Friday 2 August 2013

Crazy-fit, super-toned gym bunny

Hey you, the crazy-fit, super-toned gym-bunny at the front of the class, I wish I were you.

Two years ago I was desperately trying to shed some stubborn weight for the day I would marry my fiance.  I was never huge per se, but I was big.  And I was unhappy. Although I was about to marry the man of my dreams, I still had trouble taking my clothes off in front of him, wishing I was someone else.  Every meal was tortuous event of walking the gauntlet of food, trying to avoid anything my broken body would hold onto in the shape of fat. And clothes shopping was a mortifying process to get done as quickly as possible so that I could escape the judging eyes of others.  I doubt they were really judging but it felt like it, to me.

I'm not sure where my 22-year old runners body went, but it was gone.

Hey you, the crazy-fit, super-toned gym-bunny at the front of the class, I envy you.

When I first stepped foot in a Les Mills Body Combat class, my arm twisted by my soon-to-be-qualifying Body Combat instructor friend, Tammy, I stood as close to the back as I possibly could.  I'd been to a class here and there as Tammy needed to practice with people, but that was with my friends.  It was safe.  It was fun.  Now, I was with a group of 60 people I didn't know.  Each of them slim, toned and confident.  And when I joined a gym with a mirrored studio, I had to face myself as I clumsily fell about the room, trying to keep up with the coordinated and graceful seeming Combat mob. I wore my super-size 'New York' t-shirt from America that I'd previously used to sleep in, because it was the easiest way I could see to cover up. Black and tattered, it represented much of how I felt at that time.

Hey you, the crazy-fit, super-toned gym-bunny at the front of the class, I'm right behind you.

As something pushed me to go time after time and I slowly began to learn the moves, a strange thing happened; it seemed my bi-weekly exercise was beginning to help me see myself in a different light.  As the inches crept off and my body became stronger, I started to go simply because I enjoyed it.  Each week I found myself getting a little further through the routines before I needed to stop and get my strength back.  I found that certain moves (the running man, *groan*) became manageable, even fun.  What was this strange process taking place in the body I'd once wished I could exchange? And why for the love of God was I creeping forward to the front of the class, flanking the gym-bunnies on the left?!

This week I finished work before my usual time and arrived first at an earlier class.  There was no-one I recognised; no-one I knew.  Without even realising it had happened I had placed my water and CGM on the sidelines and I found myself staring at my reflection at the front of the class only feet from the mirrors, crazy-fit, super-toned gym bunny standing on my right. I was so close I could see a hair having escaped from my ponytail.  I was at the front of the class.

Over the last two years I have seen my body grow stronger, my confidence shuffle forward and my ability to see things through to the end, creep up.  I may not be the smallest one in the class, but this week the t-shirt was finally shelved and exchanged for a brightly coloured one I can move in more easily. I no longer hide myself away at the back.  I no longer wish for any exchange. I no longer wish I were you.

Hey you, the crazy-fit, super-toned gym-bunny at the front of the class, I am your equal.

Because despite my body being broken in so many ways and still fighting my battles with weight, I can keep up with you to the end of the class.  My form is fantastic, my determination unparallelled and the fire within me is back.