Monday, 15 February 2010

Am I really ready for 'gym'll fix it?'

To gym or not to gym – that is the question.

It is a question I’m sure many of us ask ourselves on a frequent basis and it is one I do my very best to avoid if at all possible.
However, last Friday, the nagging question planted itself back in my mind. Again.

This time it was because we were given a short presentation by Fitness First, a gym which is literally a hop, skip and a jump away from our offices. It was designed to encourage people (like me, I guess ) to think about returning to the treadmill – both literally and metaphorically.

I suppose, like a lot of people, I have two very distinct opinions about going to the gym – my head says ‘yes’ but my body always says ‘noooooooo’.

And it is not as if I haven’t been there before. I’ve had a couple of spells as a gym member and I did think I got something out of it but what I also developed was an astonishing range of excuses to avoid it. The problem for me was never actually the gym itself (well, not much) but it was always the thought of the gym.

If I could get into a gym, sitting on a rowing machine then I was fine. But there was always such a long, long way and a myriad invented diversions between my seat at work and my seat on the rower. When I did go, I always sort of enjoyed it and I know I always felt better a couple of hours later but it still felt like a real effort a few minutes before ‘departure time’ to remember that fact.

People used to say to me ‘no pain, no gain Sam’ – but I would always say ‘isn’t it just better to have no pain?’

Oh and I am not totally without exercise. My somewhat crazed labrador Snoopy often takes me out for a drag (it certainly is not a walk) but my four-legged friend is a bit one-dimensional and so maybe, just maybe, I need to think about more ways of getting fit than just being hauled around by a panting dog.

I know all this, of course, but I have still used many of the familiar excuses for not rejoining.I often cite cost (but to be honest I don’t think prices have risen much over the years), time-poverty (but how come I always find time to watch EastEnders or play loud music?) and of course the self-conscious worry of do I really want to bare all next to people with muscles to shame Hulk Hogan?

The truth is, though, I can’t deny the positive impact the gym has on people around me. So many of my colleagues – who have the same stress-levels as I do and hence the same potential excuses – really seem to benefit from their frequent gym trips even though sometimes they crawl into the office after a particularly hectic session. They look better, they say they feel better and (crucially for an insomniac like me), they say they sleep better to.


So, I think I may be weakening. I think the smell of the changing room, the queue for the torture-style devices and the search for my long-neglected trainers may be about to begin.That isn’t to say, however, that I still wouldn’t really, really value some fresh excuses.

Gym’ll fix it? We shall see.

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