My friend and I were chatting about Fitness World and how our lifetime membership in this gym was being wasted because we were not using it enough. She hardly ever went. I try to go at least once a week, but I could do more considering that Fitness World is just across our complex.
My friend then told me about the sauna at FW. Somebody had spoken to her so highly of its health benefits. “It is very good for the body. Opens up your pores and cleanses the toxins in your body. Makes your skin smoother too!” she raved.
I became interested. I didn’t even know FW had a sauna at the ladies only section. I decided to check it out that evening.
I had been to a sauna only once in my life when we went swimming at the Surrey Rec Centre. I did not last inside it for more than 10 minutes. I felt claustrophobic and uncomfortable. Because I was not impressed that first time, I decided to do a bit of research on the Internet to get tips and info on what saunas are all about.
“Mom, what are you researching?” Gino asked.
“Oh, I’m reading on saunas. I’m going there tonight,” I replied.
“It’s not as if you’re going to sit on an electric chair. You just go inside and sit down,” he continued.
“I want to know what to wear,” I said.
“Wear a swimsuit,” Gino said.
“I don’t have a bathing suit... See, if I did not do research, I wouldn’t have known that I shouldn’t eat before going to the sauna, and I just had dinner,” I said. Because I was still full, I took time browsing. Some 30 minutes later, I packed my gym bag and headed out.
The FW ladies’ only sauna is located at the far end of the locker room. It is not visible until you follow a maze-like path to the shower room. When I finally found the sauna, I didn’t know how to go about it. I carefully read the instructions on the glass door.
Shower before entering… Absolutely no oils or glass containers inside…No pouring water or oil on the rocks… No spitting, shaving, brushing of teeth, colouring hair…
I found the last instructions rather weird. Who would do those things in a very hot room with no sink inside?
I spent about 20 minutes in the sauna with two other ladies. No one talked with nor looked at another. It was dead silent, and so hot! Memories of hot summer days in the Philippines came back to mind, of those moments right after you hop into your car that had been parked under the searing sun. It was like being cooked in the oven.
I was carefully observing my body’s response to the heat. Am I getting dizzy? dehydrated? roasted? How long should I sit here with nothing to do? Feeling somewhat uneasy just sitting there, I decided to observe from the corner of my eyes what other ladies were doing. Without being obvious, I followed their lead. When a lady drank from her water bottle, I drank from mine. When someone rubbed her arms, I rubbed mine. When someone shook her legs, I shook mine. When a lady took off her towel revealing a two-piece swimsuit… well, I chose to keep mine.
I survived my first sauna at Fitness World. I went back a few days later more prepared. Remember, no pedicure allowed, and leave those cottonbuds home…. The next time I go back, I will don my new set of swimsuits I will probably never wear to the pool. I will sweat it out!