Actually, I joined a gym five months ago now. What can I say, something about the looming 28th birthday must have spurred me into action. I spent my whole life until 24 eating whatever the hell I wanted and not gaining a micogram. Seriously, I used to eat fried lunches every day simply because I could. I never skipped desert when eating out and baptised all my cake in baths of double cream. Just because I frickin' could! Thems was the days!
But to my own shock and horror it occurred to me that these happy circumstances might not continue forever, after turning 25 and the appearance of everyone's best friend, cellulite. Especially since fitting into the first pair of jeans I ever bought in Athens is now nothing but a distant dream. I couldn't even get half a butt cheek into them any more, so I got rid of them, by the way, lest they make me feel bad about myself.
I decided to join the nearest gym I could find, knowing myself to be much too lazy to take a bus trip to a cheaper one, and all sorts of hilarity ensued. "I'm interested in your evening classes" I exclaimed, innocent still of what was to follow.
The trainer looked me up and down. "Have you been to a gym before?" he asked.
"You might not survive the classes then."
Day one and the trainer took me around the equipment and made me do a few sets of exercises on the various machines. Yes, I was so unfit I actually had to be prepped for about a month before they made me a programme.
It didn't go too badly until we got onto doing leg curls. I tried one. "Oh God!" I wailed "I can't do this! Can you take some more weight off? I'm dying!"
The trainer said "Um... there aren't any weights on there. You're just working with the weight of the machine." Feeling like my thighs would snap off and slide down my knees, I persevered.
At the end of session one, the trainer warned me I might feel sore the next morning. I did feel a little sore the following day but nothing I couldn't handle, I thought valiantly, envisioning being able to crack open walnuts with my thighs in a week's time. Session two went much like session one. And the next morning I felt like every muscle in my body had been lovingly bathed in acid all night.
The pain! I thought I would never walk again. And yet I had to still keep going to the gym in order to stop it getting worse. I wondered when I stopped loving myself enough to voluntarily inflict so much suffering on my poor body.
Anyway, that was a good few months ago and believe it or not, I love the gym now. Here are some interesting things I have observed about my local Athenian gym (though it's not like I ever went to another one in the UK to be able to compare):
1. The serious people go in the morning. That's when you'll find me too, but only because I know if I leave it the rest of the day I will talk myself out of exercising
2. People bring their toddlers with them! I've seen this more than once. If you tried that in the UK someone would come screaming at you with a Health and Safety manual.
3. The beefcakes go in the evening and hog all the machines and make constipated sounds
4. The chicks hunting for beefcakes go in the evening too, with perfect hair and makeup. They consistently fail to work up a sweat. I admire their determination for beefcake baiting - gyms are expensive to join.
5. The male trainers are much easier on you than the female ones. But the female ones are much more understanding of what you want to achieve and determined to get you there dead or alive. Most likely dead in my case.
So there you have it. I can add "Joining a gym and following a gym programme in Greek" to my list of things I have achieved in my continuing, ever expanding adventure of life in Greece.