I Joined A Gym! (Written January 2016):

I need to get fit! That’s my latest problem to solve. I’m going to be a dad and I need to be fit.

Right now it seems as though I share the same mindset as A LOT of people. New Year’s Resolutions perhaps? It’s January, of course it is.

What an embarrassment. I mean, where have I been for the last … I don’t know. The last 25 years! I’m an ex-elite gymnast with a pot belly!

My city life of ‘busy-ness’. Of working hard, studying hard and playing hard. My thoroughly enjoyable urban life of work and play has rendered my body inert, fat and lazy. And that, right now, is completely unacceptable to me.

And I’ve also got chronic shin and foot pain. Uniformly in both feet and I’m not sure why. That’s an aside right now. What I really want to do is ‘right this ship’ and take the necessary steps to reclaim myself! To get fit. Lose some weight. Be prepared for what’s coming. There is a CHILD on its way! And I’ve talked to other dads who have been where I am now and they all say that the ‘dad journey’ is not an easy one.

They also say, “Good on you for making the effort!” Meaning, ‘Go me’ for trying to be fit in order to survive this process. “Thanks” I say, but to be honest it is fear that is driving all of my current fitness choices and not any sense of altruism.

I’ve done the recon and found three gyms within cooee of my home that are either on my way to work or heading home from it. If I leave at little earlier, or if it’s okay to arrive home a little later, then I could fit the gym in to a daily practice.

That’s the plan.

I visited all three gyms. One is super fancy. One middle of the road and the other a smelly sweat-box! No matter their appearance they all seem to follow the same formulae. They all seem to have the same gear. The same equipment. Similar layouts. Different prices. Different levels of cleanliness. One is 24-hour! REALLY! That’s a thing?

Ultimately my choice of gym was determined by budget and proximity. What I can afford and where it fits in to my commute.

Yesterday I had my appointment with the ‘Fitness Consultant’ who spoke at me like he’d had one to many Red Bulls. He asked a myriad of questions without appearing to listen to any of the answers. His attention did appear to sharpen when it came time to sign a direct debit form, a waiver and get my credit out. Nice!

I remember looking for the leaver. That imaginary leaver that springs a trap door open. Only in this scene I’m the one who disappears through the floor and delivered safely to my favourite stool at the local pub!

During the interview some of the questions asked were:

“What are your fitness goals?” I’d like to lose some weight and get fit.

“Do you want the assistance of a personal trainer? We can offer one free session to get you started.” Okay. Sure.

“Do you have any current injuries?” Yeah I have a few. I’ve got really sore feet and shins right now and I don’t know why. My right wrist does not bare weight very well That’s an old gymnastic injury. My right shoulder is a little dodgy for the same reason.

Did the Fitness Consultant’s eyes just glaze over?

“Okay, I’ll make a note.” He says.

“And what is your current exercise program now?” That’s why I’m here. I don’t have one.

“Well we can fix that problem for sure!”

Preppy. Energetic. Enthusiastic. Efficient. I can live with that.

A quick tour and ka-ching!

I’m in. I’m a  fully-fledged member of my local gym where everything is at my disposal. Weights. Machines. Exercise classes like Body Step, Balance and Pump. There’s boxing! There’s the lingering smell of sweat and dank. And then there’s my first free consult with a Personal Trainer. I’ve never had one of those. Woot woot!

As I left the gym with my free sweat bag, water bottle and swipe card I took a look at the Personal Trainer board.

Who will be mine?

All healthy faces with diverse backgrounds and credentials as long as the page will allow. Maxims and motivational sayings are standard headers. Tattoos look compulsory as does being 20-something.

Things are looking up.

I’ve joined a gym!


Damien Norris is the founder and senior whole-body movement and lifestyle coach at The Wilding Project (LINK), Perth Western Australia.

Recently featured in TEDxPerth (LINK), Damien teaches children, young people, adults and seniors how to move and live a full life!

Olympic Fun & Fitness and The Wilding Project like Rewilding is dedicated to a movement rich life. Programs like Gymnastics, GymFIT, FootyEDGE, Parkour, Workplace Athletes, ActiveAgers and more all follow a simple philosophy, “Learn to move well and then never stop.”

Damien Norris