A few months on, here are my thoughts:
- Don't sweat the small stuff. Sure it's nervous when you're a newbie and everyone else is a pro. But you gotta start somewhere. No one really cares that you're completely *dying*, they're too busy trying to keep up too.
- Embrace the sweat. By the end of a class I look like I've gone 5 rounds with Mike Tyson, a red face and good old sweat patches. That's normal. The girl with a face full of slap (including liquid eyeliner) whose brow doesn't have a single bead of sweat, looks really weird. Especially when her gym bag is a Celine.
- Talk to your instructors. Jumping straight into the deep-end I started my first class with Body Attack. Major cardio for a full hour - something I really wasn't ready for. In-fact I may have had a silent weep in the toilet twenty minutes in. If I had taken advice from my instructors I would have booked in for classes that suit my fitness level better - like Body Combat (kicking/punching/pretending to be a pirate) or Body Pump (toning through weights) before building up to Body Attack.
- Make friends! Going it alone I was nervous, but after a few sessions my new BFF is Anne. Sure she's a senior citizen and her fitness levels are better than mine, but I've met so many people in my class now we have a weekly natter and wave. Or better still, rope in a friend. I subjected my poor friend into coming to Body Pump classes and we actually enjoy it, shock horror.
- Enjoy. Can you really enjoy the gym? If I can, you can. I feel a sense of achievement after each class, my body feels fitter and stronger as classes go by - and it certainly makes me more inclined to be healthy. Plus, it's a great excuse to buy Nike clothing.
- Don't even begin to tell me you don't have time - I manage to shuffle in (on a good week) four. Yes, that might mean forgoing a lie-in on the weekend or heading home from work via the gym - but you'll feel better for it.
- Forget the fancy gym in town, hunt out your local leisure centre. My classes only membership is £36 a month. If I can easily drop than dollar on eating out or on a new blouse from Zara, I can easily put cash aside for feeling fitter - and looking good for it.