After working out at the Long Circular Club Health and Fitness, Long Circular Mall, St James, on Sunday, I felt strange. Why? Because I actually had some fun. I don’t like the gym. I find it very boring. The fact that you often have to wait for sweaty, sometimes smelly people to finish using a particular piece of equipment is also extremely unsettling. However, fitness trainer Nyekenge Grandison was very helpful, leading me through the various exercises and giving me essential health tips along the way. I started off my hour-long routine by warming up on the elliptical machine. Grandison, 33, instructed me to walk briskly to get my heart rate elevated—I was able to control my workout intensity thanks to the machine’s heart-rate monitoring device. Grandison was friendly... but I could tell he meant business. He led me through various resistance-training exercises, including the lying leg curls which strengthen the hamstring muscles, the leg extension machine which targets the quadriceps muscle in the legs, and the squat press machine which defines muscles in the quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus maximus (butt).
For each machine, I did three sets of 20 repetitions with Grandison hovering over me like a corbeau to ensure that I did not cheat. “Come on, you could do it,” he encouraged me. He showed absolutely no mercy, immediately telling me to do three sets of 15 repetitions on the outer and inner thigh machines, which as their names suggests, strengthen the muscles of the outer and inner thighs. I felt the burn throughout each workout and Grandison assured, “That’s how you know it’s working.” But it didn’t stop there. To put the icing on the cake, I also did some abdominal exercises, which he said was essential for strengthening the stomach muscles. I always wanted a six-pack, so I didn’t complain too much. When it was finally over, Grandison warned me that the stretching exercises, though necessary to ensure my muscles didn’t “cramp up,” might be painful. He was right. They were uncomfortable, too, since he had to stretch my legs in all sorts of unusual positions. Nicole, the photographer, didn’t make it any easier, snapping merrily away at my expense. But I reminded myself that it was all for a good cause—to get fit and to have a healthier life. Speaking of getting fit, Grandison, who trains about 25 clients, ranging from teenagers to people in their 60s, said one should work out at least three times per week to see positive results. “It’s also important to rest the muscles, so you should space out your training,” he advised. “For instance, you should train Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays so that you can rest the days in between.”
The benefits of exercise, he assured, are many. It increases one’s chances of living a longer, more fulfilling life, decreases the risk of diseases such as diabetes and hypertension and keeps one looking and feeling younger—who doesn’t want that? “Exercise programmes should be implemented in all schools,” said Grandison.“It is so important. Too many people getting fat.” No time for exercise, you say? Grandison said that’s no excuse. “If you don’t make the time now, I guarantee that you’ll pay for it later,” he said bluntly. An integral part of staying healthy is eating a balanced diet. But those who know me well know that food is my first love, so I wasn’t too keen on hearing that I should desist from eating what I want when I wanted. “Healthy eating is a lifestyle,” he advised. “People need to cut out all the fried foods and barbecued meats with plenty sauces. You should have more steamed, boiled and grilled foods. Imagine, I see people in their 50s and 60s eating a big plate ah rice. That is madness!” Overall, my gym experience was a good one (minus the aches and pains I feel now). I will recommend those who have never experienced the gym to give it a try. Good health is often taken for granted, but as the adage says, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”
Want to join the gym?
Mondays to Fridays: 4 am – 11 pm.
Saturdays: 6.30 am – 9 pm.
Sundays/Public holidays: 9 am – 2 pm.
Expense: $300 (monthly), $125 (weekly) and $40 a day.
Skills needed: discipline, flexibility, must be able to take orders.
Convenience: Gym is open every day to accommodate just about anyone.