With a few lovely exceptions, this has usually been A Bad Thing. An exlusive, alienating, dis-heartening thing that makes my jaw ache from all the gnashing and teeth clenching.
So today, I rocked up to a new gym I've found near work for a Body Pump class. They do casual visits so I can go and get the motivation and intensity I love from a class, without having to hand over my grocery money every week. I was quite psyched about starting this new class, so much so that I forgot about my weird genetic quirk that means I will always be the New Kid. Until, that is, I arrived 5 minutes late to class, finding the room jam-packed with hard-bodied ladies all moving in perfect unison. Shit!
First, I realised I was the pudgy-est girl in the room. Always fun. Then, I realised I would have to sidle my way past about 10 people to collect the weight bar, hand weights and step bench I would need.
Then, a miracle occured! The instructor noticed me dithering in the back corner, and gave me a friendly hello, then asked, "Can we set her up girls?". Two or three of the ladies proceeded to break routine, fetch the piece of equipment nearest them and bring it over to me. One even set my step bench up for me while I grabbed a bar. They smiled at me and waved off my delighted thank you. I just about fainted from shock!
Then, throughout the workout, the instructor would check in quickly to make sure I was familiar with the moves. Luckily I was a regular Pumper back in my 20's, and it all came back to me, so I didn't disgrace myself. Actually, I kept pace and did the whole class! Of course, now I am currently typing with my nose, as all my other muscles hurt to even think about.
I don't know if it the difference between this experience and 99% of the other experiences I've had with gyms and exercise groups is just luck, but I do know that this class and my Wednesday group (remember, the Council-run Fitness Group) are of the non-trendy, don't advertise on TV or sell their own branded merchandise gym varieties, and they are both on the Gold Coast, my hometown and pretty well-known for being laid-back and friendly. Any which way, I'll take it!