I’ve just been to the gym. A fairly inoccuous way to spend a morning one would think.
The wearing of trainers, a touch of lycra and the obligatory water bottle I found lurking in my bag from…well possibly too long ago. So, off I went, full of hope and on a mission to sweat myself into shape. What I soon realised when I stepped into the gym is that it is a mirocosm housed within glass. A social commentary of life as we know it – with a few bar bells and unfathomable machines of torture thrown in.
I plugged my headphones in – more than a little excited I could watch Eastenders while trotting along. But soon it becaome clear this was the place to watch mother nature in action. To my left a group of eager boys tight with muscles and enthusiam were like bees to honey around a young woman desperately trying to lift weights.
Her vocal workout was, to be fair, as strong as her lifting technique with yelps, breathless cries and deep breathing all serving to build a frenzied moment, relieved only by the elderly lady struggling on the nearby treadmill. She was here with her husband – I think it was her husband. Gripping their little workout sheets to avoid going ‘off piste’. I had totally forgotten to fetch my sheet from the appropriate drawer which meant I randomly mounted pieces of equipment in the hope it would do what Hannah, the lovely instructor, had planned for me to do.
The hardcore peacocks were in the corner willing each other to lift heavier and heavier weights while their blood vessels pulsated in protestation. Eventually someone lifted something close to the holy grail and there were grunts and claps and I felt a wave of testosterone hit me straight between the eyes.
In my corner were those less inclined to grunt and more inclined to hide away in baggy clothes, cycling in silence. Or like me, trotting along on a treadmill all to aware of my bum writhing up and down in the mirror. One lady had some kind of canvas combat trousers on and a hoodie. Maybe she was hoping the excess clothing would help with weight loss – either way she looked in pain but she and we, all knew those extra clothes weren’t coming off.
All in all it was a little stroll (with some light inclined cycling) through life’s gym goers. Those of us desperate to be invisible and those desperate to be seen. We all came together in one glorious mash up of gym ettiquette. I quite enjoyed it – I’m going again soon and who knows, I might even grunt a little.