This has come from a combination of my love/hate relationship with the gym and thinking the title ‘Gym’ll Fix It’ was funny. Of course we all know that using the title ‘Gym’ll Fix It’ is deeply inappropriate because it refers to Jimmy Saville, who, as you may recall was an unforgivable, talentless, slimy shit who it’s now ok to hate beyond measure. It’s probably worth mentioning that he was pretty much that way before all the paedophilia came out, who knew he could stoop so much lower. As Hitchins (C not P) might have said, it’s a pity there isn’t a hell for him to go to. Anyway, we should paddle towards cleaner, healthier waters, namely the local, friendly gym. I’ve been meaning to write about the gym for a while but as you can see have failed miserably. Not that this effort would necessary qualify as a success. One of the first things my ‘the wife’ and I did when we moved into this area is trail around looking for a gym to join. I seem to recall my ‘the wife’ being very keen to get on with this job, something which surprised me as she not what you could call a gym ‘bunny’. In fact the occasions that she does insist on going to the gym are about as frequent as seeing Halley’s Comet. Rather annoyingly she dragged us both down there the day before we got married, which was a shame because I missed my one way flight to Argentina. Double drat.
Our gym (who am I kidding), my gym, is a five minute drive away and part of a big, nationwide chain. I should have smelled a rat from day one, the fact that the guy who signed us up vanished days later while all the other staff seem to have stayed put. I should have smelled another rat when the gym bags they gave us for ‘free’ turned out to be sub Vietnamese street corner market quality and the towels they gave us for ‘free’ had all the soft, towel like quality of tarmac. I should have smelled a Pied Pipers worth of great big fat, slick, sewer rats when I realised with a sigh that I’m just not gym material. I can justify that claim very easily. I don’t spend money on all the flash work out gear, it’s mainly Primark vests and jogging bottoms. I look like a fucking lobster in a blow torch experiment once my heart rate goes above 90 and, although I wouldn’t consider myself a ‘sweater’ in normal circumstances, once I get going I get soaked. Furthermore I am not a weights kind of guy or a muscle kind of guy. I would love to be able to scoop up my ‘the wife’ in my arms and manfully, nay effortlessly, carry her to the bedroom to show her my finely sculptured guns but I just don’t have the strength. But I suspect the big thing that makes me feel like Eddie Murphy at a KKK rally is that I’m a starer. I get bored looking at one thing so I look at everything else instead. Maybe everyone else does too, I’m not claiming to be Sherlock Holmes here but I do clock an awful lot going on and it’s not just women in Lycra. Staring at women in the gym is only as fruitful as becoming a gynaecologist because you like fannies. They’re not all amazing. So, after three years here are 10 things that I’ve noticed from my time as a fully paid up version of a gym ‘bunny’ (boiler).
- Changing rooms. For seeing parts of men you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. It’s probably the same in the women’s too. I seem to have an uncanny knack of turning round just in time to clock a very hairy man bend over in front of me, or lift a leg up to towel down his tiny cock and balls, usually semi-hidden under a well-nourished gut. I don’t have a body like Bruce Lee (before he died, obviously) but compared to some I’m not doing badly. At least I can still see my willy in a mirror, for instance.
- Spin classes. Spin is agony and ridiculous because it must be the easiest exercise to cheat at. The moment the pony-tailed instructor turns his back everyone lunges forward to reduce the friction setting, their legs churning wildly, volcanic face slick with sweat. The fact all this is conducted in near darkness really isn’t a mystery.
- Towels. Renew the fucking towels! Get some new ones in! When towels still smell like the Black Hole of Calcutta after 100 washes and have the texture of barnacles ripping your flesh then it’s time to get new ones.
- The ‘regulars’. The gym is full of species. The bench press twats. The hopefuls, fat, smiley people who spend vast amounts of time in the gym but never lose a pound because they spend most of that time talking to someone equally fat or listening to advice from someone abundantly thinner than them. The lone wolves, rugged tough guys like me who stare into the distance, talk to themselves, drum along to their music and leave slowly and with panther like authority, headphones still in so they can’t hear the barrage of laughter which erupts once the slidey doors hiss shut. Fit women in lycra (these are very rare and more often than not are mistaken for not really that fit women who just look a bit fitter because they’re wearing lycra. Anyway, sitting high above all of these groups in the total arseholes league table are the ‘regulars’. I go to the gym regularly but I am not a ‘regular’. That’s because the ‘regulars’ are the twats that semi-know most of the instructors, that stay behind to chat to instructors after class just to hear someone say they did really well. These are the pricks who shout jokes at each other in classes because they’re all fucking matey and huddle together in the middle of open areas so that everyone can see that they have reached the apex of the gym environment. They are both fit and popular. And wankers. If that field guide leaves you still unsure, then the next best bet is just look out for anyone wearing a t-shirt with details of the last sponsored triathlon they entered, because they can’t not rub your face in their clammy, smug achievement. I like to imagine that if you started probing into their empty lives that they would break down in tears. Muscular, toned tears.
- Strange things. There is always some nob who has a special bit of kit, some spiky rolling mat or stretching technique that no-one else does. Every once in a while a new bit of equipment arrives that no-one knows how to use so people just don’t bother. Perhaps the oddest is that stupid thing that just vibrates gently as you stretch on it. If I’m paying 60 whatever quid a month I want a piece of equipment that will make my heart drop out of my arse just by looking at it.
- Other classes. Bodypump – weightlifting for pussies. Express Synergy – prancing around and getting red IN FRONT OF EVERYONE (I used to do this all the time because the female instructors realised I would work harder to not look like a puddle of piss in front of them. Clever girls.). Total Abs – lying on your back and doing things with your legs while listening to music you would hate in any other scenario. Legs, Bums and Tums – Tuesday morning chat club. Aqua – Wednesday afternoon chat club. Box Fit – the furthest activity from actual boxing you can imagine, but an old favourite. Grit Strength – by hard bastards, for hard bastards, don’t attempt after a couple of pints and a Ginsters pie. BODY BALANCE – Thursday evening chat club. All Over Body Workout – I went to this believing I would get an All Over Body Workout when in fact it turned out to be a class where I stood at the back behind 17 women, all over the age of 54, and was told ‘it’s mainly dancing for the first half, then just a few stretches. The only thing that got ‘worked out’ was my fragile ego, which actually got more of a proper fucking kicking. I probably lost 350 calories through embarrassment alone.
- Men. All men in gyms. Tossers. Lots of different reasons but bonded by the likelihood they will all be utter dicks, all obviously trying to look like the strongest, hardest person and all obviously failing.
- Women. All shapes and sizes, some huge, some tiny, long hair, short hair, worryingly short hair, nice bums, not so great bums, bums that look like they’ve been stolen off Danny DeVito, some shining exemplars of the toned, majestic female form (yes ‘the wife’ that’s your division too), some with wobbly bits, some with wobbly bits with wobbly bits and others so out of shape I can’t help but let my jaw clang to the floor as the whole aircraft hanger of a space flushes into silence.
- Children. Children should not be allowed in gyms. They clog up the system, look enviably thin and just remind you of a simpler time in your life. Actually they remind me that when I was 14 I was out having fun and running around the streets, not standing next to a cross training machine while some cretin explains how it works. Go and enjoy your lives. And stop screaming and crying and running around. Near me.
- Instructors. Apart from a brief window when I was almost close to having a conversation with more than one of them I have always secretly feared them. The female instructors are generally offensively fit and good looking and the male instructors look like they’ve just jumped out of a book about people you’ll never be as fit as. Somehow I’ve regressed into my inner shell and can barely make eye contact with any of them anymore. I have now convinced myself that they all would love it if I just stopped fooling myself and fucked off forever. Maybe I will. That’ll show ‘em.
That’s yer 10 then. Normally I would be having a swim/sauna combo at this stage on a Sunday afternoon but instead I’m sitting in the dining room, writing, Mozart piano concerto in the background as ‘the wife’ prepares me a Chai latte while she grills some nuts/makes a mess I the kitchen. How very civilised. That’s just what I thought when I saw that ‘the cat’ had crapped on the living room rug this morning. How very fucking civilised.