Sweaty, Happy, Proud

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The most surreal moment of 2015 so far happened at about 1.30pm on Saturday 14th March. I was drenched in sweat, twerking in a room full of strangers to All About That Bass with a massive grin on my face. I wasn’t drunk, on drugs or at a rave. I was at Les Mills One Live in Glasgow – which is like Glastonbury for fitness fans. Thousands of likeminded folk had descended to try out the latest releases of the phenomenally successful Les Mills workout programmes. I am not a fitness expert; I am barely a class participant, so how did I end up there?

I am a very recent convert to group exercise classes. I have only gotten over the fear of exercising in public in the past few weeks. I don’t know my left from my right, have terrible balance and co-ordination and even the effort of putting my sports bra on brings me out in a sweat. When you look at me your first thought wouldn’t be “fit.”

However a good friend was attending and told me about a special offer available on the tickets. I had just come back from a Sh’bam class and was in an endorphin filled haze. I bought the voucher, registered and booked myself on five classes. In one day. Was I crazy? Panic set in immediately and stayed with me until the morning of the event when I was woke up in terror. I felt like a total imposter who would show herself up in front of a load of fitness enthusiasts.

We arrived at the event, dropped our bags off and jumped into our first class: Sh’bam – a dance extravaganza with everything from Latin to street moves. The room was packed and the atmosphere was electric, despite it being before 10am on a Saturday morning the combination of the sound system, the lights and the fantastic instructors gave the class a real party feel. Luckily I was at the back and very close to my water (which I needed, a lot) and I made it through the 45 minute class unscathed. The fear was starting to disappear. I was sweaty but smiling and ready to go again.

Next was Bodypump – a full body workout using weights that scared the crap out of me. The class was tough but manageable. There was a moment where I looked out at the rest of the room in awe at everyone lifting weights in unison, hundreds of us and can only imagine how amazing it looked from the stage. Even though I was a “civilian” and not one of the instructors I really felt part of something great. There were people of all shapes and sizes, instructors and members of the public alike and every level of participant was catered for, there was always an option for beginners so nobody felt excluded.

After a short break I was back to Sh’bam – I was addicted to that bass! I picked a spot nearer the front, unheard of for a wallflower like me and danced my heart out. I jumped higher, twerked with glee and gave it my all. It was during that class that I grasped as the day wore on it was getting easier for my body to handle, not harder. I felt stronger and more invincible with each passing minute.

After a break to refuel and visit the Reebok shop (I treated myself to a new pair of trainers for all my future class visits) it was time for Bodycombat. As someone who is quite rage filled this should have been right up my street, a chance to let go of all my tensions and punch and kick out my stress through a variety of martial arts moves. It was tough going, my co-ordination deserted me and my arms were feeling the effects of the weight lifting from earlier in the day. I started to feel sad that the day was almost over with only one class to go.

The final class of the day was Bodybalance – a much needed dose of relaxation and stretching after a day of heart pumping cardio. A chilled out soundtrack, softly spoken voices and a mix of yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi help regulate breathing and calm the mind. There’s a relaxation track at the end. I am a huge fan of any class which encourages you to lie down as a finale.

At the end of the day I was a bit emotional. I had pushed myself physically and mentally. I had faced a lot of my insecurities about my body, my self-image and the ghosts from the past. Mentally I went into the event that 14 year old who was bullied in gym class for being chubby and slow but came out a more confident 33 year old who was inspired to mix up her fitness regime. I was surprised to wake up the next day able to move, with only slight aches in my knees from press ups and arms from the weights. I am wearing the t shirt I was given on the day as a badge of honour and won’t shut up about what I achieved. Inspired by how well I coped with the scale of the occasion I signed up to a local dance boot camp next month. I’m not scared to sweat anymore!

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