Lately, I’ve been finding it difficult to go to my local gym. It’s accessible, so that’s not the problem. The issue is that I’ve stopped enjoying the experience. While I love to exercise and the gym scene in general, navigating this fitness club, one of a large chain, is exhausting. My issues are that the bathrooms are located on the far side of the building, that it’s like a mini high school reunion, and the gym is almost always packed so most of the time the machines I prefer to use are unavailable.
I understand that most of the stuff I have mentioned may seem trivial to others. But these factors have played a larger role than I like to admit in keeping me at home. Where the bathroom or locker room is located makes a big difference to the quality of my workout. It’s a massive inconvenience for me if I’m riding a bike or in the middle of my weightlifting routine and I have to stop and rush to the other end of the gym to use the restroom.
It can be awkward to frequently run into people you have grown up with or have known for years, but the experience can be at another level of uncomfortable when you have a progressive illness. I know I always talk about caring what other people think, but sometimes I can’t help feeling scrutinized. I can feel the stares, and I can’t blame them — if I was in their shoes I might do the same. I would have 100 questions for someone I knew whose health was visibly declining. But while I understand the reactions, I still dislike them.
I wear a hat to the gym so that I can keep my head down, avoid eye contact, and focus on my walking and steps. I don’t mean to isolate myself, but I prefer to be in and out as quickly as possible. I want to be left alone to concentrate on my weightlifting routine.
One of my biggest frustrations is not having the machines available for me to use. While I would expect it at a public gym like this one, it happens too frequently for my liking. I have a set plan to strengthen my muscles during each session. I adapt exercises to suit me. However, as the machines I want to use are taken I would have to use a mat, inconveniently located across the gym floor.
So I have taken a different approach to fitness and have chosen somewhere else to work out. If I do return to a public gym I will bring my wheelchair. In the meantime, I have hired a personal trainer at a smaller club. My “problems” in the public gym diminish when I have a trainer. As someone who needs help with specific exercises, having a personal trainer to spot me and make sure my form is correct has left me satisfied with the quality of my workout. I’ve been using many excuses to justify skipping the gym, but now I’ve found something that makes me feel good about physical fitness again.
If you are interested in finding a personal trainer, leave me a comment and I can help you find one in your area.
Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.