After injuries, returning to gym is tough but fun

AFTER months of injuries I finally went back to the gym this week feeling very ragged and unfit, particularly after the indulgences of the festive season.

It was with some trepidation that I met instructor Glenn Donnelly at evolve gym in Cookstown Leisure Centre. Following several tweets he had agreed to help kick start my fitness regime.

I am heading off on a surfing weekend in Bundoran on February 17 and suddenly it dawned on me just how close that date was. Two and a half hours per day in the Atlantic and in very cold conditions can fairly take it out of you.

Can Glenn work miracles? Who knows but he certainly worked out a punishing schedule for me.

It was great to be back at evolve - a gym that has certainly not waned in popularity as it was packed after work on Monday.

I went straight to the treadmill to do a warm up while waiting for Glenn and then did about 15 reps on the chest press and seated shoulder press (at low weights mind you).

When I saw the work out plan Glenn had scheduled for me I nearly collapsed and he could see the fear on my face. I wasn’t happy doing some of the floor exercises in the gym as I feel a bit embarrassed in front of so many people making a complete cod of myself. Burpees are a particular nightmare.

Glenn reorganised the programme to use more of the equipment so I could blend in. He said there is no point in having a programme you are uncomfortable doing as you probably won’t. Better to tailor the exercises to suit the person.

I started on the treadmill with one minute running fast and the next minute walking recovery. That was grand for the first five minutes until Glenn started upping the speed of the treadmill and suddenly I am sprinting faster than I have ran since I has a kid.

Next was the seated chest press with the bar at the easiest level doing one set of ten reps at 15kg (plenty for a wee girl like me). But pushing the bar back to intermediate level made the 15kg feel like 30kg and it was tougher to push against the weights another ten times and when the bar was moved to the hardest level, well let’s just say my face was probably plum as I almost had lift off trying to push against those weights.

The seated shoulder press was next on the agenda with two sets of 10 reps - tough enough as I am not used to that kind of exercise.

And for the bingo wings, it was the tricep dips, three sets of 12 reps.

On the floor I had to hold the plank position for 30-40 seconds raising one leg for ten seconds and the other for a further ten seconds - that sure will tighten the tummy muscles.

And finally it was back to the treadmill for another twelve minutes of running and walking at one minute intervals increasing the speed and gradient each time making it tougher and tougher.

Homework is squat jumps, push ups, burpees, skipping, switch lunges, tuck jumps and straight abs - doing each for 50 seconds with a ten second rest. Hmmm...

If I carry on at this pace, I will end up more like Schwarzenegger rather than Shakira. That is if I can stick the pace.

It was tough for me but I haven’t been working out in a while. However there is a great buzz from exercising and while the body might be a little sore, the overall feeling of achievement is worth it. Thank you Glenn.