Christopher England fights Fat Bastard Syndrome

The first few weeks of January must be terrible for gym owners.

Ok, yes, there might be new business from those idiots setting themselves ridiculous New Year’s resolutions about shedding a few kilos, but the main annoying issue is that lots of people keep turning up.

By February, things settle back down into it being just the regular Lycra-fannies and gay men.  Everybody else stops turning up, but continues with their £14-99 through to £49-99 monthly direct debit being taken out of their bank account each month.  By paying for a gym whilst never bothering to turn up, these morons believe they are in some way keeping fit and in trim.

Being a sufferer from Fat Bastard Syndrome myself, some years ago I too joined the Gym.  It was located about 2 kilometres away from where I lived, and, as I have previously mentioned, my love of walking meant that it was an easy trot (or shuffle) to and from it.

On arrival for my first ever session, I noticed how the car-park was full to capacity with cars.  Eh?  Why would people trying to get fit drive to the gym?  Crazy.  Maybe it was their laziness and over reliance on their car to get everywhere that was their problem in the first place!  If they walked more, they wouldn’t have to be here.

Now, I should maybe stop and say two main things at this point.  Firstly, for 99% of my life I have thought that gyms were the work of the Devil and where complete tossers hang out.  I have laughed and pointed at them and their vanity.  Secondly, it doesn’t make any sense to me to be doing all the work of, say, riding a pretend bicycle and all that energy going to waste.  I mean, surely such gym machines should be generating electricity for which you get paid at the end of a hard cycling session, otherwise what’s the point?

I mean, were I to open a gym, I’d make sure I fitted every machine up to feed the National Grid, and I’d make a fortune from, er, ‘renewable’ energy.  Well, it can’t generate any less than a wind-farm surely?

Anyway, on arriving for my first ever session, I was already filled with a lifetime’s suspicion and irrepressible loathing.  Now, it appears to be a rule that the first ever time you turn up you have to spend time with an instructor or personal trainer.  He has to assess your likelihood of death and design a regime which suits your needs, and then explain how to use the machines.  I had pre-paid for a package of sessions because the website had convinced me this was what I needed, which meant that for the first x sessions he’d be watching me and talking to me in an encouraging way as well as helping me warm up and cool down.

Now, the first thing I’d noticed was that everybody using the gym didn’t really need to be there.  They were not fat.  Most were exceedingly fit.  Also, all the men seemed to be gay.  Maybe they weren’t all gay, but they certainly looked it.  The women that were there were sexy. Very sexy.  Most were Lycra-fannies. Lycra-fannies are excessively fit and toned ladies wearing figure hugging Lycra that constantly shows in perfect vivid detail the outline of their, erm, well, their vaginas.  This is exciting it itself, but when heavy breathing from their work out and beads of sweat are added to make everything moist and glistening, this is voyeuristic heaven.  Voyeurism is so easy, considering every wall seemed to be a full-length mirror, so there is no need for direct staring at the mounds of Venus pouting out for visual consumption.  It is also probably the only reason why I kept going back.

So, after a full discussion with my trainer about what I needed to work on, and being issued with an electronic key that identified me and made each machine change its settings to ‘pathetic’ and record my progress accordingly, and having been shown how to properly use everything, that was it.  I had nothing left to do, no more faffing about, no more excuses, but I had to just work-out on the machines.  I appeared to suit a treadmill, a cycle, a thing you rotate with your hands, a pretend ski and a thing that was like walking up stairs that never went anywhere.

Looking around the room for the first time I noticed that I was the only actual fat bastard there.  With the trainer keeping an eye on me, I remember huffing and puffing to get the cycling machine working.  It was painful and exhausting and within minutes my legs were crying out in pain.  I couldn’t admit this as the trainer guy was watching.  After a further few moments of hell he came over to ‘calibrate’ the machine to my initial needs.  Each machine is designed to give a resistance according to your needs, and as you get used to it, session by session, it automatically either makes it harder or easier depending on what is needed to make you put in the same amount of effort.

“Hey, it’s got no resistance set up at all.  My bad.  Sorry about that, mate.  You won’t get any benefit from zero resistance.  Here let me sort it,” he mused as he pressed the buttons to make my hell even more hellish.

My regime was to be three days a week, using the machines for set time targets rather than distance or energy targets, all adding up to about an hour and a quarter of total work-out.

At the end of the first day I got a cab home and fell asleep.

After a few weeks I realised that, despite being the token fat bastard, and despite having completely sussed the exact right time to be there to get the fittest Lycra-fannies in my eyeline, I was actually feeling a benefit.  Sure, I was just shuffling along on my treadmill whilst the Lycra-fanny next to me was running at about 300 kilometres an hour, but I was feeling ok, and the Lycra-fanny looked damn good.

My gym experience was short-lived though.  About six months after I joined it caught fire and closed down.

Things often catch fire when they run out of money, but I think this was a real fire, and wasn’t anything to do with me, honest.  However, it was the excuse I needed to stop going.

It was at this point that I decided to take to walking more often.  It is a lot cheaper than a gym and far more natural, even if it does lack in the Lycra-fanny department.