Things I’ve Learnt From The Gym

Maybe it’s just the blogs that I read, but it seems like in the last 6 months, there’s been a real shift in the amount of people who are going to the gym and talking about it (because what else are we going to talk about?)

My own ~*fitness journey*~ (which I think you can tell what I think of that phrase when I use the wanky lines around it) started last August when I started seeing a personal trainer. I joined the Pure Gym in the middle of town because it was reasonably priced and easy to get to – both reasons meaning that I had no excuse to not go!

I have been seeing my PT twice a week since then, I changed who I was seeing in November as my original PT went to Florida for a few months. I have found that having someone plan a workout for me means that I work out harder than I would if I planned my own routine. I tried to explain this to Alex by saying that if I go by myself, then I stick to the cardio machines that I know well, and put in maybe 7/10 effort. If I go with a friend, then I put in a bit more effort (like 8/10) but if I’m with the PT, then I put in the most effort, because I’m paying for it, so it would be silly not to want to get the most from it!

Alex found that he could get a David Lloyd membership through his work as well, which suited him because he wanted to play more tennis, so I was added onto his membership in December…yeah, I didn’t think I’d be a member of one gym a year ago, never mind two. I like both gyms for different reasons – the cardio machines at David Lloyd are a little more up to date (and have TV’s in them…always good for distraction!) but I prefer the weight machines at Pure (because they have the weights in both lbs and kgs)

Here are a few things that I have learnt since going to the gym…

Working on your core makes back problems easier to deal with

My main reason for joining the gym was to see whether my back problems could be managed better. I was taking the strongest painkillers which still didn’t do enough sometimes. Building up my core strength has meant that I haven’t taken any painkillers for my back since December (woo!)
I also started seeing a physio at the same sort of time, which does help of course, but it’s more of a reset every few weeks to put my back into the right position rather than actually treating the daily problems.

Working on your core means you can wear heels more.

This is one of those things that no one has ever mentioned to me, but I’m pretty sure everyone would want to know. Building up my core strength (and working on my legs – I love the leg press machine!) meant that at a recent wedding, I wore my heels all day and didn’t need to keep sitting down and taking them off. Oh heels. I have missed you.

Weights aren’t just for blokes

This is one of the things that seeing a PT has helped most with. When I went to a gym a few years ago, my induction was more focused on the cardio machines like treadmills and elliptical – there was a general wave at the weights area and a comment made that I probably wouldn’t be interested in that. Lifting weights is always seen as a very male dominated area, and I have to admit, I’m still a little intimidated sometimes at picking up a barbell to do some lunges with when I’m on my own.

Numbers mean bugger all.

I need to remember this myself sometimes. The easiest way to measure progress is to step onto the scales every day and let them record my weight and BMI, but really, those numbers mean nothing. What matters most is how you feel about yourself, which brings me to my next point

Working on your strength makes you like your body a bit more

I turned up to my first PT session wearing a baggy t-shirt and bulky jogging bottoms, but as I’ve worked out more and learnt to appreciate what my body can actually do, I’ve moved into wearing cropped leggings and more recently, brightly coloured leggings – things I wouldn’t even have considered previously.

Eating healthy doesn’t mean bullshit diets or denying yourself good food.

I have never been a fan of things like Slimming World or Weight Watchers, etc. I hate when people say they’re “being good” when they choose a salad over a burger. Just the idea of calorie counting makes me really sad, because I love food. Everything is good in moderation, and really, who could eat their favourite food constantly?

As an example, and because I don’t know how to end this post, here’s what I had for dinner last night – a Smokestack burger at Grillstock and some chocolate and hazelnut gelato at Swoon. Damn, that was some good eats.


A photo posted by Hayley Constantine (@hayleyc) on

Accidentally a @swoon_gelato. (Thats how it works @waiyeehong, right?)

A photo posted by Hayley Constantine (@hayleyc) on


  1. Sarah says

    So good to hear you’ve been off the painkillers thanks (mostly) to the gym! I think you’ve nicely summed up the benefits of the gym that aren’t to do with how your body looks, and those are my favourite benefits anyway. ??

  2. Amy says

    This is really good and all so TRUE. You really are an inspiration to me! 2016 is the year I’ve really embraced working out, signing up to Virgin and working my way through every single one of their classes. I love spin, zumba, pilates, yoga and barre and am looking to add body pump with weights and boxing when I get a bit fitter. My body is changing so much and for the better and the numbers are not really changing at all. What’s helped me is just weighing myself once a month once on the fancy gym scales and watching my muscle percentage get bigger and bigger. And I’m trying to focus on getting strong and improving my fibromyalgia and, in all honesty, feeling happier as it’s really helping my mood in general. And it’s working and I love it!

  3. Abbi says

    Love this post! I’ve been seeing a PT for a while too and she’s definitely worth it.

    Also, I HATE it when people say food is good or bad, it’s just food ffs. Labeling it as bad just leads to guilt trips if you have a little bit of chocolate or something. Urgh.


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