Going to the gym: It’s essentially the Freemasons but with Lucozade

Lloyd Langford
gym 300x225 Going to the gym: It’s essentially the Freemasons but with Lucozade

(Getty Images)

After Britain’s resounding success at the Summer Olympics, commentators confidently predicted a huge surge in sports participation in the UK. It seems this might have been a bit premature. A recent survey finds that only half of UK gym goers actually perform any sort of fitness routine.

The study reveals that 50 per cent of members don’t do any working out at all, preferring instead to chat, ogle prospective partners or watch the troubling combination of Sky News and soft-core dance music videos these places seem to insist on showing. For when you’re in the mood to be both simultaneously aroused and poorly-informed.

I can empathise. For me, going to the gym is like foxhunting or correctly filling in a Sudoku. It’s something other people do that I’ve never really understood the appeal of. I’m 29-years-old. I’ve never used a gym. My main exercise comes from worrying and running after buses. Perhaps I needn’t fret about my own inactivity. It appears a hefty chunk of gym-goers go to the gym to do anything but exercise.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve seen people in gyms. A lot of these places seem to have glass walls, so those on the outside can peer in. It’s a curious marketing technique. You get to watch a row of sweaty blokes on treadmills, like bluebottles caught in tree sap, futilely wriggling but never destined to go anywhere. I just don’t see why you’d choose to pay exorbitant fees to run on a treadmill when you could just run outside. ‘Run outside you tools!’ I feel like shouting at their blank faces ‘It’s cheaper! You get to know your local area!’

I’ve also occasionally stumbled into gyms; usually lost on the way to the swimming pool. This lumps me in with 39 per cent of people questioned who were too embarrassed to ask for help. But I can see why nearly 40 per cent of people are a bit shy in these surroundings. Gyms can be very intimidating places, with an unspoken etiquette, mysterious language and a complex dress code that can seem bizarre to the outsider. It’s essentially the Freemasons but with Lucozade. The sombre atmosphere just makes me want to laugh even more. There’s something very pretentious about a roomful of people lifting weights. Pods of men intensely staring at themselves in the mirror as they repeatedly flex and curl their biceps, all avoiding eye-contact, their intense ritual punctuated by elongated grunts and sighs. It’s group wanking for forearms.

A quarter of people in the survey commissioned by Kettler admitted they spent more time relaxing than they did using any of the equipment. That’s more my cup of tea. I occasionally use the sauna, it’s like being trapped inside an Ikea wardrobe as the superstore catches fire, the steam room which is akin to holding your face over a particularly hot peppermint tea, and the jacuzzi. But if I’m being honest these are just opportunities to procrastinate about whether or not to do more swimming.

I guess I’m not that fussed when people ask me if I’ve been exercising more since the Olympics. I ask them, what have the Olympians been doing since the Olympics? Mo Farah wasn’t even recognised during a recent TV interview, Bradley Wiggins was hit by a car and Tom Daley just fronted a television show so bad that it made Don’t Scare The Hare look like Kenneth Clarke’s Civilization. It seems that everyone, UK gym goers included, just fancies a bit of rest after all that excitement.

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  • TristanPriceWilliams

    So the Olympics was actually a total failure…

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