Taming the Waggley Stick Machine


Taming the Waggley Stick Machine

Ever since I started going to the Lifestyles gym here in Liverpool I’ve avoided using the waggley stick machine, otherwise known as a Cross Trainer.

The reason I’ve avoided them is, in part, due to the way you’re kind of walking but not walking. That just looks and feels weird for a start. Mostly, though, I’ve avoided them because of the way those waggley sticks keep coming right back at you. Where I come from that’s fighting talk. Or, at the very least, mildly disconcerting.

I’m not the most athletic of people, and coordination isn’t my middle name, either. So, to have all my limbs moving at the same time, whilst I’m trying to concentrate on walking, but not walking. Well, it just made the waggley stick machine look more hassle than it was worth.

Graeme had told me that they were very good for you. You’ll burn more much calories than you will running, he said. Someone else told me that it’s very low impact – much better for you than running on the treadmill. So, with those comments in mind, I’d made a point of wandering near the waggley stick machine on each of my gym visits over the last few weeks. Each time I’d fail to pluck up the courage to actually use it.

Yet, on Thursday night, I finally summoned the bravery to use one for the final ten minutes of my gym session. I picked one that was at an angle to the mirrors in the gym, which made it kind of difficult to see myself. I figured I didn’t want to know how much of an assclown I would make of myself if I didn’t have the knack for making them go. I’d seen people going backwards on them, seemingly oblivious to the fact, and I didn’t want to be doing that.

Getting started in the right direction seemed to be fairly straightforward in the event, although looking down to see if I actually was going in the right direction brought my head perilously close to the waggley sticks. I reckon I was making awkward work of it, being unable to keep up a consistent rhythm for some reason, but after a few minutes I sort of got my head round it.

Graeme had been right – it was hard work, and the sweat was pouring off of me by the five minute mark. This led to me trying to use my towell to mop my brow, which caused a couple of comedy moments as I tried to catch the stick I’d let go. As silly as it looked, nobody seemed to notice. Or if they did notice then they were being polite enough not to laugh at me.

When my ten minutes were up, I clambered off the waggley stick machine with all the grace of Bambi wearing rollerskates on a newly polished floor. Regardless, I have to admit I felt pretty good about myself for finally taking the plunge. It was a small victory, I admit, but one that has opened up a whole new way of making me feel ruined after a trip to the gym. Result.