I was interested to read on The Guardian’s website that Zoe Williams thinks that the gym is a con.
Williams admits that she doesn’t actually use the gym she’s a member of. I don’t see how you can legitimately call that a con. Nobody forced you to sign up, it’s your choice whether to shift yourself and go or not.
What I do think is a big fat con, however, is the widely-held notion that going to the gym 3 times a week is any sort of achievable or desirable aim.
For the last 3 years I have set myself a yearly challenge to go to the gym 150 times – i.e. 3 times a week, with a couple of weeks off for good behaviour. It doesn’t sound that much until you start to do it, and keep doing it. And then you find yourself battling through blizzards and rising at the scrake of dawn on weekends just to get there.
To be honest, it’s been an enormous pain in the (well toned) arse. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. It’s just too bloody much. Even with monitoring my visits, still somehow the days slip by and I end up going four times a week from September onwards, and virtually every day in December just to make up the numbers. What seems like a modest, achievable aim at the start of the year ends up as a daily slog.
And apart from wearing a groove from my house to the doors of LA Fitness, what have I achieved? Not much on the face of it.
I haven’t had a sick day off work in all that time, which I miss because sickies sound like fun. Though as a self employed person who doesn’t get sick pay, perhaps that’s all the better. There’s been a modest amount of weight loss – I’ve gone from a size 14-16 to a size 12-14. I still look basically chunky. I look better in lycra, but then I only wear lycra to the gym, so it’s a bit of a Pyrrhic victory.
I’m ashamed to admit that my gym challenge has made me a little bit mean. I play Gym Top Trumps, where if there is someone next to me in a gym class who is better looking, thinner and younger, but less fit than me, then I WIN. What a meanie I am becoming. This place is morally corrupting my soul.
BodyCombat has taught me four ways to punch and five ways to kick, which I’m sure will come in handy in my future career as a superhero. And it has taught me how to work out to a disco remix of Status Quo without feeling ashamed. But surely I should be ashamed of that. My soul is becoming black and withered and my taste in music is shot to pieces.
On the upside, my mouse-addled right arm which seemed to be wearing out due to too much computer clicking seems to be back to full strength thanks to Body Pump.
So in essence, if you’re thinking that thrice weekly gymmage it is a good idea, it isn’t. Save your money and energy and stay home instead. Leave the gym to the rest of us soulless fools.
(Yes of course I’m doing it again this year).
pic: Flickr – ben_onthemove