‘My name is Jo… and I’m a gym junkie’

25 Jul 2012 @ 9.26 pm
| News

Jo Haywood isn’t addicted to drugs or ciggies, but can she walk past a BodyPump class..?

Everyone is addicted to something. It doesn’t have to be run-of-the-mill stuff like alcohol, drugs or Haribo Tangfastics (oh, come on, they’re the crack of the confectionary world), but most of us harbour obsessive thoughts and debilitating cravings for something.

My mother, for instance, is addicted to sudoku (she notes the date on each completed square and gives herself a big, bold tick as a baffling flourish); my 13-year-old son has a passion for football programmes that borders on psychosis; my auntie can’t go a day without popping into M&S (honestly, she’s got her own parking space and gets invited on the staff Christmas do); my partner has a worrying penchant for pencils; and my nine-year-old daughter adores shoes even more than she adores Olly Murs (if you can imagine such a thing).

And what about me? Well, my addictions are myriad. Food, magazines, scarves, pinot grigio, George Clooney, lip balms, over-sized coffee mugs – all these and more are completely irresistible in my demented little world.

[column width=”55%” padding=”5%”]I also have a teeny-tiny, almost-not-worth-mentioning problem with the gym. After spending most of my life avoiding what I assumed would be a sweaty hell-hole full of lumpy Lycra, drippy armpits and men in unflattering grey marl (even the ripplingly-ripped Ryan Gosling would struggle with that look), I discovered three years ago that I was right.

My local gym was a sweaty hell-hole – and I liked it. No, scratch that; I loved it. I loved the classes – the more lung-bustingly frenetic the better – I loved the crosstrainer, I loved the treadmill (for fast walking, not running – I have knees like a flamingo and my boobs go haywire at any speed above a brisk trot), I even loved the weights room, despite the fact I have the muscle mass of a string bean.

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I loved the crosstrainer, I loved the treadmill (for fast walking, not running – I have knees like a flamingo and my boobs go haywire at any speed above a brisk trot)

[/column][end_columns]I would have gone every day if I could (and twice on Sundays), but my pesky life kept getting in the way and I had to limit myself to just (just!) four times a week.

Even so, my gym sessions starting getting a little longer. I’d sneak in a session while my daughter was at Brownies or pretend the weekly “big shop” had taken two hours when, in fact, I’d spent most of the time in a BodyPump class being vociferously encouraged to “burn out my glutes”, which may or may not be a good thing depending on how charred you like them.

The buzz was great, but it soon buzzed off again when I realised how much of my time was being spent in the gym (on my way to the gym; buying new clothes for the gym; enjoying a latte and a chat after the gym; ogling posters for new classes at the gym).

So, a year or so ago, I went cold turkey. I cut up my membership card (yes, I am quite partial to a dramatic flourish) and banished my trainers to the deepest, darkest recesses of the understairs cupboard next to our bag full of plastic bags and our funny-shaped brush for cleaning window blinds (I’m a sucker for a Betterware bargain).

But now, much as I hate to admit it, I’m getting that itch again. No, not that one – an itch that only a session at the gym will fix. I’d love to just pop in casually for a class or two a week, but I’m scared that this casualness will be short-lived and I’ll end up camping in the locker room, surviving only on protein shakes and discarded banana skins as I wait for the next spinning class to spin round.

Maybe I could do it this time though without giving in to the sweet tingle of addiction. Maybe I could have a normal, healthy relationship with the gym. Maybe I could just saunter in this evening after dropping my daughter at Brownies and pick up a timetable. Just to see what’s going on. Casually.