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I have just cancelled my gym membership. I became a member at this chain of gyms in 2004, after my former personal trainer and physiotherapist, along with one of his colleagues (and one or two former clients as investors) set up their first gym. I’ve watched his company expand and achieve success, and have worked out at three of his gyms, each with a very different character and clientele, but each with high quality staff and facilities. Their own excellent physiotherapist clinics attached to the gym facilities have treated me with injured wrists, calves, knees, and a broken ankle. And every year I have enjoyed a free birthday massage, sometimes the only massages I get these days.

But I’m not driving into the city now on a daily basis, the only suburban gym in the group – the one with the amazing views and the wonderful drive around the bays to get there – is no longer working for me, given its distance from home, and the fact that other businesses are taking up all the available (and free) parking.

I need to change my workout routine, get into swimming, and have a cheaper gym membership nearby that I can visit regularly without taking up half of my day. But right now I’m mourning the loss of my lovely gym, the friendly people staff and the other members I have chatted to over the years, the views across Evans Bay, the scenic drive I took to get there, and the cafes where I would stop for a delicious coffee on the way home.

 

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I’ve been doing yoga for almost a year now, on and off, with the guidance of an app on my iPad, on a mat on a clear spot in my dining room, where I can see the deck and garden and valley, which make me smile, but unfortunately I can also any unwashed dishes in the kitchen, and these are not conducive to a calming practice! The privacy is important to me, as I can focus on my movements without worrying that other people might be watching and judging my frequently less than graceful efforts.

As you know, I’m a sucker for a challenge for a defined time, whether it’s blogging every day for a year (my first year of blogging), or a month (May), or posting every Monday, or a challenge to stick to only eight sentences on those Monday posts, so when a friend told me about Adriene’s 30 Day Yoga Challenge, I decided to try it. It was slightly different from the style of yoga on my app, with more constant movement, less slow stretching (which I usually enjoy), and was not tailored exclusively to a beginner (although it is entirely possible for a beginner like me to do it).

I missed a few sessions on days when I had a particularly tough workout at the gym and couldn’t face yoga on top of that, but I doubled up on my non-gym days, and so I finished on schedule. I’ve enjoying the contrast of styles, and now that the 30 days challenge is over, I’m mixing up her yoga with that on my Yoga Studio app.

I’m feeling good; a bit stronger, a bit braver, a bit more flexible, sitting straighter, breathing slower, breathing deeper. It’s still not a pretty picture – imagine a beached whale doing a downward dog, and you’ll see why yoga is still best practised in the privacy of my own home.

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Back when I worked in an office in the same building as my gym, I used to work out five days a week.  I lost weight, and was the fittest I had been since I was playing sport in my 20s.  Then I left the company, had to start paying for parking, and grew my hair.  In more recent years, physical issues stopped me going consistently, and then of course last year we took off on our adventure to the Middle East and Europe, and my daily exercise was of a very different nature (and often accompanied by a gelato, or preceded by a pizza).

Fast forward to August 2014.  My physical restrictions are no more.  My hair is short, and so daily gym visits are once again feasible.  And for the first time in several years, I am able to commit to going to the gym consistently.  After a false start and a nasty winter cold, August has seen me get back regularly – so far three days a week, but this week aiming at four.   I have had to start right back at square one, and that was a shock.  I don’t think I realised how low I had fallen earlier this year, but that’s all behind me, and I’m feeling stronger every day.  I’m not yet back to the levels I was reaching as a matter of course even a few years ago, but I intend getting there quickly, and I am confident I will surpass them.  I’m standing taller, breathing deeper, sitting straighter, and thinking more clearly.  Whipping myself back into shape.

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