Sweating it out in the gym

Our sports ed pledges to get into shape

The Knowledge

Benita Adesuyan has joined the gym. She’s just got one little problem to sort out.

I’ve signed up for the gym. Like many people before me in Dubai, I’ve decided it’s time to get back in to some kind of shape, after enjoying too many brunches and trying every new restaurant and local shawarma spot in town.

I never used to like gyms. I always preferred to do team sports to keep fit rather than make like a hamster on a treadmill. Trouble is, my local fitness centre is so guilt-inducingly close to home, I couldn’t put my head down and walk past it anymore.

Making the most of my membership and the free kit bag and T-shirt (I’m a sucker for freebies) I’ve been dutifully going to classes and think I’ve found a new favourite in muay Thai kickboxing. There’s something about kicking away at those pads that really seems to help me get rid of tension.

There’s just one big problem.

I’ve realised I’m a serious sweater, a champion sweater at that. I just don’t do ‘pretty’ in the gym. I work out ugly. My hair’s all over the place and I’m sweating like an ice-cream in the desert.

I find it bewildering how I can look like I’ve been flushed down the loo after the warm-up, while other ladies look as fresh as a daisy right through to the end – standing there clapping at the end of session while I’m keeling over about to expire.

In the changing room I bumped into one such ‘pretty’ with a full face of make-up, who looked more like she was about to go for a night out than a workout. I reasoned that she couldn’t possibly be going to a class – she must have finished her session and was getting ready to go out.

But no. There she was two minutes later box-stepping at the front of the Zumba session, with barely a bead of sweat on her.

They say women don’t sweat, they glow – I say those glowing aren’t working hard enough, and they certainly haven’t signed up for muay Thai with a man I like to call ‘Sergeant Major’.

Sergeant Major was, I’m certain of it, in the military because his commands to ‘keep your guard up’ have put fear into the hearts of grown men. One of my fellow sweaters in the class failed to heed Sergeant Major’s instructions, so he barked: ‘Oi you, put your guard up, you in the back – guard up!’ I’ve never seen a pair of hands cover someone’s face so quickly.

I’ve tried quite a few of the different classes and some only seem to act as a reminder of how out of shape I am – the suspension class very nearly killed me and every muscle in my body begged me to stop. But only my innate sense of pride (and guilt about all those shawarmas) stopped me from quitting after the first five minutes.

So even though Sergeant Major puts the fear into me, and I dare not lower my hands, I literally get a kick out of kicking those pads. The Pretties can keep their dance classes – bring on the sweat!

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