Two words that can strike fear into even the most courageous. But I sign up anyway, imagining the taut, toned and undeniably terrific bod I’ll show off next summer. In just a few sessions, right?
First session. Try to run. Fail badly because my sports bra has too much give and I can feel my chest hit my navel and then chin in never-ending rhythm. Lift some heavy things. Cry because I can’t lift said heavy things, and feel stupid and weak. Look around at those other bodies effortlessly lifting and running. Turn blue because I’m having an anxiety attack and can no longer breathe. Calm down, catch my breath and look at self in that full-wall-length mirror and wonder who that person is – now redder than the goji berries I’ve been trying to stomach, sweat streaming from every pore, panting and collapsing onto the ground in tears.
Flash forward to a month later. Can lift some heavy things. Crying a bit less. Only falling on the floor a few times.
Then, a while later, like some sort of miracle, heavy things becoming easier to lift. But, what’s this? You want me to lift heavier things? What was the point of lifting the original heavy things if I’m cheated into new ones? Consider throwing a tantrum but not a good idea with kettlebell in hand. Look on the upside instead – at least there’s a new bra. Chest only reaching bottom of ribs and collar-bone when running for a few minutes at a time.
Then one day, look in the mirror. Double-take. Who is that? She’s absolutely gorgeous! Then realise it’s that other mum from the school I’ve seen here a few times. You know, the one that keeps looking at me with that not-quite-a-smirk?
See that other woman – goji red, sweating profusely and rocking in foetal position up the back? Yeah. That’s me.