Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's about the Gym (not my friend Jim)

Today, at lunch time, I was doing up hill sprints. It was cold, wet, my ankle hurt, my ipod had no battery at all, and I was generally not happy. After about my 6th uphill sprint, I suddenly thought, why do I bother?

I mean seriously, why? I spent almost every day pushing myself to the point of being sick, trying to eat nothing but bland tasting, boring healthy foods, and for what? I look at fat people now in a different light (no, not because they’re blocking out the sun. I know that’s what you were thinking. Shame on you!)  I actually think, fair play to you. You are doing it right. You don’t waste £45 a month or more going to a gym, you eat whatever the hell you can fit down your throat, you drink all you want, and you don’t go to the pointless effort of getting yourself severely out of breath when exercising (apart from maybe going up the stairs to the toilet, or if the ice cream van speeds past without stopping). Ok, the slight downside may be that fat people tend to die in their 50’s and 60’s from massive heart attacks, but when you actually look at this, when you dissect the numbers like a clever statistician would, again, this is not a bad thing. Once you reach about 60, it’s all downhill from there. You like to think you are still youthful, and that 60 is the new 40, but suddenly, wham!, before you know it, you dribble when you talk, you can’t drive over 5 miles an hour, you shop with one of those weird patterned upright baskets on wheels, and you’re memory begins to fade, so you can’t even remember what you had for breakfast ( I can luckily still remember- The same thing that I’ve had for breakfast the last 25 years. Coco Pops, the true breakfast of kings.)

Getting old is not graceful. Would you rather ache from the second you get up to the second you go to bed, which for old people, is 5am to 6pm, wee yourself on a daily basis, forget why you went up the stairs, what you went up the stairs to fetch, and what stairs actually are, carry your teeth in your pocket, slowly go deaf and blind and totally dependent, or enjoy your whole life, eat shit, drink shit, and then die in one massive heart exploding instant?

These thoughts then got me questioning why I go to the gym? Don’t get me wrong, I do sort of enjoy keeping fit, being in good shape and not having to wear a sports bra on the beach, but paying £45 a month, and  getting in the car to go to the gym when it’s dark and raining, is starting to get a bit of a drag. So I had a real hard think about whether I wanted to still go. And, after a great deal of soul searching, I came up with the answer. Of course I do. And why? Because my gym is full of the countries biggest tossers, wierdo’s and generally most amusing people I have ever met, and therefore going to the gym makes me feel much better about myself, without even having to do any exercise. Every time I go there, I tend to stare in wonder and amazement at the patrons and their antics.

For example, I like to go swimming, and the gym has a great pool, with a Jacuzzi. I am a pretty good swimmer, but draw the line at wearing anything smaller than football shorts sized swim wear. On Monday, I had just got into the pool, when a giant man (fat, not fairy story tall) came out of the changing room wearing possibly the smallest pair of speedos ever designed by man. Now, surely, at some stage while he was getting undressed, he must of thought “oh….wait a minute….these trunks are a bit small….I must have packed my 5 year olds speedos….or maybe they shrunk in the wash. Well I can’t wear these, if I go out into the pool area, as I am quite a large individual, people may stare at me. It will look like i'm actually wearing no swimming trunks. This could be quite embarrassing, so I’ll get changed again, and just head home, but via a sports shop, so I can buy a much bigger pair for next time.” But no, at no point did this cross his mind. So when he did come out, wearing speedos that you could only see if he bent over to touch his toes, is it any wonder that everyone stared.

(the above picture is not me in speedos.)

 I did feel generally sorry for him. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t make fun of people who are fat or thin or black or white etc, as I think everyone is equal and should not be judged, but come on. Ridiculous. If I went to a ‘We hate Everything to Do With Elvis Especially his Outift’ club wearing a £14.99 joke shop Elvis outfit, I would expect to be stared at. Therefore, I shouldn’t have felt sorry for him.

Last week was even better. I’d done about 30 lengths, when a man got in wearing a full wet suit. He popped on a snorkel, and then proceeded to snorkel up and down the pool for about half an hour. Mental. However, all was not a loss. To give him a feeling of being abroad and snorkelling on a tropical reef, I took off a plaster and let it float about like a tiny fish.

Seriously though, why is there always a plaster floating about in a swimming pool? Do people still wear plasters? And why is it never a blue one, or a see through one, or a patterned one? It’s always one of those sort of orangey browny coloured ones that people haven’t bought since the early 1990’s, so how the fuck can they still be floating about in every swimming pool in the country?

The swimming pool is probably where I get the most wound up though. And I get wound up by old people. More specifically, old women. I have swum since I was about 4, had school swimming lessons, and went to a swimming club from the age of 11 to 18, yet at no stage, did I ever learn a stroke where I lie on my back, and do a really slow double armed back stroke, which can only be done in the middle of the lane. I have also spoken to a British Swimming Coach, and this stroke is not recognised by the British Swimming Association, so why does every old woman seem intent to only do this stroke, only do it slowly,  and only when the pool is very busy? It’s days like this that I miss snorkel man.

If I go to the actual gym part of the gym, I only use the treadmill, as it’s about the only think that interests me. I love being on the treadmill, as it gives me a chance to watch the blokes in the weights area make increasingly large tossers of themselves. The done thing for chavvy lads in their early 20’s now seems to be to pump as much weight as possible, whilst making as much noise as possible, so everyone knows they are pumping as much weight as possible. They basically aim to get the largest biceps possible, whilst forgetting the fact that this makes their neck disappear completely. These lads are obviously out to impress, so I guess the way to a woman’s heart is now apparently to have biceps so big, you can actually  plunge your massive arm straight through their chest cavity, thus creating a literal way to the woman’s heart. I’m not sure how many activities actually require massive biceps, except for maybe opening a particularly stiff jam jar, using the inside of your elbow joint as some sort of nut cracker, or maybe for allowing extra space for that tattoo of a Ming vase you’ve always wanted, but it does seem a pointless activity.

Maybe I’m just jealous. I’m pretty sure  I’m not jealous. But I will carry on going to the gym, using only the treadmill and swimming pool, to enrich my life with the collection of weird and wonderful people. And also to keep fit. But if I’m being honest, there is only one real reason on this earth why I make sure I keep fit. There’s no way I’m ever, ever, buying elasticated trousers.

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