A couple of months ago I, once again, joined a gym in the quest to tighten my excess Winter blubber in time for bikini season – and, once again, it turned out to be a very expensive mistake.
As well as the obvious inconvenience of having someone take £75 from my bank account every month, it quickly became clear that a trip to the gym needs days of mental preparation. Every morning my alarm would scream through the silence at disgusting o’clock, throwing me right back into the never-ending struggle between my desire to get fit and my basal instinct to remain horizontal at all times.
Eventually – after I dropped my purse in Superdrug and my stash of Nando’s receipts tumbled in mass onto the floor – I decided I couldn’t put it off any more… it was time to take the plunge.
After forty minutes of trying to find appropriate ‘gym attire’, (something loose enough to avoid the dreaded ‘gym camel-toe’ but not quite ‘I-found-this-at-the-bottom-of-my-Boyfriend’s-wardrobe-chic’) I was finally ready to go.
Telling myself, “let’s do this” I bounced into the gym, heading straight for the ever-daunting cross trainer and trying desperately to ignore the crop-top clad, gym bunny sweating next to me. What I didn’t anticipate was to be yanked away from the machine by a muscle-bound instructor insisting that he walk me through the mechanics of every single machine in the gym, despite the fact my records show they did the exact same thing twelve months ago.
So that brings me onto the dreaded gym induction; any new member’s worst nightmare.
After the ordeal of being weighed, measured and practically strip searched under the florescant lights, we moved swiftly onto the humiliation section of the induction; the fitness tests. “I’ve, erm, had a sprained ankle” I lied between gasps as we entered the 12th minute of analyzing my ability on the treadmill.
Eventually my new Fu￼hrer decided, to my utter astonishment, that I was in good enough health to use the gym. Nodding along as he scribbled down a ridiculous exercise regiment he expected me to adhere to, I searched for somewhere, anywhere I could recover.
Over the following few weeks I faced the queues for the cross trainer, hid behind machines to avoid eye-contact with the personal training vultures that circled the building and pretended not to notice the body builder’s excessive grunting from the weights corner.The sterile environment sucking any motivation from me with every One Direction song it played.
After a few months of paying £75 to feel guilty and occasionally use the gym toilets on my way home, I canceled my membership – I’d, once again, given up on the gym.
So, what’s my alternative? Sitting on the couch watching ‘Friends’ reruns and wishing I had a body like Jennifer Aniston whilst gorging myself with Costco pizza? That’s one option. But I have since invested my ‘gym money’ in a range of workout DVD’s and, god forbid, a pair of unreasonably tight ‘jogging pants’. I’m lucky enough to live in an area that has around a 50% population of drug dealers and heroin addicts who occupy the park benches along my route.
It turns out all the motivation I needed to get me sprinting was in the form of the an angry smackhead that screams insults as I jog past. Who needs a a gym membership?