Everywhere you look nowadays, despite any number of vacant retail units to testify that our economic recover is only on paper, one thing seems to be curiously ubiquitous on the high street: gyms. They’re everywhere. Maybe the so-called obesity epidemic has something to do with it – they’re making their money off the backs of people’s paranoia. I don’t know for certain and I don’t care. Because I’ll be damned if I ever set foot in one. Why? Well I’ll tell you…
“I conceive of nothing, in religion, science, or philosophy, that is more than the proper thing to wear, for a while.” – Charles Fort, Wild Talents (1932)
This is as much the case with fitness. You’ll notice that, outside of actual sport, there is now One True Physique. It’s a fitness model’s physique, based on weightlifter’s muscles and a lack of body fat. It requires a relentless diet of protein. And it’s a fad. It has blown up over the last five years, and in another ten there’ll be a new beauty ideal. Personally, I can’t be arsed with it, because it requires gyms. To spend a day each on a number of different areas of the body in order to build it requires an amount of weights and equipment that simply cannot be contained in the average person’s home. So you give someone money to use theirs. And for what? What is fitness?
The problem these days is that it’s basically bodybuilding. Not to the insane levels of a competition bodybuilder, but nevertheless modern fitness seems to require the artificial packing on of muscle – muscle that you only use to lift weights whose only purpose is to build your muscle. That’s not worth £40 per month. Sure, on top of this bodybuilding nonsense you’re encouraged to do some cardio and get some flexibility. Fine. Do some yoga and go for a run. Yoga video – £10. Running – free.
The other thing I detest is the fad for personal trainers, because they are snake oil salesmen to a man/woman. Consider this: they advise you on the best way to train, and the best diet for your workout regime. Any fitness buff tends to give their two penn’orth online for free anyway, and reading that information tells you exactly what quacks personal trainers are. Simply put: there is no personal trainer out there who is worth a bent drachma unless they have a degree in sports science and proper qualifications as a dietician. What various fitness experts will tell you on websites is idiosyncratic and contradictory. Why? Because at best they guess which of their personal, unqualified prejudices will work for you. Have you seen the arguments about burpees? Furthermore, a friend of mine told me that his personal trainer told him that you can damage yourself by only doing one kind of press-up, so you need to do five variations. There are over a hundred variations available. And no website anywhere says you need to switch it up in the first place. Quacks, I say!