Losing Your #VirGYMnity (and Making that First Time Special)

This isn’t an easy thing for people to discuss – in fact, it’s quite personal. It’s simply a fact of life that not all of us have popped our cherries yet, and I, a 23 year old university student, am no exception. Or was no exception. It may surprise you to find that only 14.9% of the UK population are members of a gym. That’s a lot of virgyms… which is sad, but altogether quite comforting, no? However, it doesn’t have to be this way – and I have bravely decided to relay my first time for the purpose of this blog, with the hope that more of you virgyms will finally take that first step towards finding true pleasure… through getting physical.

Let's get physical ;) Credit: GIPHY

Let’s get physical 😉 Credit: GIPHY


My First Time

It all started one September evening when I (passively) reiterated how, given my age, I really needed to start going to the gym, something I said all too often but never followed through with. What can I say? It’s a big step. I was so scared to expose myself in such a vulnerable way. My mate, Lauren, presumably having grown tired of my ‘all talk, no action’ approach, replied “Okay then, 9 o’clock tomorrow.” Oh.

Source: GIPHY

Credit: GIPHY



The time has come. Credit: (Author’s own)

The jig was up. There was nowhere to hide. This was happening. Like… really. I knew this had to finally happen- and honestly, I was ready. I prepared myself mentally, and made a plan with my friend – my current focus is not to build muscle, so our planned routine was cardiovascular workouts only, thanks (gotta burn off all those Just Eat orders). But the fear was creeping in, and the closer we got to the Fitness Suite, the more I was imagining all those stereotypical gym cliques staring me down… you know – the gains bros, the slim snobs etc.

But the anxiety I felt was completely unnecessary, and Health Cheat Sheet explains pretty well how you can manage this anxiety for yourself.



The workout begins! Credit: Lauren McKnight

So, kitted out in my Sports Direct apparel, I made my way into the Fitness Suite. It was a total anti-climax – but in the best way! Nowhere did I see these cliques I was so fearful of in the past. In fact, my entrance remained unnoticed, which I’d be thoroughly offended by if I wasn’t so happy about it. We went for the cross trainer first, which has several adjustable settings including speed and incline/decline (and you can watch TV on some of these things!) – all of which can be learned about on the gym induction webpage. Also, music lovers! Spotify and Apple Music have a selection of gym-appropriate playlists that you can sweat it out to.


A Little Pain

Things are starting to get a little sweaty now. Credit: Author’s own & Lauren McKnight

I’m sure you’re all aware of this, but a little pain is expected – especially during your first time. It was at this point that I decided I wanted to get the most out of my time here, and I started pushing myself, adjusting the treadmill (which I’d now moved to) to a higher setting. I found at this point that I was starting to feel especially good, and the thrill I got out of exercising seemed to coincide with the rhythmic pounding of Kendrick Lamar’s ‘HUMBLE’ (which was playing on my Apple Music). I’m not gonna lie, I was proper getting into this (and drinking quite a lot of water).



Workout, complete! Time for class. Credit: Lauren McKnight

I’d finished, and it was glorious! Well, actually I was rudely interrupted by the fact that I had a half an hour to get ready for my next lecture – but that’s besides the point. All in all, I had a really great experience at the gym, to my surprise. There was a very big difference between my perception of the sporting facilities and the actual reality – so I encourage anyone who’s any way hesitant (like I once was) to give it a go! Join with a friend, contact a member of staff for some support, or even join something else within the sports union! The possibilities are endless. Choose what works for you – just make sure your first time is special like mine was!

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