Social skirmishes

In the run up to my holidays I decided to do something I promised myself I would never do. I not only committed to getting fit, I joined a gym.

I had always wondered why anyone would want to join a gym. Why pay money to stomp on a treadmill when there’s a park you can run around for free? Apart from those hideously skinny types who patently do not need to be there, gyms are full of intimidating men lifting weights to prove how manly they are, or middle-aged types who are clearly no strangers to the sweet trolley. They are places I have always sought (very successfully up to now) to avoid. But a social worker’s lifestyle has meant that my body, far from being a temple, is more an oversized church hall. I didn’t have a prayer, so decided the gym’ll fix it.

I married conscience and deed by joining the council leisure centre gym: I’ll be burning the calories and supporting the community, sorted. But even the bargain basement doesn’t come cheap. I was hit by a £29 membership fee and then £15 “admin charge” (which seemed to cover the cost of gym instructor “Allie” filling in a form telling me my name and address).

When Allie costed the options – weekly, premium, gold or pay-as-you-go – on top of all the fees I had just shelled out, I started to sweat. Keep this going, I thought, and I won’t actually need to use the gym – financial worry would see the pounds (so to speak) drop.

I opted for the “I’ll-go-everyday-for-the-first-week-and-then-a couple-of-times-in-the-next-week-and-then-sort-of-not-bother-going-anymore” package. But I’ve ended up quite getting into it. If only I can stop myself calling the “cross-trainer” the “cross-dresser”, I might almost fit in.

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