Last month, I decided to join the gym. I’d been wanting to for ages and always thought that it going to the gym would be, like, ‘for me’ ya know? I’m good at self discipline, not very good at committing to classes (my moods and energy levels aren’t terribly stable/reliable and I’m no good at evening exercise) and like setting personal goals with no other competition but myself. Not that exercise classes are designed to be competitive – in fact, they’re completely the opposite. But I bet there’s not one person in a yoga class, kettle bell workout, spin class or zumba sesh that doesn’t look at others who are already far fitter and able and feel a million miles behind. Of course at a gym, there are folk of all fitness levels too, but you’re not doing the same exercises as one so there’s no pressure to keep up. The only one pushing you to do that extra minute, those extra 10 reps is the little trainer in your brain telling your body to ‘Keep going, you can do it!’. I like it that way.
I didn’t take up the gym to lose weight, by the way. I’m actually underweight and want to gain muscle, tone up and generally increase my fitness levels. At the local gym I visit, Change, they have this brilliant machine called Boditrax that analyses your body for all kinds of things. This magical set of scales with rods to hold for a full body scan measures your weight, water levels, bone density, body fat, muscle mass, visceral fat (the bad stuff around your midriff where your organs are – nobody wants that sticking to their insides), metabolic age, and breaks down the information into very digestible stats using pretty colours and simple layouts. I was actually quite happy with my first body analysis: my body water was where it should be (apparently, this is quite rare for a first time scan, most people don’t drink enough), my metabolic age is in its teenage years (again, apparently this is great, it should always be younger than your physical age), and there’s not a great deal of fat on me (which is kind of expected, but nonetheless a relief to see anyway. Better than being a skinny person with a ton of internal fat hidden away like a walking pack of skinny butter).
One thing that was a bit low, as expected – apart from my weight, obvs – was my bone mass. I have early stage osteopenia, which is basically a precursor to full blown osteoperosis. Crumbly bones ain’t summat nobody wants. So I’ve been trying to improve on that for a while, with scans every couple of years to keep an eye on it. One of the things recommended for strengthening bones is weight-bearing exercise. I already eat enough stuff that contains calcium, and the supplements don’t agree with me, so one of the things I’ve been pretty hot on is doing weights in the gym.
So, one month on, and it was time for my second Boditrax scan. Already feeling more energetic as a whole from going to the gym, I knew there was going to be some improvement. Going 3-4 times a week and putting in about an hour’s workout each time was bound to do something! I think that even the gym staff member was impressed with my progress…
Over the course of one month, my body had gained 1.2kg muscle mass – 1.2kg muscle! Needless to say, I’m happy with that! I’d actually lost a bit of fat, which I wasn’t really expecting as I’m only quite slight. But hey, I’m not going to complain about having more muscle and less fat! But possibly best of all for me, I’d gained 0.1kg bone mass. This is a seriously big win for me. I don’t want to be a cripple due to failing bones in middle age. No-one does. If this gradual increase in bone mass continues each month, I’ll be out of the danger zone for osteopenia within a year, easily. It’s really boosted my confidence and made me even more determined to keep it up. I already wake up on a gym day and say to myself (sometimes out loud) ‘Yay! Gym day!’ and miss it on days that I can’t fit in a workout. Now I’ll be even more eager to go!
It’s amazing what modern technology can do (when it does decide to work). To be able to stand on a machine and in mere seconds it runs several highly complicated checks and scans on your body and gives you the results instantly is incredible. I think anyone stepping on a Boditrax scale for the first time will have their eyes well and truly opened as to what is really going on internally with their bodies. Be it positive or negative, it will make you want to do something about it. I want to improve on what I already have, and by starting my workouts at the gym has proved that it’s definitely the right thing for me. The results are there in black and white and greens, yellows, reds and blues thanks to the lovely printouts I now have filed away. I can’t yet see a great deal of improvement, but I know it’s happening inside as I can sense changes within my body. Hopefully, after another month the results will be more visible and I’ll have more body confidence as well as feeling healthier. Thank you to the gym staff too, by the way, for always being very helpful, supportive and kind – they’re always smiling and ready to help you out!
Time for the ratings for the Change gym and Boditrax machine! It would seem somewhat counter-intuitive to bestow a health institution with an alcoholic award, so I think that this time the drink will take form of a mocktail or two. A fiery Moscow Mule Mojito for the punchy hit of a workout, followed by a refreshing Blackberry Mint Spritzer to satisfyingly quench the thirst. Both of these mocktails and more can be found here if they take your fruity fancy! If not, your local offie will be more than happy to supply you with the real hard stuff 😉