It sounds like the start of a joke but it’s not! I am said fat girl and yesterday I walked into a gym for the first time. (Technically the second but the last one doesn’t count as I didn’t use any of the equipment.) And it wasn’t as nearly as intimidating as I thought it could possibly be.
I was encouraged by my GP to join a gym under a scheme called Active Forth which is run by Falkirk Community Trust. The scheme helps people with many conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, CFS, anxiety and depression to become more active in the hopes that the activity and exercise will help improve the patient’s conditions. The doctor also kept harping on about my weight and even though I’m not overly fond of my body I don’t mind being overweight.
At first I was reluctant to join when the doctor mentioned the scheme as Alex was only a few months old, I wasn’t ready to put him in the creche. So I declined, however several months later after a particularly bad flare up that left me feeling very weak and useless as I mother, I returned to my GP in the hope I could be referred to Active Forth. Not for weight loss I don’t really care if I loss weight I want to tone up a bit and be more active with Alex. I want to be around to see my boy turn into a man.
The idea of exercising in public was a little scary to be honest. When I imagine people working out in the gym I picture someone who is fit and toned not fat and flabby but I was really surprised. There was a wide range of gym goers from young to old and thin to fat. Yeah there was your stereotypical folks there in the skin tight sports gear pumping weight but it felt like a place free of judgement!
My induction was yesterday where my advisor/trainer Fiona checked my blood pressure, height and weight! Then began to show me how the machines worked and proceeded to set out my routine. When it came to using weights she was aware of my constraints especially my hypermobility and encouraged me to not fully extend my arms and legs whilst using the equipment.
I’m not going to lie and say that my first session was easy, cause it wasn’t but I didn’t push myself to the point of regret and not wanting to go back.
The evening after I did start to feel fatigue in my muscles and was anxious that I would wake up the following morning not being able to move. I can however report that getting up in the morning was no worse than usual. My thighs are a little sore.
Keeping an eye on my pain and energy levels is important as I want to be able to have a record to show the doctor whether the scheme is helping or making my condition worse, so I’ve decided to keep a Gym Journal. My plan is to start off with one session a week then build up to two then possibly more. Tracking how I felt before and after the session as well as how it affects my pain and energy levels on the days following each visit.
Have you found exercise helps your chronic illness or did it make it worse? I’d be really interested to hear others experiences.
I’m considering a monthly Fat Girl At The Gym Update. If that is something you’d be interested in reading please follow me on bloglovin or join the email subscription list. Both choices are over there —–>.
Thanks for reading