Gym pitfalls are everywhere

Our weekly columnist, Lidia Acardi just wants to be left to sweat it out in peace.

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You’ve been at uni for about a week and your jeans already feel tighter. If the healthy diet of booze and greasy takeout is catching up with you, chances are you’ll be joining the gym in the near future.

The gym is one lovely establishment. You walk in, in your ugliest and most unflattering clothes (I personally go for leggings and a sports bra so thick that it could be used as a grocery bag), with unwashed hair and no makeup, praying to God that you don’t bump into anyone you know. You then proceed to sweat on a cardio machine for a considerable amount of time. Once you are all red and puffy from the treadmill, you will lie on your back and do ab crunches. You will then proceed to stretch. This is when, while you think you look like Natalie Portman in Black Swan (minus the crazy), you will actually look like the hippos in Fantasia.

While carrying out this painful routine, all you want is to be left alone with your ipod and your sweat, but no, things are never that easy, are they? In fact, even when you think you’re in your most repulsive state (for me personally, it’s when I’m sitting with my legs open trying to touch my right toe), there is always a guy ready to chat you up. As karma will have it, he is not sweating at all, as a matter of fact he is a personal trainer, and, after the circumstantial small talk, he offers you a free training session with him. This, my friends, is where it gets complicated. The rational side of you would never pass up on free training while your vain side really doesn’t want to be seen struggling to lift a six kilo weight. What will you do? As he is standing there waiting for an answer, you accept.

The next day, you rock up for your training session with washed hair and a hint of makeup (enough to look presentable, but not too much as you don’t want to make it look like you’re trying). Your trainer then proceeds to flirt shamelessly while putting you through a workout that includes pull-ups (aka he holds on to your hips and lifts you while you pretend to use your arms). It is there and then that you realise that the last thing you want to do is date a personal trainer. This is a guy who believes wheat is bad and it shouldn’t be eaten (as he proceeds to illustrate in his gripping argument) and he probably wants a girl who will go with him on early morning runs while you want a man who buys you cake because he thinks you’re getting too skinny. After having realised that this romance is doomed from the start, you cleverly proceed to say the most ridiculous things you can think of in an attempt to put him off asking you out. An all time favourite of mine is that I struggle to tell left from right. This tactic obviously fails, because that same night, you get a text from him asking you to grab a drink over the weekend.

This situation is much more tragic than it looks, as there is literally no way out. Whether you go out with him or not, the awkwardness associated with relationships with the other sex has officially caught up with you in the one place you thought you would be safe from having to deal with it. All you wanted to do was sweat off the booze and greasy chinese, but no, now every time you walk into the gym, you will have to avoid the man who wants you to stop eating bread. You buy time, tell him you have a crazy week ahead of you and pray to God that he forgets that he ever wanted to go out with you.

Just when you thought this whole gym disaster couldn’t get any worse, what happens? Another personal trainer comes up to you and offers you a free session. Brilliant.