In every situation in life, there's always a way to make a tit of yourself
One way to get around the issue of making a prat of yourself on your own at the gym is to join an exercise class. And make a prat of yourself with lots of other people at the gym.
Which is kind of ok if everyone is in an equal state of not having a clue what they’re doing. As I’m sure anyone who’s ever been to an exercise class will tell you, though, that is rarely the case.
What usually happens is that you walk in, have a crafty scout around for someone else who looks as uncoordinated as you are, and surreptitiously take up a position next to them at the back.
Then they turn the music on, the class starts, and within about 0.05 seconds of the first grapevine or power lunge you realise that the old lady in the pink tracksuit you’d stationed yourself next to is actually some sort of expert and the comparison to your own inept flails is somewhat less than favourable.
In fact, literally everyone else is some sort of expert, and seems to be at the distinct advantage of actually knowing what a grapevine is – you’ve just walked into one of those awful “oh god, I’m the only person in here who doesn’t know how to do this” situations.
By this point, sadly, it’s usually already too late to make a bid for the exits and you have to hang in there for the full hour.
The full hour of trying desperately to muster some semblance of coordination and rhythm. The full hour of accidentally squat-thrusting in the opposite direction to everyone else, every single time. And yes, the full hour of trying desperately not to cry, fall over again, or fart as you attempt to move your limbs in ways human limbs just aren’t meant to move.
And at the front, leading the show, is an unfathomably energetic, shouty sort of person with a microphone taped to their face and a maniacal glint in their eyes. This person seems to be what you’d get if you mixed Rambo with a ’90s popstar, gave them speed, and sent them to an all-night rave.
Your own floundering attempts to move various parts of your body in time to music take on an added sense of urgency when there is a heavily muscled person in a tight vest shouting at you to “find it” “pick it up” “make it burn” – leading you to conclude only that you’re not entirely sure what “it” is (possibly your will to live), but it’s probably safe to say that you don’t have it, and even if you did, burning it would not be at the top of your to-do list.
When the music finally comes to an end, you may think that your sweaty, thrusting, grapevining ordeal is over. But your relief would be short-lived – there’s still the stretching to come.
An important part of exercising, undoubtedly, but also good for inducing those feelings of crushing inadequacy as the pink-tracksuited OAP drops into the full splits beside you as you valiantly make it half-way to touching your toes.
All in all though, still preferable to going it alone and falling off a treadmill or getting stuck on a hip abductor machine.
The Awkward Guide accepts no responsibility for adverse reactions to the implementation of advice supplied herein. Side-effects can include: smug laughter, mild disdain, and temporary irritation.