Saturday, 3 November 2012

Gym WILL NOT fix it . . .

It's a hard life - so why make it harder? Why, I keep asking myself, do Id rag myself out of the house at 6 a.m. several days a week, in order to torture my ageing frame. Why? The gymnasium is calling ...

A couple of years ago I made a concerted effort to shed a few pounds. This involved de-larding the fridge, waving goodbye to eating white bread forty times a day and tearing myself away from the bakery dangerously situated at the end of the road. Of course, overhauling your diet is only half of the story. The other half was played out in the gym. Two years on, I'm a few pounds short of having lost three stone but things have now ground to a halt. Maybe my middle years body has had enough. Maybe I should be hurling buckets full of fried chicken down my gullet. Somehow though, the lure of the gym remains.

Situated in London's Square Mile, it's hardly the most congenial of places. The very nature of the gym is that everyone goes about their business in po-faced silence, me included. My fellow gym buddies are a mixed bunch. There is the parade of tiny-waisted, hard-faced east European women, pounding the treadmill in a worrying fashion. There is always some ridiculous bint with her hair piles on top of her head, like a peroxide nest, stood beneath the "No mobile phones" sign, bellowing into her mobile phone - "Yes it's me! That's right, me. Look at me. LOOK AT ME NOW!"

The blokes are usually something else too. Many feel the need to parade around in their corporate t-shirts. "I work in derivatives and I'm a bit tedious" is what the narrative should read, preferably decked out in neon. Then there are the muscle marys, that pumped up breed who groan and shout their way through a set of bench presses. Fear them for they are in love with themselves.

Then there is the lumpy old slap-head, wearily collapsing on to various bits of equipment, unsure of what they do but hey, it's a chance for a sit down. That person is, of course, me.

Of course, I could always ask the staff for help. Some of them can string together sentences but most of them spend the morning craftily lifting their tops in order to admire their six packs. Or shouting. "Come on! Come on! Lift those legs up!" they scream at some hapless futures manager who's bobbing around in a river of his own sweat. The receptionists remain glass-eyed in a Stepford kind of way. There is always the temptation to throw a bucket of water over them just to see them fuse.

Instead, I stagger off to the malodorous showers and then off to work. Mission completed. I will moan about it forever but you can bet Britain to a dumb-bell that I'll be back for more next week.

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