Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Gym Snobbery

Let me tell you a story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…..

When I first started working out properly, I was very pleased to be able to take advantage of a discounted membership offer at the local authority owned gyms across the peninsula where I live. It was very cheap indeed and had a wide range of classes plus a fully equipped (if cheap and cheerful) gym. It was within easy reach of home and had a full size training pool, thus my gym journey was born. And I was very happy there, always feeling rather smug that I eschewed the gargantuan corporate conglomerate money spinner gyms, full of people wearing not very many clothes at all, charging astronomical prices and generally being a bit snobby. Yes, I was a woman of the people! I believed in the ‘Sport for All’ slogan. I enjoyed working out side by side (probably) with ‘service users’. No crazy lycra outfits here – no siree Bob, just trackies, trainees and perfect makeup. I kept my head down and worked out in complete peace, blending into background and not feeling judge or threatened, just got on with sweating.

And then they closed the bloody thing! Yes indeed folks, 3 months of renovation and refurbishment (read ‘finally doing something about the fact that a local authority owned property contravened just about every equal opps/access for people with disabilities law and by law that exists in this fair country’) rolled into 6 months and into a year. (In actual fact it was 18 months before they opened it again – GAH!) So naturally I was forced to look for somewhere else……..

I happened upon The Village Hotel. Went for a visit, did a yoga class on a Sunday evening for 2 hours, loved the beautiful dance studio with its perfect sprung floor, dribbled over the changing rooms and showers with private cubicles, marvelled at the mahoosive gym with its rows and rows of treadmills, every weights machine imaginable, cross trainers, stair masters, free weights, bikes, rowing machines, another couple of studios, a pool, a steam room, a sauna, a bar, a restaurant, a pub – ok I’m getting carried away BUT suffice it to say it was ‘luverly’ and imo well worth doubling the amount I was spending monthly on membership – I justified it by telling myself(and my man – who detests gyms) that it was an investment in myself and better than buying shoes……

And then the ‘current economic climate’ hit and I had gone off the boil with my exercise, so could no longer justify the expense. Plus they had re-opened the oval (council gym) after a particularly hysterical debacle involving the contractors who rebuilt the pool only putting 5 swimming lanes in the training pool instead of 6 and having to undo their work and re do it all because local swimming teams needed 6 lanes to train and compete in - BWHAHAHAHAHA! (total nodders!!)
Anyhoop, so back I went to my little ‘sport for all’ gym. It’s been 5 months people and try as I might I JUST CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously. You thought my post on Swimmers’ Rage (patent pending) was extreme, then you want to watch me seethe as people walk on the treadmill. Not that anything is wrong AT ALL with walking on the treadmill, in fact I do it myself on occasion, but oh no, these women (and it is largely women, am not being sexist just truthful) walk on the treadmill AND READ A FREAKING MAGAZINE barely breaking a sweat and the greatest physical exertion they are subjecting themselves to is the turning of the page! ARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!! It drives me batty! And what’s more is there are only 4 or 6 treadmills depending on which one you go to so they’re in short supply and are therefore a rather precious commodity. There are signs all over the show saying ‘Please limit your time on the cardio machines to 15 minutes at busy times’ which makes me antsy! People have been known to stand behind those on the treadmill and ‘tut’ until they get off! HOW RUDE! And 15 minutes is not long enough! (unless you’re doing interval training/H.I.I.T eh, MizFit?!)

I got to the point last week where I did 12 minutes of rowing, 15 on the cross trainer and a weights programme whilst waiting for a treadmill. I got fed up and went home. I began to hate the gym, I hate everything about it. I hate that there’s not enough stuff, that I pay my council taxes AND a fee that supposedly subsidises the gym’s upkeep but so far as I can see they don’t spend it as the equipment is all a bit antiquated – you try interval training on a treadmill you manually have to speed up and slow down by pressing the arrow keys!! I hate that the changing rooms are skanky, I hate that they’re not open on public holidays, I hate the early closing times, I resent the people who do not have to pay for whatever reason, it feels too much like hard work and all the fun has gone out of it. Especially those days that are a real mental battle at work and all I want to do is get on a treadmill and run, forget about my crappy day and then do my other stuff afterward. Not being able to have a choice about how and in what order I undertake my workouts was stressing me out BIG TIME! Particularly those days when you have to convince yourself to go workout!

And then it occurred to me that actually I don’t have to put up with this! I can rejoin The Village! If I actually USE my membership then that’s a justifiable reason right there.

Unbeknownst to me Rachel (she of weightwatchers guru fame – Hi Rach!) had also been feeling this way, she too is a former member of The Village and upon discussing it, we realised that we had (a) become gym snobs and (b) that we are bloody proud to be! Nothing wrong with wanting a little luxury in one’s life!

So, long story short, last night we went over after ww and REJOINED!!!!!!!!!!!!


Yes indeedy my little blog-a-logs, I am a fully paid up member of the swanky gym again……..and ironically in the best shape I’ve ever been whilst a member there hahaha!

I cannot WAIT till 5:30 so I can go and get cracking!


BFP xoxo


Rachel said...

Join that fancy gym! I'm sure you will enjoy it much more. I can relate to your rant - I'm completely incapable of reading when I'm actually working out hard, so the magazine strollers kind of drive me crazy sometimes!

starfish264 said...

Ooooh - I'm jealous that you have a swanky gym you can join! Luckily my council gym is at the end of my road and actually very good - most of the time. But I do find that I have a new dislike for women who put makeup ON to go to the gym - I take mine off as it freefalls off on its own in a river of sweat otherwise!! Those women, and I think they're probably the magazine strollers too, as well as the annoying people who sit at the end of the swimming lane in a laps session and just chat, do my head in. I'm intolerant in my old age lol. Rant over.

Love your blog though :o)

Jen, a priorfatgirl said...

oh crapola. I typed a rather long comment and for some reason, hit the red X closing the window instead of submit. I better go get coffee and WAKE UP!

Anyways, recap of extended comment: Gym sounds great, I agree on the women walking & reading. There. Done. Hitting SUBMIT!

Sal said...

As a member of a private gym myself I heartily concur with your and Rachel's decision. Did you get a joint membership?

WuTang said...

I miss my gym. Since all the economy business happened I've been reduced to my space saver elliptical and workout dvd's in the living room.
Although I do NOT miss the bitches walking on the treadmills.

Rapunzel said...

I belonged to a "ladies only" gym for years, loved the fact that I didn't have to pretty up or deal with the meat market aspect of so many gyms in my area. When that closed I joined a 24-Hour Fitness and hated it! Too many people, too much hubub, etc. etc. Since I was only using the treadmill anyway (i'm not one of 'those' women, though, I do actually break a sweat!) I canceled my membership and bought my own treadmill.

Now I work out in my own home, in the company of my cats, wearing whatever I damned well please, can still work out 24/7 but never have to wait for a machine! Well worth the investment, when I use it, of course.

Liska said...

Oh I shouldn't have read this post (bad timing). I handed in my notice to my swanky gym today - sniff sniff. It was (is) a Classic Club, Virgin Active but at £110 a month I couldn't justify it as I wasn't going often enough (due to long hours at work and not enough self-discipline).

Anyway there is a silver lining in this cloud. I have been having circuit training in a group at £10 a week, and me and my colleagues have got the gym (which only does PT) to agree to let us have circuits twice a week, and use of their gym for £80 a month. As I couldn't justify that plus the £110 and as my 12 month minimum membership was coming to an end I cancelled today.

Only trouble is, the place I do circuits in, is just a weights room and gym so I will sincerely miss my pool, sauna, jaccuzzi, and steam room (sniff) and the stunning changing rooms with hair dryers and molton brown products.

The good thing is they do work us damn hard at circuits and once a week hasn't been getting me fit but twice a week surely will.

Twice a week starts in July but I will get my usual weekly fix of circuits tomorrow.

Enjoy your posh place, sounds lovely :-)