Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Slip Slidin' Away
Greetings loyal followers,
Again, as most of you have noticed, I still do not have a computer to call my own. Nor do I have a guitar, a ukulele, a bicycle, or any other manner of possessions. But that is another story - all I'm attempting to do is excuse the lack of updates.
I have, however, set up something of a home office now. I bought the ubiquitous Swiss Exercise Ball yesterday, so so I've somewhere to sit whilst I tap. Still not my computer, but one I have ready access to throughout the day. The Swiss Ball I purchased yesterday is the weighted kind (ie: it has sand or something in the bottom of it), so it doesn't roll away like other pesky exercise balls I've known in the past (I'm looking at you Grimace!). It also means it is better for the actual business of exercise which, I guess, is the reason it was invented in the first place.
Which gets me on to the next topic for today (an effortless segue), my new fitness regime. Now that the Christmas/New Year madness is behind us I have joined the gym. There are a few gyms in Inverness - Sebastian Coe has a fancy one out of the Ramada Hotel a few doors down from us, there is the new shiny DW Fitness out in the retail park, as well as some manner of gymnasium over at the Tennis and Badminton/Squash Club (the tennis courts, like the bowling green, well under snow when I arrived, though it's probably melted now). But easily the pick of the bunch is the Inverness Leisure Centre and Aquadome.
I thought this was just a little too far away to be practical (around 1.5 miles/2.4 kms), but it turns out to be a perfect warm-up run there and cool-down run home. The gymnasium is a little small, but plans are afoot to open up the Highland Athletics Academy's weight training room to members, which should spread the love a little better. What this means is that, even in quiet times, it is difficult to get access to the equipment you need when you want it. Back to that in a moment. Our monthly membership (which is around £35 - ridiculously cheap) entitles us to everything. Gymnasium, 25m competition pool (when the Highland Swimming Academy aren't hogging all the lanes), leisure pool (which is creepy - full of mums and young kids, not the place for a 40 year old in Speedos*), health suite (including spa bath, steam room and sauna), climbing wall (yep, a freakin' climbing wall) and access to whatever classes you want. We are attending the punishing Friday night spinning with Charlie (the sadist) and Saturday morning yoga sessions led by our friend Hazel, which is quite lovely (although yoga and me is a relationship that needs therapy). There is also 'body pump' and those sorts of things, but hey, let's not over do it.
Oh, I nearly forgot to mention (actually, I really did forget to mention - I've just scrolled up here after nearly finishing and signing off) THE FLUMES! For my antipodean readers, flumes are what the Scots call water slides. And The Inverness Aquadome has three of them. There is one that is quite popular with the kids and families. It lolls around in three nice, concentric circles. Then there is 'Nessie'. This thing is a straight three story drop. You get in, you start to fall, you have a heart attack, then you die... I mean splash to the bottom. At least that's what I think it does. It was closed the day I went on the flumes - but it looks ridiculous. The one that I did manage to go on was called the 'Cyclone' or something. You climb the three story staircase (which is about enough cardio for one visit in itself) and find yourself in front of a big green hole in the wall. You actually have to decide halfway up the stairs which flume you're going on, as the stairwell is split by metal barriers. So good luck if you (like me) have no idea what to expect at the top. So here I am in front of the big green hole in the wall and something strikes me as odd. No one else is using this particular flume. At all. So, I think, this must mean this flume is either particularly lame, or (as I step into the gushing water) particularly HHHHHHOOOOOOLLLLLLLYYYYYY SSSSSSHHHHHHHHIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTT...
Tripped backwards into a pitch black tube of twists and turns and unholy G forces, it is seconds before I catch my breath and chant to myself that this thing must be safe, or it wouldn't be here in the first place. Trust that it's safe, trust that it's safe, trust that it's safe. My body is being thrown around, left, right, right again, this time nearly flipping over - this is fantastic. It's just brilliant. If I'm going to die (which surely I am at any moment) this is how I want to go. And then, in an instant, a green halo glow in the approaching distance and then SPLASH. It's over. I look around (after picking my swimming trunks out of the crack of my arse) waiting for the raptured applause from the crowds below. Only nothing. It may seem anti-climatic but for the endorphins and serotonins that are doing their own water dance through my brain, leaving me floating on air now that I'm out of the water.
People, it was brilliant. But back to real life...
So they won't let you use the gym until you've had an induction. Primarily this is so they can introduce you to the Fitlinxx system. This is a computer simulated personal trainer who keeps an eye on what you're doing every time you visit the gym. You get on a treadmill and Fitlinxx will tell you how far you've run, how many calories you've burned, and how many points you've gained for their reward system. Earn 150,000 points and you may get a free water bottle. So, Craig, you've been talking for a while today but, as yet, no rant. Well here goes.
Your gym membership also entitles you to a personally designed fitness program to follow your path from fat bastard to maximum hotness. A lovely gentleman (from Nottingham originally, but that's not important) named Nick guided me through a fitness routine that should have me looking and feeling super hot in time for summer... 2015. No, really, it is a good, balanced program. The only problem is, most of the routine he has me doing is free weights and mat work. None of these things are provided for on the Fitlinxx system. So almost everything I'm doing, my run there and back, my rowing cardio work, my squats, my lungs, my crunches, my planks - none of it is being monitored by my electronical fitness guidance system. So no chance at a free micro-fibre towel or free shuttlecock with badminton court hire.
What a rip!
So now that I've got this new fitness ball to sit on, I may as well get an exercise mat and a few more bits and pieces and do the bulk of my workout at home. At least I won't have to worry about getting room in the gym, and I can save my gym visits for hair-raising adventures on the water slides. Yahoo!
Anyways, tonight is Burns Night. I'll let you all that don't know use Google to look that up. Save to say it involves Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, as well as toasts, poetry, song and (plenty of) whisky. I'm cooking. Wish me luck.
*I do not possess Speedos. My swimming trunks (purchased in Singapore) do, however, leave little to the imagination.