Tag Archive | sports

A Month at the Gym: Is the Gym Really Worth It?

I was sooo lucky that my boss gifted me with a month’s free pass to…… not just any gym, but THE BEST, the most expensive gym in Malaga.

And was it worth it?

Well, here is my experience.

I’d never signed up to a gym before. I might have tried out a month here or there at some point in my life, but always at cheap gyms that didn’t have very much to offer, maybe a couple of classes, lots of weight lifting apparatuses and that was pretty much it. So I got bored very quickly.

But the gym my boss gifted me to was, not just any gym, but the O2 Gym, or Oxygen Wellness Centre gym chain, which was started in India over a decade ago and is, in my opinion, the best gym I have ever seen.

O2 Wellness Centre

O2 gyms combine traditional gym equipment and activities, such as weightlifting apparatuses, static bikes, running machines etc., with more alternative options such as yoga, pilates and TRX.

The gym in my city, in particular, offers a greater variety of classes than any other fitness centre that I’ve ever visited. Here is just a selection of some of the activities you can take part in:

  • aerolatin dance
  • zumba
  • step
  • aerobics
  • TRX
  • cycling
  • calisthenics
  • body balance
  • combat
  • boxing
  • circuit training
  • fitball
  • abs-gluts-legs
  • Spartans
  • Tai-Chi
  • yoga
  • pilates
  • crosstraining

As well as a whole bunch of water sports, and not just the typical swim classes you would expect, either.

In fact, O2 Gym is one of the very few sports centres in Malaga that even offer a swimming pool at all.

My ex just happened to sign my youngest son up to this gym for swim classes, because he has scoliosis (a twisted backbone) and the doctor recommended it. The centre is quite close to my ex’s home, but it’s a bit of a walk from my house.

If you happen to live in Malaga, the O2 Wellness Centre is near the Vialia shopping centre, which also houses the train station.

In addition to ALL those marvellous and exciting activities, the gym also offers a full and complete spa centre and jacuzzi.

The spa centre includes 4 different pools with varying water temperatures, water massages, a sauna and a Turkish bath.

I tried out most of the apparatuses, except the running machine. As I watched people working out on the running machines, I thought, gee your lives must be pretty pathetic if you have to come to the gym in order to get the chance to run haha!

Okay, maybe that’s a bit mean of me. But, I mean, I’m running the whole day long every day. I do NOT need a machine to get all worn out running just living my life every day.

I thought the machines were just fine. They were state-of-the-art, with plasma screens in front of you telling you all different stats like how fast your heart is beating or how many minutes you’ve been running/rowing/cycling or how far you’ve run/walked/cycled/rowed. But, let’s face it. These are fairly boring, redundant, monotonous activities.

Fortunately, there is a huge panel with a row of plasma TV screens in front of you, where you can watch every public TV channel available.

I took part in a few classes. The classes are very well spaced out, and most activities are offered 3 times a day during various time periods, morning, noon and evening so, unlike in most other gyms, they are well adapted to most people no matter what their work/study schedule is like.

I enjoyed classes such as zumba and step. However, since I’m anaemic, I don’t really feel I was able to get the most out of these activities.

In addition to which, most of them consisted of choreographies that had already been set up at the beginning of the school year, and which students had been learning for several months already. So if you arrive new in December, like me, everyone already knows the steps except you.

Which makes you get left behind. Since, of course, they are not going to teach all the steps again just for you.

I would have perhaps preferred it if in every class they invented new, easy to learn choreographies, since these are classes where new people are always joining. But since that was not the case, well, I felt a bit left behind.

In the end I ended up going mostly to pilates and yoga classes.

I’d practised yoga pretty much most of my life, ever since I discovered a yoga book when I was just 12 years old and set to work learning all the exercises and routines in the book. However, I’d never actually been to a yoga class before.

I found that, perhaps thanks to the fact that I’ve practised yoga at home all my life, I found myself adapting easily to the yoga and pilates exercises, and taking to them like a fish to water, even though I’d never gone to a yoga class before and had never taken pilates.

And of course, as always happens when you find something easy enough to do that you don’t get discouraged or tired, but with just that added amount of difficulty to keep you challenged, these were the classes I ended up relishing the most.

There were still a ton of activities I didn’t try out. Some because they simply didn’t appeal to me, such as boxing or weightlifting.

And others because the hours when these classes took place simply didn’t combine well with other classes that I was interested in. Because, after all, I wasn’t going to spend the whole day at the gym, just so I could try out more classes, was I?

In addition to which, going to the gym is tiring!

So it’s not like it’s something you want to be doing the whole day long!

But I do have to admit that I LOVE going to the gym. I don’t feel lazy at all about working out. I love it.

What I did feel lazy about was having to put up with the excess of walking I had to carry out every day in order to get to the gym. I felt I got more aerobic exercise just walking to the sports centre than I could have at any class there.

My life changed the day I checked out the spa.

Okay, perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But I am a person who LOVES, LOVES LOVES bathing in water.

And it’s true, during the summertime we do get to go to the swimming pool.

But it’s not the same. The swimming pool, even on the hottest day, is never quite hot enough for always freezing cold little me.

Nope. I’m the kind who only enjoys almost scalding hot water. Like the kind you can get in your bathtub. But we don’t have a bathtub.

So the spa is pretty much the only place I can go to get a truly HOT bath.

The spa at the gym includes 4 pools with different water temperatures. I enjoy using the one that is 32ºC to chill out in. It has several different types of water massages and waterfalls.

I don’t particularly like the water massages. I think they’re too hard. And I’m soft and delicate haha.

But I do like that it has steps at different depths, so you can sit with the water at the level that you like. This would have been a great pool to bring my kiddies to, except I couldn’t because they don’t have an entrance ticket to the gym.

My favourite pool is the one heated to 35º. For me it’s a most comfortable temperature. Relaxing, but at the same time not cool enough to give you shivers. Apparently, most people seem to agree with me, because this appears to be the most popular pool and there are always a bunch of people hanging out in it.

There’s a tiny “frigidarium” whose water is only 18º. I don’t know how anyone can have a good time in it. For me, personally, freezing to death is not my idea of a good time but at any rate, to each his own. A few people do actually seem to enjoy it.

For me, the most awesome pool is the hot pool at 37º. If it were up to me, I’d spend my whole life in that pool! Seriously. It is THAT. GOOD!

I would prefer it over the 35º pool, but after I’ve been in it for a while, it makes me sleepy. Which, I suppose, on the other hand, is probably its objective anyway.

But since I later have a long trek home, I don’t want to fall asleep haha.

So, have I noticed any effects or improvements after a month of going to the gym almost every day?

Well, I didn’t weigh myself before beginning. I cringe at the idea of even coming close to a scale anyway.

I don’t think I look any fitter, more toned or more slender now than I did one month ago.

However, I do feel stronger and more flexible. I can do things I couldn’t do before, such as stand up from a lying position without using my hands. Or climb up several flights of stairs without getting tired and breathless.

And speaking of stairs, in this gym in particular, as soon as you enter, there is an enormous flight of stairs that covers one and a half storeys from the ground floor to the first floor. There is also an elevator you can take, if climbing stairs is not your thing.

And it did make me wonder, how is everyone supposed to be able to negotiate such a tall flight of stairs without getting tired?

But then, I thought. You probably wouldn’t expect to find a lot of unfit, unhealthy couch potatoes at a gym. Most people who frequent a sports centre would probably have no difficulties climbing one and a half floors without getting winded.

So there you have it, couch potatoes. If you’d like to be able to climb stairs as if you weighed the same as a feather, sign up to a gym!

So after one month, do I think a gym is worth it?

You bet!

And even if outdoors activities is more your cup of tea, if you’re a weekend athlete, going to the gym on weekdays will still help you be able to carry out your weekend hiking, biking or marathon activities with greater ease.

So, here are a couple of factual facts. If you are in Malaga, you can find the O2 Wellness Centre at calle Plaza de Toros Vieja, number 5.

It’s just a couple of blocks from the Vialia shopping centre. Walk down calle Salitre and turn to your right at the second street after leaving Vialia.

The all-inclusive pass costs (as of this writing) 59.40 euros if you pay monthly, but they do offer special prices and discounted rates.

And while you’re here, could I beguile you with a few book ideas? It’s great to improve your health, but just as fantastic to cultivate your mind. And what better way to do it than with a few psychological thrillers? If you like reading (or even if you don’t usually read, but you do like something that gets your heart rate going), why don’t you check out my creepy, scary, suspenseful novels here, at: Thrillers by Moi.

So how about you? Have you ever been to a gym or a spa? What has been your experience? Do share. I LURRRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments!

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

A Hike in the Rain in the Montes of Malaga

Kayaking in a Storm in Nerja

The Carratraca Trail And a Water Party

Spanish Beaches

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Kayaking in a Storm in Nerja

Well we have had such a hectic summer that I don’t even know where to begin talking about it! Well let’s begin with the most torturous, nerve-racking event of the season: KAYAKING IN A STORM!

The promotional photos show a bunch of very happy people swimming about in a lagoon with perfectly still waters. The water is crystal clear and deep green. There’s not a ripple on the surface of the water. In the background you can see a waterfall.

In real life? Ah yes in real life!

Before Rowing at Nerja

Ah yes how happy and totally unsuspecting was my son. Upon arrival at Nerja. You can see a few storm clouds gathering in the distance but meh, nothing to worry about. Right? (Sorry I fuzzed out his photo but he’s still underage!)

At first when we arrived, it all looked pretty neat and normal. The instructor taught us how to handle a kayak and oars. Easy peasy. We put on our lovely crimson life jackets. Pay attention to those life jackets, in a storm they can save your life haha.

Before Group Photo

Don’t we look happy in this happy Before photo? I always say, I’m the pasty white shortie at the end next to “Ermenegildo”, the one all dressed in white. I don’t think I’d qualify for Baywatch. Now, those tall, shapely, tanned things in bikini on the other side, on the other hand……..

Well at any rate there is no way I would ever jump into a kayak in the middle of the sea without a life jacket.

As we pushed out into the ocean, the water was a bit rough, but nothing we couldn’t handle. Waves kept crashing over the kayak and submerging it under the water. I was terrified!

But we soon discovered that kayaks are built to be practically unsinkable. No matter how enormous the waves or how many crashed over the kayak, the kayak always comes floating back up again. And it won’t capsize either. So you can ride out tranquilly.

Kayaking

You can see the storm clouds starting to gather in the corner.

We began the route but the sea just got rougher and rougher. A tour through some underground caverns underneath the Caves of Nerja is usually included in this route, but the day we went, the sea was so enraged we couldn’t enter the caverns, because the waves were too strong and big and high.

Calm Swimming

We did make it to some sort of sheltered enclosure where we could jump out of the kayaks and swim around a bit. After that the monitor guided us on a fun obstacle course where we had to manoeuvre our way through some very narrow channels between tall rocks. That was easy and a lot of fun. The sea there was calm, and there was no hurry.

(Although the instructor took a photo of us doing this, I didn’t include it here because I think I look like a fat frog.)

At this point, however, a rollicking storm rolled in and we were forced to head back without finishing the route. It was a good thing we didn’t continue, because we had our hands full then trying to avoid getting dragged across the strait to Africa!

No more photos from here on, of course. The instructor had his hands full just trying to prevent us all from getting dragged to Africa!

So huge enormous waves were crashing all over the kayak all the time. The sea kept trying to pull us towards Africa and we had to row very very fast just to avoid getting dragged out to the open sea. No matter how fast we rowed, the kayak kept getting tossed about where we didn’t want to go. This was NOT what we’d bargained for when we signed up! Where was the calm lagoon and the crystal clear water? All we had were deep dark turbulent waves!

After about five hours of arduous rowing we finally made it back to the beach. As if we weren’t already exhausted enough, the instructor then made us jump out of the kayak a certain distance from the shore, because they couldn’t drag the kayak to shore with us in it!

I leapt out and immediately got pushed under the water, because the water was sooo deep I couldn’t touch the bottom! Good thing I had the life jacket on. Although on the other hand there was no way I was going to jump into deep, rough waves without a life jacket I can assure you!

After we swam to shore, if it had been up to me I would’ve just hurled myself down onto the sand and lain there for three years! However, since no one else did that and everyone else had the stamina to finish the activity with dignity, I wasn’t going to be any less than anyone else haha!

But as soon as we returned the oars and life jackets, I grabbed my son “Ermenegildo” and dove onto a beach wall and vegged out there for about half an hour, because my head kept spinning round and round.

When I’d recovered enough to walk around without falling down, we went to pick up the photos from the instructor. Then we ate the sandwiches I’d brought with us.

Then, unbelievable though it might seem, given that it was still cold and stormy (highly unusual weather in the middle of a southern Spanish summer) and a strong wind was still blowing and we were freezing to death since we were all wet because I hadn’t brought a change of clothing (I thought it was going to be hot and sunny and we’d dry right off), in spite of that we had an ice cream! Yes we are crazy!

Then we had a beautiful relaxed stroll back along the seaside promenade. My son bought some souvenirs (ie. had me buy him some souvenirs). Well Nerja’s pretty famous. It’s a lovely town and well worth the bother of visiting it. And of course, you can get souvenirs there.

Storm Clouds Over Nerja

Nothing spectacular about this anodyne photo. Just wanted to show the highly unusual view of storm clouds over Nerja, something you would probably not often get a chance to behold.

After that, idling our way back up towards the historic town, we lucked upon THE MOST DELICIOUS, DELECTABLE Indian restaurant I have ever visited. It’s called Masala House, if you happen to be in Nerja and you would like to try it out. Best prices I have ever seen here in the south of Spain!

You can find it on the winding road that winds down to Playa Burriana.

We picked our way back up to the historic centre and from there to the highway to take the bus back to Malaga. The bus driver had the great good fortune to count on air conditioning in the bus and he turned it up to Super High, and we were still wet, so we had a miserable, freezing cold ride back to Malaga.

Fortunately, we had a hot shower waiting for us back home haha.

We went on the kayak tour with Educare Aventura (no affiliate link and this is not a sponsored post), 600.62.00.54, www.educareaventura.com (where you will see the happy photos of happy shining people swimming in lagoons as still as a millpond). The kayaking activity costs 20 euros per person (children pay less but I assure you, a child will not be able to carry out the activity in a storm!). They have several outings a day during the summer, both morning and afternoon. Less in the winter.

Their office is located at the far end of Playa Burriana, if you are walking to the beach from the centre of Nerja. Just keep crossing the beach all the way to the end. You’ll recognize them because they have some sails out front.

They have lockers for you to leave your bags so you don’t have to bring them on the kayaks. You can also leave your valuables with the wonderful girls at the desk. There’s a changing room too. Of course, since I didn’t bring a change of clothes, we didn’t avail of it. I’d recommend you bring a change of clothes if you are expecting a storm haha. (If you are not you can just dry yourselves in the sun.)

Kayaking photo credits to Marcel, our instructor at Educare Aventura. The rest of the photos are, as usual, mine.

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

Malaga in Winter: Mexican Flame Vines

Caves of Nerja

The Carratraca Trail And a Water Party

HARROWING – New Thriller Up For Sale on Amazon!