diamond geezer

 Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Why do you go to the gym?

1) Because it makes you feel better about yourself
But are you sure? I went to the gym once, under protest, and it didn't make me feel better at all. Standing in the changing room I felt seriously under-endowed, and that was just in the visible zone above the waist. What hope did I ever have of looking like these sneering, chiselled, toned hunks? Where their pectorals bloomed, mine drooped. Where their biceps bulged, mine barely existed. Where their necks swelled like tree trunks, my neck was just, well, normal. And that's fine. Because I don't care that my body isn't perfect, or indeed anywhere approaching what others see as perfect. I still don't see the point in getting depressed about my six-pack-lessness. I'm no Charles Atlas, but then I have no desire to be. Do you lot really have so little self confidence that you need to go to the gym in order to feel 'normal'?

2) Because it keeps you fit
But are you sure? I went to the gym once, under protest, and after a few minutes pedalling on the exercise bike I was knackered. It didn't make me feel fit at all. I know you're supposed to go more than once, but quite frankly the thought of some evil personal trainer urging me to push myself through the pain barrier on a regular basis really didn't appeal. And still doesn't. Feeling bloody awful just to become slightly more capable at lifting heavy weights doesn't sound like a very reasonable swap to me. I get a perfectly decent workout walking up the escalator at Holborn tube station every morning, thank you very much. Going to the gym isn't the only way to keep fit, you know.

3) Because it keeps you healthy
But are you sure? I went to the gym once, under protest, and it didn't make me feel healthy at all. Quite the opposite. Those droplets on the face of my fellow athletes looked suspiciously like sweat, not perspiration. The water in the swimming pool seemed to have more than just chlorine floating in it. Those towels were rank, and anybody could have slipped on the soap in the shower. The risk of serious injury or incapacity was ever present when using the exercise equipment, far more so than if I'd been sitting safely at home on my sofa. Gyms lull you into a false sense of security, whilst actually increasing the chance of you limping home with a torn ligament, or worse. It all seems a very poor use of several hours a week to me, particularly when you could be enjoying yourself somewhere else instead.

4) Because it helps you lose pounds
Yes you're right there. I went to the gym once, under protest, and all I lost was my entrance money. It may take months for the weight to drop off, but your bank balance takes a hit immediately. That enticing welcome deal may sound like a bargain, but the staff really have their eye on your direct debit, not your waistline. Gyms make their money out of well-meaning but weak-willed individuals who sign up for a long term fix but can't be arsed to turn up when their motivation wilts. Which would be most of you. Why don't you save money and keep fit elsewhere? Press-ups work just as well at home. Your local swimming pool probably has much cheaper admission, and considerably longer lengths. And going out jogging in your local streets is far more worthwhile than running nowhere on a smelly conveyor belt. But hey, what do I know, I only went once. Why the hell do the rest of you bother?

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