SITTING at my desk having just scoffed the last of a four-finger Kit Kat, the top button on my trousers suddenly pinged a few feet away, and I knew then that something had to give. And it obviously wasn’t my trousers!

Scrolling through Facebook I came across a post about an exercise class in a nearby church hall.

“Why not come and join our friendly group?” it offered.

“All ages and fitness levels welcome.”

“Oh well,” I thought to myself.

“I’m no spring chicken, but it does say all ages.”

I called up: “Hi Kev, is there room for one more on Friday?” I messaged the instructor.”

“Definitely,” was the quick response.

“Look forward to meeting you.”

Now, I absolutely hate gyms, but the picture of this exercise class showed a line-up of ladies of all shapes and sizes bobbing up and down on a step. And some of them were even smiling!

That’ll do me, I reckoned, as I sent my confirmation message.

Friday night and nervously I entered the old church hall to be greeted by Kev.

“Sign the paperwork Janice and we’ll soon be good go.”

People started to trickle in but, oh no, to my horror, they weren’t all women of a certain age, and immediately I was way out of my comfort zone.

Next, Kev began pulling out all sorts of exercise equipment, the likes of which I had only seen on the telly!

“Em, excuse me Kev,” I apologised, whilst grabbing my car keys.

“Sorry, but I think I’ve come to the wrong class.”

“Not at all,” he said curtly.

“You’re here now, so just do what you can.”

He was bawling at the top of his voice: “Let’s get your heart rate up sugar puffs with a jog around the hall.”

Well, within seconds my heart rate was up so high I thought I was going to combust.

“Sit ups,” he bellowed.

“Sit ups.”

I dropped to the floor, relieved I had stopped jogging. However, when I attempted a sit-up, I was like a corpse slowly rising from the dead.

Creak, creak. Oh… ah… This was no fun at all, and it didn’t help being next to Lesley who was like a Duracell bunny. Up down. Up down. Up down.

“Keep it up. 30 seconds to go.”

“Eh? 30...cannae be?” I was so out of shape.

“Press ups” was the next command.

“Press ups.”

I rolled over and attempted to do a press up. But my wee puny arms instantly gave way and I just couldn’t get my belly off the ground.

“Argh... This is torture.”

“C’mon sugar puffs,” Kev roared above the loud music.

“Get your lazy backsides up and skip for one minute.”

“Skip? Skip?” I hadn’t used a skipping rope since I was at school.

Giving it my best shot, I felt like I was wearing heavy industrial working boots because my feet, just like my belly, wouldn’t leave the ground.

“Ropes down, now grab a bag.”

Before I knew it, Kev had slung a 20kg bag on my shoulders and ordered me to run to the end of the hall.

“I’m used to heavy handbags,” I thought.

“How hard can this be?”

Well... my wee legs were soon buckling, and what should have been a quick run to the end of the hall was more like a drunken stagger as I weaved from side to side moving one step forward and two back!

“Faster. Faster.”

I muttered all sorts and wished I’d stayed at home to watch Emmerdale instead of enduring this unexpected misery.

“Battle ropes.” Fast as you can.

“Battle ropes.”

“Eh? Battle whit...” Last time I had seen a rope this thick was on the Millport ferry.

“Grab the rope with two hands, Janice, and pull it towards you as fast as you can.

“Faster. Faster.”

I did admire Kev for his optimism, but this rope was weighted and pulling it was a major challenge.

“Ohoooo. Argh…”

“Drop the rope,” he bellowed “Now, Russian Twist, Russian Twist.”

Having no clue what a Russian Twist was, I hoped to mimic the others – however, that didn’t quite go to plan either.

“Leg raise, one, two, three.”

Having lost the will to live I lay on the cold wooden floor wishing I was invisible.

“C’mon Janice, raise your legs.” But my legs were shaking like a Chivers jelly and wouldn’t do as Kev instructed.

“Superman. Superman.”

“Jeezo.” I had never heard of this exercise and gave in as I was now completely done in.

My head was bursting with the sound of Kev’s loud voice yelling constant information and instructions.

“Triceps, biceps, glutes, quads, hamstring, abs, obliques and...sit-ups, press-ups, battle ropes, skipping ropes, press-ups, Russian twist, leg raises, squats, lunges, superman, plank, crunches, weights...”

Argh... no more.

Floundering towards the exit I discovered Kev had been a soldier in a former life, which explained a lot.

“Same time next Friday?”

And... amazingly, I’m still there a year later!

So, if you are starting out in the world of exercise, be positive, because if I can last a year, so can you.