Beginning this month, I've decided to make a big commitment in my life; I joined a gym. I know it's almost cliche to write a post about this, as fitness is kind of the 'in' thing right now for young adults. However, I had more than health as a motivator for this decision.
When I bought my current house, I bought it mostly for the land value; the house itself was in shambles. The floor was heaving, the walls were cracked, there was asbestos in a really run down kitchen, and the bathroom was depressingly small. The intention was to knock this place down and build a nicer home on it in the near future, so bearing with a couple of years of was acceptable. Now with a floor plan drafted and the reconstruction loan approval going through administration, it was a matter of months before this old building is no more.
Alas, as if the spirits that haunt this house wanted to punish me for my destructive intentions, the hot water system broke down just as we entered the peak of Adelaide's winter, which means no way can I shower at home! My handyman took a look and said a replacement system plus labour was definitely going to eclipse a thousand dollars, so I had to think of alternate ways to getting my hot shower.
Then with a stroke of inspiration, I decided this was as good a time as any to finally join that nearby gym, so that I can use both their equipment AND their showers! I already do some core exercises at home, though inconsistently, so why not take this opportunity to push a little harder?
By NOT fixing my hot water system, I have a far more compelling reason to go to the gym everyday, as I like my showers and can't really stand not having one. And while I'm there, why not do a quick cardio and core session as well? It actually works out as quite a good deal. A 15 minute hot shower at home consumes water and gas, which based on my calculations from our utility bills, costs around $1.70 per shower. My gym membership is $27 per fortnight, which is around $1.85 a day. This means that if I only shower at the gym, I'm saving on my water and gas bills at home, and effectively paying only 15 cents a day ($55/year) for 24/7 access to quality gym equipment and personal trainers. How good is that!
Financial hacking aside, going back to the gym made me realize how unfit I am, and made me appreciate even more that factoid people like to share; that every cell in our bodies have an expiry date, and that every 7 years, it is literally a whole new you.
I stopped being sporty when I started Uni, which was in 2007, so it is now 8 years since. I am no longer the medal winning, bootcamping-every-week athlete I once was. If my body is to be healthy again, I need to start from the grounds up. None of my muscles have memory of what it was like to sprint 100 meters in 12 seconds, or throw a hammer halfway across a football oval. Unlike emotional and mental issues, one cannot simply will themselves to become fit. Being physically fit requires a physical solution. It is literally taking action on a daily basis, and always pushing your limit, raising the bar, increasing your tolerance to pain. There is certainly a lot of mental strength required too, since your mind controls your body, and if you stop believing you can keep going, you will stop.
So here's my gym month so far; the first day was painful. the second day I almost wanted to quit, the third day gave me headaches, but by the fourth day I began to feel like I've ever so slightly improved. I wasn't dreading that 15 minute mark on the cross trainer, instead I just know how my body will feel when I get there, and accept the experience and push an extra minute. Our bodies are surprisingly fragile and prone to all sorts of injuries and pains, but they are also amazing at recovery, even when you don't do proper stretching or cool down exercises.
I hope this won't be another failed attempt, as I've paid good money to join the gym for unlimited access. Of course a healthier, more protein-rich diet needs to accompany this new regime for it to all come together, but one step at a time.
Many of my side projects involve sitting in front of a keyboard in my room; it will be a good change of pace to do something physical and outside of the house again.