manage the rest of my pain and sickness with the help of medication and rest.
But what exercise has taught me, in the last few months especially, is that I don’t have to let chronic illness define me – I am more than my medical records. I’m never going to be a fitness freak, I go the gym so that I can justify my love of going out for dinner, and you won’t see me promoting protein shakes on Instagram anytime soon. I’m just trying to rebuild my strength, feel a little bit more in control, and maybe hang out with Andy’s and Juan’s dogs too.
Plus, I do feel a little bit smug about saying I go to the gym three times a week now. So there’s that.
If you want to learn more about Andy and his gym, check out the AG Fitness website or you can follow his dog on Instagram
This post isn’t sponsored, btw.