Dear Diary...when I first moved to Swindon in Wiltshire in 1987, I'd just got married for the second time and left all the people I knew behind in Bristol. The only friends I had were my husband's which was fine, but I really wanted to find my own way and meet new pals. I was also determined more than anything else that I wanted to get fit.
At first driving around Swindon was difficult as I didn't know the area too well, apart from the bus routes that I followed to get into town from where we were living, everyone found it ludicrously funny and kept asking me if I picked anyone up at the stops.Ha! Ha! Very funny. But eventually with hubby's help I was able to map out some of the best places to look for classes to attend.
It did take quite a few months from the time we settled in to our new home for me to pluck up the courage to find a class because of my many hangups about my body and of not feeling comfortable doing exercise around new people, but one day I pulled myself together and took the plunge setting out on my own.
I'd heard of a workout, dance aerobics class called Jazzercise, going on in a Sports Center in a small village called Highworth which was just the other side of Swindon. They had a big hall just off the entrance and also an outdoor swimming pool at the back, which I had used in the Summer months, but I don't think it was open during the Winter. The reason I knew of this Center was because my new husband lived in Highworth before we were married.
I remember that first time I walked in on the Jazzercise class, it was like no other I'd ever experienced before and felt so unfamiliar, I was hardly prepared for what we were about to do in my bare feet. At my previous address in Bristol all I'd ever done was gentle movement at our local church hall, but I soon realized that doing this kind of workout in bare feet was definitely not on, so I had to invest in a pair of cheap trainers.
The hall was filled to capacity and I had to admit to feeling lost among the many women, but even though I found it hard to keep up with the movements that were fast changing – leaving me feeling like I had to be on the ball constantly. All in all I enjoyed the first experience and couldn't wait to go back for more.
I did go each week, but would always stand at the back of the class so I could follow other women. The teacher who I admired greatly always kept the tempo going and lifted our spirits which left the hour flying by.
I have to admit that I wished there was a class closer when one day our car broke down and it was too faraway to get the bus. Staying in watching television and missing a week really depressed me, so now I decided it was time to look around for something closer to home.
Some weeks went by and I did find a new class to attend called Popmobility, it was fast, furious and fun, but I wasn't satisfied with just the one session and was eager for more.
Finally I came across a class that fitted in perfectly with what I wanted to achieve. I think it was either a Monday or Wednesday night, as I drove to the local school where the class was to be held.
Leaving the car and walking across the parking area, I remember suddenly having feelings of panic, I just wanted to go home, but that would be defeating the whole point of why I was here. My biggest worry was that at this new venue the people wouldn't be friendly or accepting of me, but I needed to give it a try if only once.
I made my way in through the main entrance. I could hear talking as I approached some double doors, so decided it was the right place. With my skeptic head on convinced I was making a big mistake in coming, I entered the hall – once again on my own.
It was kind of daunting, there were so many women all looking extremely fit, some looked like they'd just stepped off the fitness catwalk modeling the latest fashion in leotards, but the teacher was friendly and told me not to worry if I didn't get the moves straight away.
She gave me a form to fill in asking if I had any health issues that she should be aware of. I was really impressed as this was the first time a teacher had asked about my health, but of course I was fine. She seemed quite pleased I was there, telling me to find a space with enough room to move around.
I'd bought a towel with me, but noticed that the teacher supplied mats which I was also very grateful for, towels are not really the best material for your back when you are doing floor work.
I wouldn't remove my tea shirt throughout the class, I was too embarrassed about my figure with all its bulges, these other women were putting me to shame. So as the class began warming up and stretching I felt okay, but as we began to work up a sweat I was dying to remove my top but still I continued on, I think that must have helped me loose weight just on its own with all the perspiring I was doing, it left me glowing and looking like a tomato wondering when we were going to cool down.
It was pretty hard to keep up with the others that had been going to the class for ages, but after a while I was having such a good time that I completely forgot about any inhibitions I'd been having, wondering what the hell I was so worried about.
I left the class that night on a high with all the smiles, the whooping and hollering from teacher, she instilled in me that there was fun to be had from a good workout, it wasn't just about the body, but the mind and spirit too. When I got home I couldn't wait to tell hubby all about the class, probably driving him mad chatting on for ages about that evening. Luckily for me he was a very patient man.
After many weeks and months, I finally started to get the grasp of the routines which I never got bored of doing, I would always be on a high when I left and couldn't wait for the next class. The weeks seemed to drag by as I anticipated my next workout that kept my adrenalin going, with fantastic music I wanted more – more! Yes...I was hooked.
I found the one class a week just wasn't enough for this girl as I got fitter, but the teacher only taught that one class a week. So then I decided to visit the local Oasis Leisure Center, where there was regular aerobics – swimming and a gym, here I would put myself through a physical workout twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday, of an hour of aerobics, then thirty minutes of gym, plus thirty minutes swim with my young son, who would play in the creche while Mum was doing her thing. It was working out perfectly for me, soon my figure was morphing into a body I could be proud of.
To be continued...