Dear Gym, (part 1)

Please fix it for me to keep up my gratitude marathon for you, McFit, this Winter pregnancy

Gym hairdrying pregnant woman

My gym membership comes with incredible women as part of the deal. Even pregnant, it’s kind of awesome to look on like an alien © Laura Eades 2014

Thank you for being there always. Fully lit, and fully heated, even when I’m not in you.

I like to know I’m a member. I sleep well, assured of unlimited access. That the place, the safe haven, is reserved for me. Like a weekly psychotherapy hour, only you’re open 24/7.

Thank you for throwing your automatic doors open to me whenever I approach. My husband pays by direct debit, but I’m the one who carries the swipe card. Everywhere. Like a credit card. I keep it in a lanyard so I will never ever lose it. Swipe. Blink, blink: green light on the turnstile.

I like to know that if I do come, I’ll always be welcomed. Well not welcomed, but at least welcome – since you’re called McFit, and have an unmanned automated reception area. But I still say ‘Guten Tag!’ in my head when I stroll in! It’s an optimistic moment, it deserves announcement.

Gym, thanks for being warm. If it were snowing and I were cold, I could legitimately sit in you. Just sit. What? There’s nothing in the contract saying I have to move my body around.

I like to know that I’m paying for you, Gym, and sometimes I come to see you just because it’s better value-for-money the more I’m present. If I lost some of my miserliness, I might gain weight fractionally. (Carbon offsetting with virtues).

You’re very attractive, gym

Wow, Gym. You are really popular. You are full of people. Full of effort; perseverance. Full of doing something about it.

There are people filing down the stairs to pull their clothes off and people who’ve accomplished something leaving looking flushed. And people with jogging bottoms and wide shoulders walking like apes taking up all the breadth of the corridor, really feeling the hiphop soundtrack. Boys II Men? There’s pretty much a scene that revolves around you. I’m glad to be part of a community, even if it’s one where I avoid eye contact.

Thanks for your health and safety standards, they are superior to the park. I’m pregnant, Gym: It needs to be nice and free of ice. Though sometimes I almost do myself a nasty, walking brusquely on the treadmill gawping at footage of someone swervily snowboarding along the eaves of a chalet roof. Woman hits the bumpers like a bowling ball sent on an inelegant trajectory. Everyone notices, but they avoid eye contact too so that’s OK.

The machine of my body just needs a little fine-tuning

Thanks, Gym, for your consistent branding, too. Such attention to detail. McFit. Mc! McClever. And the distinctive grey wallpaint everywhere. Tough, yes, and strict: not confused with flushing fleshing flashes of colour. It makes me feel like my body’s neat and tidy, pretty much robotic actually, which is an illusion I really really need sometimes.

I need to feel that now actually. That it’s being obedient and under control. Not evolving, shifting, stretching. Not shifting about according to hormones that are so intelligent that they don’t even have to inform me –  their proprietor! – of their intentions.

Thanks also for all the mirrors so I can attempt to recognise myself.

“Is this a hologram?”

Thanks for the lockers in the basement changing rooms, where I can store my laptop (just in case a sweaty session pumps so much oxygen to my brain that I really need to write a chapter of my novel urgently), and also to hold the shopping I did in Netto on the way down here. If we were bombed, I’d live at least until Tuesday. I really think I would, so long as the men didn’t come into the women’s changing-room! I bet nobody else has cheesy-topped baps instead of a washbag. On Wednesday, though, we’d have to eat someone else’s Pantene Waschen und Gehen. I’d abstain, even if I was desperately hungry and all the other frauen were going for it. You never know what could harm the baby.

Thanks for the showers. It’s – no, really, they’re appealing, and it’s a nice offer. But I think I’ll use the one at home cos it doesn’t need a euro coin. They make a nice vibe though. I like walking into the changing rooms and seeing women – incredible women (I might think you bought them in just for the publicity or something) drying their hair. Is this a hologram?

You’re a miracle of the future

Thanks for the cybertraining. That’s the wall-sized video of an instructor, so I can do a ‘studio session’ anytime without you paying any staffing costs! I need to be told what to do, that’s a sad fact. Fifty minutes would be way too long if I weren’t watching a giant telly. I almost believe the video when the presenter tells me I look good.

I enjoyed the elbows-out bootyshaking Dancehall phase of the Rhythm’n’Dance class on Monday. So did the people on the treadmills looking through the glass wall.

I like the Spinning class where the video is of the instructor on a spinning bike on a white background, but the voiceover is always talking in German about the mountains we’re climbing, summits we’re vanquishing, and things. I’m sure he mentions reaching a Schloss at one point. It snagged a little bit when he said that. My imagination just ran out of film.

And the Yogalates – that was different! I’d never have combined some of those postures if it weren’t for the Cyber instructor! Does the Cyberinstructor breathe? “Das war Cybertraining by McFit. Namaste.” Namaste, Gym. Gymnaste.

Ooooooh. Phewww. 

Dear Gym, I have to have a rest now. Just thinking about you makes me want just a very little small siesta. I’ll come and see you sometime soon.

And I’ll write again tomorrow, because you are ever in my thoughts, I promise. xx Laura

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Do you love, loathe or have ambivalence towards your gym? Do you manage to overcome your ambivalence about exercise in general (don’t tell me you don’t have ANY?? Even Murakami says he still feels reluctant to run… )Did you, or are you, managing to stay physically active in your pregnancy? I’d love to hear your comments. Click on the pale grey dot with a plus sign on it under the blogpost to open up the comment thread and add your voice.

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