When people shy away from the prospect of joining a gym, it’s not necessarily a fear of exercise that’s putting them off – they might just be scared of embarrassing themselves.
If you can’t tell a kettle bell from a dumbbell and think spinning is something spiders do, you’re probably going to feel intimidated.
Then there’s the communal changing rooms to deal with, complicated machines that you’re too embarrassed to find out how to use, not to mention the overwhelming feeling of inadequacy that greets you when you walk into a room full of super-toned bods.
The truth is, we all live in fear of falling off the treadmill – but as long as you’re able to laugh at yourself, who cares?
I’ve recently joined the gym and every time I go, I have a good giggle.
And I think it’s safe to say that anyone watching the body combat class I tried at Virgin Active last week would have struggled to stifle heir sniggers.
Imagine around 40 women (and a couple of men) leaping around a room to angry rock music, desperately trying to pull off moves like Bruce Lee but looking more like Christopher Lee.
As the only newbie, who didn’t know what they were doing, I found myself performing a wild version of a kind of Riverdance jig – frantically trying to dodge flying fists and feet.
But however ridiculous I looked, it was so much fun I can’t wait for the next session.
If you’re going to get involved in scenes such as these, my advice is, leave your pride in your locker.
You won’t find me turning up to a spin class in a bikini with an American Apparel jersey slung over the top, freshly washed hair falling around my shoulders.
Nah, I’m so cool I arrive wearing odd socks and clutching a Fireman Sam water bottle.
I tell you what, you can definitely spot the members who don’t have children.
They’re the ones who stand around gossiping, with no reason to dash off, who enjoy a sauna after every session and are never seen without fake tan, false eyelashes and full make-up.
If, like me, you prefer to scrub your face clean before a workout, rather than wearing more slap than Amy Childs, the gym’s not a place you want to run into anyone you know.
It’s bad enough being spotted beetroot-faced and sweating on the rowing machine but bumping into a male acquaintance in the kids’ swimming pool, where the water’s so shallow it only comes halfway up your legs – that’s the stuff of nightmares.
FYI, I’ve discovered that it is entirely possible to skulk around on your knees while chatting, so your whole body remains beneath the surface, but if your daughter is as adventurous as mine, that’s generally not a option.
So rather than keeping my wobblier-than-I’d-like bits safely below the waterline, I was up and down like a yoyo, neurotically clutching my cozzie, terrified of exposing a millimetre more flesh than necessary.
The poor bloke was undoubtedly far too busy teaching his daughter how to swim to be secretly marking my behind out of 10 – but at the time I was too mortified to think straight.
I eventually made my excuses and scuttled off to the changing rooms – another weird place when it comes to etiquette.
I think most women are agreed that while it’s ok to stand around in the nude for a minute or two to dry off, there should be no naked walking around and most certainly no bare bottoms on benches.
But what about the girls who change into their PJs before leaving the gym, after a workout and shower?
I can totally see why they think it’s a good idea but pyjamas in public are simply a no-no.
For me, they’re the ones who should be hanging their heads in shame.