January is a pretty shitty month; in fact it often gets renamed into Dryathlon. Either because people are giving up alcohol (which, by the by, isn’t all that beneficial for you) or because January is going through menopause and has DVS – one of the two. But people like to see the best in January; many see it as an opportunity for a fresh start. You know, a way of putting behind them all the mistakes of 2012, and what better way of doing that, than by getting some New Year’s Resolutions.
New Year’s Resolutions, are basically passive aggressive ways of telling yourself that you failed last year. In 2012 you were too fat, like super fat, and you drank too much, so tighten up and get on a detox and hit the gym.
I’m sure other people have other resolutions, like getting promoted at work, or spending more time with their kids, but I’m a twenty-something and all I can see on my Facebook is statuses like:
Gawd, just worked out SO hard! The gym is going to kill me tomorrow! (Um, quick tip, don’t go to the gym asshole.)
Man it’s not even 9am and I’ve already been to the gym, cooked an egg white omelette, saved a kitten from AIDs and done 50 more reps. Can’t wait to go to the gym this afternoon. (Um, quick tip, when you’re at the gym, please die.)
I’m not sure if it’s come across yet, but all this talk of going on diets and hitting the gym is really annoying. Why? Because I’m a follower. I’m the person who always gives into peer pressure, the whole reason I’ve been looking like a lesbian (is that offensive?) for the past two years is because someone suggested I cut my hair short on a whim while passing the hairdressers. I mean if I was a little cooler and hung around with people who were into drugs (not that drugs are cool) then I would be on crack by now.
So when I see all these statuses about getting healthy, it irritates me because then I think that maybe I should get healthy too. Not by going on a diet, because that stuff is just soooooo early 2000’s. But through the new craze of becoming a gym buddy. The gym is the new church, where you can worship your own body as if every time you looked in a mirror you magically turned into David Bowie. Only gyms cost money, like, monthly money. And when you get in them, you feel a bit like you’re a spectacle, like you’re trying to lose weight and get fit. Looking as if you’re trying, as the apathetic hipster culture will tell you, is never a good thing. Because when you fail, people know you’ve failed. If you just go through life looking like you’re just trying things out with a casual indifferent curiosity, you’re then able after three months, when you’ve still got your spare tire, to laugh it off with a well I haven’t really tried to lose it. The connotations of this being that if you were to try, then you would look like Kate Upton in two weeks flat.
So in an effort to be aloof and casual with my unwilling mission of getting in shape, I decided to try out climbing. The old boyfriend is already into climbing, and unfortunately for me, lives in one of those houses were everyone likes to bond over physical extrusion. I just happened to be hanging out at his when his house mates suggested a quick trip to the climbing walls of Leeds’ Climbing Depot.
“Um… sounds fun?” I said before putting my feet into some damp climbing shoes.
Climbing is a bizarre sport. When you get into the Climbing Depot you instantly feel that you’re in some kind of adult play pen, with its colourful grips on the walls and its springy floor. Yet while as a child, a play pen required no more physical strength than being able to propel yourself on the swing set, this new playing apparatus requires, like, actual strength. People dangled of the walls as if they were the by product of an unfortunate drunken night with a Gorilla. There were people who could support their entire body weight through their fingers – I didn’t even know people had finger muscles.
My concerns of whether or not I belonged in this place started to peak when I was asked to sign a waiver that said the Depot would not be held responsible if I got injured… or died. The mention of death, I find, is never a great encouragement for any sport. But since I already had my feet bathing in another person’s sweat, I thought life couldn’t get any worse, so I signed that waiver and attacked my first wall.
On my first wall, I was reaching up for climbing greatness. You do this by climbing, duh, up to the top of a wall, putting both hands on the top grip… and then you come down. This, at first, wasn’t too challenging. Maybe because I was only using the green grips (the noob grips) or maybe because at 5’8 my height helped win half the battle of getting up high.
Then things got hard. I got tired… my arms hurt… my fingers hurt… and suddenly even the noob grips were becoming a little bit too challenging. I was told to do a twist grab on things (is that, like a dance move, or something?) or switch my foot on the grips with a hop (who hops at a height?). Within an hour and a half, I found that I was incapable of doing anything other than lying on the bouncing floor and listeing to the killer soundtrack that the Depot provided (Doomsday by Nero summed up a lot of feelings).
At the end of the evening when asked how I found my first climbing outing, I held up one clawed hand and grinned. It was fun. I had exercised in a way that didn’t leave me feeling bored off my tits while cycling on a bike that didn’t move.
“Just make sure you remember to stretch,” my boyfriend told me.
“Too tired to stretch, I’ll do it later.”
Word of warning of kids, if you find yourself dangling of climbing walls in an attempt to make January a little more bearable, take my boyfriend’s advice to heart and stretch once you’re finished. I say this because I’m typing this blog with a stick between my teeth, poking at the keys like a locked-in syndrome patient. I haven’t used my upper body in two days…
“I told you to stretch, you baby.”
All hilarious .gifs are from tumblr and I had no part in creating their genius. The climbing pictures are from http://www.theclimbingdepot.co.uk