A new gym – rheumatoid arthritis and exercise



People have questioned why I was still going to my old gym, given that it’s a 15 minute drive now.  The reason is simple – I like it there.

I have zero confidence, and I’m intimidated by gyms.  The people at my old gym are friendly…or they were until recently.

I’m comfortable with all the equipment, I know where everything is.

They run 30 minute classes during the day, which few gyms do.  I cant do the hour long classes anymore, 30 minutes is perfect.


They run ‘rehab’ classes, all about functional movement, which can be as gentle or as intense as I choose.

They have great instructors who are positive, funny and encouraging.

They know me there, and my health issues.  If I have an anaphylactic attack, if I leave a class half way, if I walk in and walk out ten minutes later, if I need to sit down on the couch for a while, they don’t bat an eyelid. They leave me be.  They know I know what I’m doing, and that I can take care of myself.

They don’t give me weight loss advice.

Did I mention I’m comfortable there. I’ve been going there for around 8 years.  It’s a huge part of my life.  It’s my happy place.

Or it was.

The cold hard bitch who dumped me after the hysterectomy goes there.  I managed to avoid her for six months. NEVER saw her. But in the last few weeks, she’s started showing up when I’m there.  Massive co-incidence, right?

I hate her. I’m terrified of her. I know she’s capable of extreme cruelty and she’s a trigger for me.

I tried to avoid her.  That didn’t work.  I was told she wasn’t a member anymore, but clearly that information was incorrect.  Seeing her causes me intense stress, and I’m sure she’d be thrilled to know it.

I cancelled my membership.

So again, she’s the bad guy and I lose.  But I’m not strong enough to stand up to her.

She has no conscience.  She is a sociopath.  She has told people at gym things about me that I’d rather not repeat. All untrue, of course.  She has neatly turned the situation around, so that she’s the victim and I’m the aggressor.  Diametrically opposed.

Strangely, people believe her. They don’t believe me.  People don’t empathise with me, they empathise with her.

People are stupid.

I’m super pissed that I had to leave my gym.

But I need to exercise, so I started looking for a new gym.

Easy, right? There are an abundance of gyms in my area.  Wrong.

There are no gyms that have the same range of classes my old gym had.  I’ve narrowed it down to two gyms that might work.  I checked them both out, and honestly hated them both.

But I burned my bridges at the old gym (on purpose) so I couldn’t go back there.  I need to sign up at one of these two places.

I got a one week pass and I went to my first class at the new gym.

And it was freaking horrible.

Very cliquey.  Lots of 40 plus women standing around in groups, talking.  Many standing around a machine, monopolising the machine, but not actually using it.  Just chatting, leaning on it. Lots of talking about working out, not so much actual working out.

I did a core strength class.  It started late.  No one raised a sweat.  It only had 15 minutes of actual exercises, the rest was a silly warmup, and a long, long cool down.  Then some rolling out.

The group exercise room was freezing.

My heart rate didn’t get over 80.  It was ridiculously easy, and I’m a gimp.

It was rubbish.

The staff gave me the third degree over my health problems.  I had to go through everything.  Fair enough, but I told the other two women that I have been an active member of my old gym for 8 years.  I signed the ‘at your own risk’ release.  I explained it when I got the one week pass. I explained it all again the following morning. And then after the class I was called out AGAIN and had to go through it all AGAIN.

We all LOVE to talk about our entire medical history and think about all the things we can’t do anymore, don’t we?

Because I’m overweight the perky young 20 something tried to sign me up for their weight loss coaching program.  I politely declined.

She tried again.  Er, NO thank you. Even when I told her I have multiple food allergies and am seeing a dietitian, she persisted.  Ughhh.

It’s very clear that the entire focus of the place is weight loss.  Its not strength, its not fitness its not health…its weight loss.

It’s a girly, pink, women’s only gym.  Not my scene at all.

It costs almost TWICE what my old gym did.

I hated the class.  It wasn’t worth doing.

Afterwards I chatted to two women. Both of them said they have rheumatoid arthritis.  I asked them if they had rheumatologists.

Neither had seen a doctor.  Both had self-diagnosed off the internet.  Both were completely full of shit and clearly had no idea what RA is.  I smiled and nodded and didn’t disclose that I DO have RA, like, for real.  Not an internet diagnosis.  And I have a rheumatologist.

I think that was the final straw.  The whole atmosphere of the place was horrid.  Older, overweight women, dressed in lovely expensive gym gear, most looking immaculate, and no one having any intention of actually working up a sweat.

Not one of them looked like they worked out.  Admittedly, neither do I.

But there was no way to work up a sweat in this class. It was useless.  But when I tried to use the cardio machines afterwards, to make the trip down there worthwhile,  I couldn’t use them. I needed to wait for an induction session, to be taught how.

I used the functional area, but right next to that area is the coffee area, where all the women sit down in their cliques and chat and laugh and drink coffee.  And wonder why they’re not hitting their goals.  I felt like a bug under a microscope, being examined and judged while I went through my routine.

I was not comfortable. I did not enjoy any of it.

I left very frustrated, and not at all happy.


This gym is two minutes from home, so I went down a few more times.  Did a few more classes. They were the same.

I booked in for the intro session to learn how to use the gym equipment. That would have been handy, except the lady taking the session barely knew how herself.  It was also supposed to be a 30 minute session, but it went way overtime because she exercised her mouth too much.  She didn’t listen to the fact that my last workout was three days prior, and she assumed that I hadn’t worked out in years, because I’m overweight.  She also couldn’t resist pushing the nutritional program AGAIN.

That was pretty much it.  I left.  And I won’t be back.

Tomorrow I will try the other gym. It’s a huge place, lots of men lifting heavy weights, but lots of group exercise classes.  Again, nowhere near as nice as my old gym, and more expensive.  But its better than frilly pink land where everyone is trying to get foxy over coffee, and the membership card is more a status symbol than functional.

I miss my gym.



  1. Shaking my head and wtfing at the self diagnosed RAer’s. I hope the other gym is what you are looking for or least an ok fit.Take care.

    • I know, right??? Aching joints, consult dr google, bingo! RA! One of them also had Sjogrnes and Lupus as well as RA, without ever having seen a rheum or having an x-ray or even a blood test. She preferred to handle it ‘the natural way’. Too much…

  2. Oh heck go back to the old one in June, tell them you quit for winter so you could do road work with prior to the women’s world boxing match. Let them knwo you came in 5th in the 18-28 division, you fought down age because you liked ht competition.

    Let word get around and then you will never see the other person again. I promise.

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