Brittney quickly fell in love with the on-campus gym that was free for students to use. She knew there was a rigorous physical she would have to pass in order to get into the police academy, and she couldn’t be sure she wouldn’t get one of those assholes who always makes it harder for women because they think the police should be a boys-only club.
She had never had access to such equipment. She had been required to take gym every year before she graduated high school, but no one took that class seriously.
Besides, gym class had never included weights. The most “strength training” they had ever done was pushups, and even then, girls had been encouraged to lean on their knees, bend their backs, and keep their elbows out, rather than tucked in.
This world of weights and treadmills that could vary incline as well as speed was a whole new world for Brittney. She felt like a kid in a toy store. She wanted to try everything.
Unfortunately, she had no idea what she was doing. The morning after her first day at the gym she could barely get out of bed. She thought it was a good thing – that it meant she had had a good workout and the screaming in her muscles was nothing more than growing pains.
But when the so-called growing pains failed to fade after a few days, Brittney realized she was in trouble. She didn’t know what she had done wrong, but she had clearly done more harm than good.
She had heard of athletes applying ice to injuries, so she bought a few ice packs and alternated applying them to all the parts of her body that hurt until getting out of bed wasn’t such an ordeal.
When she was ready to go back to the gym, Brittney took her phone and earbuds with her. She went through each machine she had used (except the treadmill, which was pretty self-explanatory) and pulled up a how-to video on YouTube for that machine. As she watched, she realized all the things she had done wrong, what she had injured, and how she had injured it.
She approached the machines more carefully the second time around, re-watching each how-to video carefully to make sure she did everything right this time.
Once she got the hang of it, it got much easier.
Then working out became her safety valve. Any time Brittney felt the pressure begin to build, she would just go to the gym, blast heavy metal through her earbuds, and work until she had just enough energy to shower and get back to her apartment.
Her roommate thought she was just another gym rat. Like everyone else, she had no idea.
To be continued…