Social media would have us all believe that gym changing rooms are full of long limbed, uninhibited gym bunnies who barely break a sweat after an hour of Hot Power Yoga and happily prance around in Agent Provocateur underwear sets whilst applying the perfect feline flick before skipping off to Planet Organic to pick up a green juice and salad. Instagram gold, yes. Reality, not quite.
Whilst you do get the odd prancer, what you’ll mostly find upon stepping into the elusive ladies zone is a gaggle of hot, sweaty, endorphin driven women frantically getting ready around one mirror in order to make it back to the office/home/school/life in time to resume their everyday responsibilities (and yes, sometimes grabbing a green juice and salad on the way).
When I joined my current gym back in 2012 I found it hard to accept that there was only one small cubicle in the corner of our large open plan changing rooms designed to occupy at least 60 women. I couldn’t get used to the idea of suddenly taking off all my clothes in a room full of strangers or, worse, work colleagues and so would scurry off to the cubicle whilst everyone else got on with the task at hand. On the rare occasions the cubicle was pre-occupied I’d wait around until it was free, preferring to miss the start of a class than dare to flash the flesh.
Fast forward 3 years and whilst I’m not the first one to whip off my skirt I’m certainly not the last. I don’t know when it happened, but I gradually migrated out of the cubicle and began to realise nobody was looking at me or my body, so intent is everyone on getting in and out of their own clothes as quickly as possible.
It’s certainly taught me to leave embarrassment at the door, having finally recognized it’s much easier to discard a towel altogether than desperately attempt to keep it clasped around you post shower whilst trying to pull on a pair of skinny jeans over slightly damp legs (impossible, by the way).