I am not a gym person. When I told my mates I had joined the gym at the start of this year (don’t call it a new year’s resolution) one of them said he was “shaken to the core.” I’m not going to try and argue against the positive impact of staying fit, but I have never understood the modern obsession, particularly among men, of “bulking” and extreme fitness. I have touched on it before in my piece on Masculinity &: Food as well as when discussing Tough Mudder. For a start, it’s fucking boring mate. I don’t give a fuck how many benches you can press. How many books have you read?
But having said that, at the start of this year I felt I needed to try and keep a bit fitter. I have never needed to worry about putting on weight, I’ve always been svelt whatever I’ve eaten and however much Guinness I’ve drunk. But I am in my early thirties now, and despite what one of my friends described as my “self-destructive nature” and what I would describe as my slightly nihilistic air, I wouldn’t mind living past 50 if I can. Another friend of mine also happily reminds me often that you can be “fat on the inside.”
So, I thought perhaps to balance out all those heavy weekends perhaps I should try and keep a bit fitter. Plus I was tired of nearly dying every week playing 5-a-side.
So with the inevitable new year bounce I asked one of my colleagues about joining the gym they went to. They said they would take me down for an induction. A month on and I am still going, which has to be positive. Believe it or not, I’m actually quite enjoying it.
What I like about this particular gym is that it has a municipal feel. I’m not sure if it’s council run or not, but it has a range of facilities including a bowling alley in the reception area, some sort of god-awful trampoline “world” and a sports hall with badminton and other courts. Now the last thing I would ever want to do is go fucking bowling or bouncing around an adult play area, but what it does mean is that you get a range of people going there and the same can be said of the gym. It’s not full of roided up idiots (although I am sure there are a few) but there are all sorts of people in there, old, young, fat, thin and it makes for a nice inclusive atmosphere. I can quite happily just potter about and do my thing.
Plus it is nice to bump into a couple of mates from work who go there and have a bit of a chat. All in all, I’m quite enjoying it. Look at me being all positive! It’s almost as if exercise can help your state of mind…