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  • Writer's pictureMike Douglas

Starting at the Gym

Updated: Jan 21, 2023

It's not about losing weight, but that wouldn't hurt.

Honestly I do wonder who thinks telling someone "you need to lose weight" is a positive motivator? It definitely isn't a motivator for me. I guess maybe that feeds into why I don't want this to be about losing weight. Maybe, who knows. I guess theres also the tone of how that conversation goes to consider.

At the end of last year I decided I wanted to set myself a challenge, and so I signed up for a 500k, or 311 miles, in 2019 running challenge. After a slow start, which included just walking more regularly, I ran 8 miles in January. Which is about quarter of the miles I ran for the whole of 2018. So not a bad start.

However then in February I had 6 weeks with no working shower at home. Not exactly the ideal situation for someone trying to work up a sweat. So my running stopped.

Mid March came with a new shower and the running started again, but motivation was a bit low. Late March and April saw me back out and running around Havant Thicket. It is so beautiful (apart from all the dog poo, seriously people!) and it's great to not be near traffic when running. The air is so much more... good and airy (haha, my mastery of the English language), when you're running in green spaces.

However with a lot of those 311 miles still to do, that A to B and back got a bit boring. It's the same running location I have used on and off for years now. So I was thinking about ways to change it up.

Away from the practical running side and more motivation thinking. I'm planning to move later this year (moving blog post soon) and theres a couple of issues. One being that I seem to have taken up snoring. It has been/ is disruptive enough that Laura rarely sleeps in the same house as me.

While I haven't heard my snoring, if its anything like my sneezing, its probs loud, haha. This could be because of a number of reasons, but I very much doubt my weight helps.

I don't have a great self image, so thinking about my weight and my body isn't something I am too keen on. But sometimes it's important. For me, I guess it's finding what you are happy with. If I was happy and the weight I am, I would be fine with that and wouldn't see a big need for change. It's more the being out of breath when going up stairs, not being able to see my body below my stomach (yes I'm kinda PG now, hahaha) and not being able to share a bed with my girlfriend.

So, with the 2019 challenge back in full swing, I started looking at gyms. I was thinking if I can keep the running going, I may even discover an interest in the other parts of the gym I see from the treadmill. Plus, having to go to the gym will be motivation to make the most of it/ that visit, once I am there.

I looked at a couple of different gyms, in the end opting for the gym I hope to live near later this year (also the one with the best deal at the time). The gym I signed up with was Pure Gym (this is not a sponsored post).

This is my first gym experience, other than an induction in some holiday gym almost two decades ago. So it's all fairly new. I did chuckle at the one in one out door and having to wait my turn to just get inside. But coding in and out does mean I get a cool report on how long I'm in the gym. As well as being able to check the busyness of the gym on my app. Yes there's an app. Not saying it was a deciding factor in my gym choice, but it is a notable plus to me.

So far I am keeping to twice a week, and have moved from 3 miles per visit to almost 5. I have even used the showers a couple of times (when I remember to take a change of clothes). I haven't tried anything other than the treadmill yet, but honestly that is my focus at the moment. So I am not in a rush, but I imagine July August time I will try some of the other equipment, just to mix up my time there.

Hopefully the gym work and maybe changing my eating habits very (very) slightly will help me become more healthy. It'll mean being less out of breath, being able to see stuff (you know) and snoring less.

However, I believe the most important thing for me is that it supports my wellbeing, for three reasons.

1. Wellbeing should the most important thing.

2. It shouldn't be all about, and I definitely don't want to be focusing on, weight.

3. My weight gain and snoring are quite possibly side affects from my antidepressant medication, and so however the gym goes, this may not change at the moment.

A number of websites mention - antidepressants can affect your sleeping patterns, and can lead to weight gain. Which in turn can cause or exacerbate obstructive sleep apnea. This may not be the case with me, but the timelines do match up. So, making sure my wellbeing is in a good place. Hopefully means I can work towards reducing or even coming off my medication in the future.

Whether my medication is affecting me in this way or not, it is good to know I am taking positive steps to improve how I feel about me.

In the past I wouldn't have done this because I had low self value and morale. I believe trying the gym and making these changes is a sign I'm starting to change that. That, that I am super proud of.

While I want to do this for me, and make no mistake I am the one sweating myself through t-shirts. I really doubt I would be in this place mentally without Laura, so big hug for my number one supporter.

I'll finish on this note.

If you want to make changes, make them for you.

Though making changes so you can hopefully hug your partner to sleep is a good second.

** Please Note **

If you are considering making big changes to your diet and or exercise consider talking to a healthcare professional.

Additionally, if you are considering making ANY changes to your medication you need to talk to your GP.

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