And the nostalgia juggernaut rolls ever onwards. Unintentionally waking at 6am this morning, I had time to acclimatise to being awake before the sunrise. I was heading out at 7am to visit the gym with Mum. Throughout my teen years, starting at age 14, mum and I used to go to the gym at 5.30am before school. Les Mills, home of the world renown fitness classes, opened by former Commonwealth Games athlete and Auckland Mayor of the same name (Les Mills, obv). It was always well ahead of the curve on fitness advancements, a great gym with a solid reputation. I talked to the woman at reception about coming in on a guest pass with Mum. “Have you ever been a member before?” She asked. “Maybe ten years ago” I replied. I somehow remembered my old membership number. She pulled up my old file to find a photo of 14 year old me staring back at her. Clearly it had been some time. My Mum, on the other hand, bought a lifetime membership for $1000 back in the 80s. Given that their annual membership these days is $1000+, I think she’s gotten her money worth over the past 30 or so years.
The gym had and hadn’t changed. The structure was fundamentally the same (with a few additions).The layout had held fast, but almost all the equipment had been majorly upgraded. Much nicer than the gyms back home. They’d renovated and turned the random circuit room into a dedicated HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) room, with battle ropes, wallball targets, pull up scaffolding and exciting new notch-in barbells. There was an upgraded boxing gym and dedicated Crossfit gym. Everything seemed top of the line.
Aside from the virtually identical basic layout, the gym had a really great vibe. Being post holidays but not too busy (during what would usually be close to morning rush hour), everyone could use whichever machines/weights they wanted. I didn’t have to wait for a single piece of equipment. Gym goers were relaxed, friendly. A ton of people knew each other and would high five or hug, greeting again after having gone away for the holidays. It was a warm atmosphere, a feeling I hadn’t felt in a gym for quite some time. I met a personal trainer I worked with when I’d just started. He was with a client and I felt bad for interrupting to say hi, but she never seemed remotely bothered we were chatting through a session she’d paid for.
I got to have an excellent workout, while still buzzing a little bit from having returned to a place where I’d spent a bunch of time in years past. My Farmer’s Walk down memory lane was welcome in the sense that I had a great time. Less welcome in the sense that it was hard work, ever the problem with gyms. If I was sticking around this side of the world I probably would’ve rejoined without much of a push. Or a push up, for that matter.