Gym Bunnies! My Life | Sport & Health 02 MAY 2008

Gym BunnyYay, all signed up at last. Like I reported earlier in the week, we had managed to sort out Chantelle’s new gym contract easy peasy like and mine was finalised a little later, once the Virgin Active Helpline operators were finally back at work. Actually, the club transferral process is pretty streamlined and basically amounts to you giving your bank details to someone you don’t know over the telephone and then watch how they suck you dry – honestly, I don’t see how changing your home club on the system can possible cost over a hundred rand!

Anyway, we managed to procure the necessarily gym gear and on Wednesday evening once Chantelle finally returned from work, we got changed and headed out. I must say, it is a bit of an interestingly laid out gym to say the least. Basically situated in the industrial/commercial area overlooking the N2, the gym is located in a big factory-like building with a nice high roof and a bit of an interesting setup. As you enter through the front door, you are greeted by the entrance desk, blocking your access to the facility until you hand over your card to a friendly assistant who then swipes the card to grant you access to the big pool behind them.

However, unless you have your swimming cap packed in, you’ll probably want to walk towards either of the change room facilities flanking the pool, more specifically to the steps spiralling up to the upper level. Once the short flight of stairs have been ascended, you will find yourself inside the main gym area, basically a gigantic square shape with a hole cut in the middle. If you so want, you can lean over the railing from any of the inside sides of this square and spit at the swimmers below, but you probably do this at your own risk – just in case you fall in of course.

The actual gym floor space covers all the basics as you have the cardiovascular section featuring all the treadmills and exercise bikes in the one corner, the twin circuits in the other corner, the free weights section in yet another corner and then finally the weights machines in the last corner. In between the corner sections is the abdominal and stretching area as well as a few odds and ends machines that don’t seem to go anywhere else.

Tucked away to the side of the main gym area is also a massive studio area that is well stocked with all the necessary equipment for fitness and aerobics classes, as well as a slightly smaller spinning studio for all those hardcore cycling fanatics out there.

I must admit to being pleasantly surprised when I walked in for the first time, marvelling at the sense of space that this gym exudes. Looking closer, it does feel like they don’t have that many machines to actually play with, but you quickly realise that this is in fact just an illusion brought on by the sheer size of the venue. Unlike the Tygervalley branch which I am so accustomed to, this sense of space means that the gym feels far less busy and bustling and actually creates a nice and relaxed environment for working out in.

My only disappointment in this gym however is the lack of squash courts which is something I firmly believe all gyms should in fact feature. However, thanks to the squash court back at home, I guess I can live with this little oversight.

We’ve scoped out the training roster for all the scheduled class sessions and although fewer in number than those offered at Tygervalley, I can already pencil in on my calendar that Monday nights are going to be katabox nights :) The size of the studio is also a nice improvement on the one that I am used to, so I can’t wait to give it a go this coming Monday!

As for the equipment, at first glance I thought that they were still only stocked with the old Technogym stuff, until on closer inspection I found that they actually do have all the shiny new and more ergonomically designed machines that Virgin Active Tygervalley brought in – albeit in a slightly different and more metallic shell. This is great because I found that this new equipment is definitely a huge improvement on the old stuff which is a nice little motivation booster for me because I feel that I am getting more out of any particular exercise.

Of course, all of the above is worthless talk if we don’t actually make use of the facility and so far so good. Like I said, we scoped out the place on Wednesday evening, putting in a light 45 minute session in which I basically showed Chantelle around and got her on the machines to test them all out (she hasn’t been to gym since her school days and therefore most of the stuff looks pretty foreign to her!) Actually, it was quite amazing how quickly the time flew by and we were forced to leave when we heard the intercom voice announcing that the gym was now closing for the evening!

Buoyed by our successful Wednesday night practice session (Chantelle even managed to scratch me somehow in all her testing!), yesterday morning saw us put in our first proper training session – 45 minutes long (we were under time constraint thanks to Chantelle working a late shift) and boy was it good. My legs felt like jelly following my short little exercise bike ride in the beginning and Chantelle’s arms were like custard after all the arm exercises I put her through – Together you could say that we are getting our just desserts! :) (Yes, it was a bad pun, I know)

I must admit that it was absolutely great to be back at gym after such an extended period away from this thing called exercise and this can only be good for the two of us as I was feeling closer and closer to the need for intervention with regards to my own body.

We are both pretty serious about this whole workout thing and in such, our plan of action can probably best be summarised as this:

Marshmallow Man Transform Arrow Fit Guy Fit Girl

You laugh, but we will get there (eventually) – just you wait and see!

About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.