"I joined a gym and it backfired spectacularly."

Why does everything involve so much exercise?

Before last week, the closest I’d ever come to joining a gym was joining a hip-hop dance class when I was 11.

It took me five years to realise that the “private lessons” I was offered before every performance were not a chance for my teacher to mentor a hip-hop prodigy, but rather a desperate attempt to get my flailing limbs under control before I paraded them around in public.

Isn’t this what hip-hop dancing is meant to look like?

I was heartbroken.

I decided to boycott all forms of exercise for the rest of my life.

But a week ago, after many years of being successfully sedentary, I joined a gym.

Maybe it was #fitspo. Maybe it was the three cupcakes I ate for lunch that day. Maybe it was the realisation I had spent more money on those cupcakes than I’d be paying for a fortnight’s gym membership.

Whatever it was – it was a terrible decision.

I chose yoga as my first class because it seemed really relaxing and simple. I had dabbled in yoga during my high school years and, from memory, it was at least 80 per cent lying on the floor with your eyes closed imagining a lush green field and a cool blue stream.

The reality of yoga did not match my expectations.

Things were looking up when I arrived and saw that my fellow yogis were all women over fifty. I was embarrassingly overconfident. I did not take water into the class because I thought it would be unnecessary. I was starting my gym career off slow and steady.


Look, I don’t want to spread lies about my high school yoga instructor, but I’m pretty sure we weren’t doing actual yoga AT ALL.

I had no idea what any of the moves were (are they called moves? I couldn’t hear the softly spoken instructor over the sound of my laboured breathing).

As women twice my age moved seamlessly from position to position without breaking a sweat, my arms developed such a spasm that when we were asked to hold a backwards plank, I crashed unceremoniously to the floor.

Which was quite lucky, actually, because it was the only lying down I got to do in the whole class.

Sometimes we got to rest in Downward Dog, which was a real shame, because it made me feel like my arms were going to fall off.

Where was the rest from the rest position? Why couldn’t we all just lie down and talk about the power of the third eye?

My next attempt at the super-toned body of my dreams was a Zumba class. I was led to believe that Zumba would be child’s play compared to yoga.

“You can’t be bad at Zumba,” I was told by a well-meaning friend.

Challenge accepted.

Mindy gets it.

I quickly recalled that I have no rhythm or swagger or ability to move one limb independently of the other three.

Luckily I had years of classical hip-hop training to fall back on, so I did what always worked for me in the old days – overcompensated with outrageous enthusiasm and pretended the person in the mirror having an interpretive Zumba seizure was somebody else.


I was pretty much done with the gym. But I am not the kind of person who gives up until I’m absolutely, 100% sure I suck. (See above re: hip-hop.)

I decided to do an Attack class, and, because I am an incredible optimist, I planned to follow it up with a Body Pump class.

I immediately realised I had made a terrible mistake. The first five minutes of the class involved more cardio than I had done before in my life. Luckily, our painfully enthusiastic instructor Kat was counting down until we could have a break.

God, I needed that break. I could have married that break. I wanted to take that break into the carpark behind the gym and do naughty things to it.

I cannot adequately explain how pumped I was about the break.

The ‘break’ was jumping up and down on the spot.

At the end of the class, friendly Kat asked if I was staying for BodyPump.




The gym destroyed my life and my dignity.

Good day to you, gym. I have no further interest in pursuing our relationship.

I will return for my dignity when I recover my ability to walk.