The Gym: My New Sports Ground

DIT College gym bike room.
DIT College gym. Bike room. Photo by Sinead Fitzgerald

By Sinéad Fitzgerald

Sports aren’t really my thing. I need to be more competitive or so I’ve been told. A refusal to throw yourself on tarmac or in front of a speeding missile, apparently won’t get you to a final. But I’ll play anything on a friendly basis and I was fine with that. Until I found the gym. As an undergraduate, with the facilities there waiting when I had free periods, I found my sport.

Nobody at the gym knew me, or cared how much I did or did not improve. I had no intention of being first in line for the treadmill, or the first to admit defeat to spinning, so finally, sport had to be mastered, not just played. And there was a distinct and probably not that healthy measure of success. A calorie counter. Would a pedometer have done the same thing? Yes, maybe, but to me, beating my own ‘score’ alone wouldn’t make me Master of a particular machine. This was about endurance. The longer I could keep going the better. The rowing machine in particular. This is about the effort put into each pulling motion and man or woman beside me, I was not getting left behind.

I have noticed many different types of people at the gym, those who spend maybe fifteen to twenty minutes on two or three machines and probably do this quite regularly, people who will stay on one machine for over forty minutes or longer, and then might move on to something else for a shorter or equal length of time, people who stay on one machine for an hour or more. The first time in DIT gym that I had to acknowledge I was going to lose  a competition,  was on the cross trainer. Forty minutes against a girl with dark hair and a blue t-shirt, who got on before me and still seemed entirely unaffected. I’m preparing for the rematch.

I love the feeling of de stressing I’ve come to associate with a room of treadmills, indoor rowers, stack machines and gym users. That part I would recommend. There are better ways to use a gym I am sure, and talking to the staff members at any facility will put you on the right track. But my way works for me and in the words of Christina Aguilera who is on my playlist, ‘Thanks for making me a fighter.’ (Finally).

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