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Who on earth makes friends at the gym ?!

Who on earth makes friends at the gym ?!

After coming to the (probably intensely false) conclusion that I’m not going to the gym because I don’t like the local municipal one I’m a member of (full of repulsive men and teenagers who think Goldie Looking Chain are dead cool pop heroes), I’ve been on the scout for new gyms in Cardiff.

So last night, I was “invited” to take a look at Fitness First. And thus exposed to the sales patter of just why I should try this new gym, to whit:

– “It’s a fun social atmosphere”. Excuse me, but who on earth goes to the gym to hang out with sweaty people who are either out-of-breath or astonishingly fit and vain?

When I’m at the gym, I don’t want to talk to anybody, or see anybody I know. (Pretty much like the rest of my time). What kind of weirdo do you have to be to try and strike up a conversation with someone who’s dripping with sweat and every sweet breath should be dedicated to staying alive as opposed to discussing Cardiff City?

– “All the latest equipment” – yup, paid for out of the £100 joining fee. The salesman said, with a straight face, that the joining fee was so high so as to guarantee the best quality equipment. And presumably corporate fat-cat salaries.

– “There’s a video library”. Believe it or not, this gym had a video library so you could borrow films for free. Surely the aim is to get people off the couch, not straight back on it? Apparently, though, it’s another motivation trick – if you’ve taken a video from the library, you need to return it the next day or incur fines. And if you’re back at the gym, well, you might as well go work out then.

– 8 video screens to choose from. Which would sell me on the idea if three of them weren’t of Sky Sports, two of them weren’t of Sky News, and one was of ITV. Which leaves possibly three channels I’d want to watch – and none of them were music video channels. What gives ?!

– The sales patter. The guy was doing his best to sound human instead of reeling off a script, but really… If you’re going to charge £100 as a joining fee, you’re pretty much appealing to “professionals”. And if that’s the case, why use such a bad sales technique? Just give us the facts ma’am, and leave us be.

To be fair, the gym looked clean and elegant, the showers seemed fairly nice and the dressing room was fine. Ominously however, there were no windows in the place and no clock either. Which made the gym look like a cross between a shopping mall and casino. And some of the machines look positively weird. If it wasn’t for the transport issues (it’s a two-bus-ride journey from work), I’d sign up.

After a short minimal 15-min workout which left me drenched in sweat (it’s been a while), I left the place. With a marketing pack that the salesperson left for me – although charmingly, he’d left the bus times in there so I’d be able to figure out how to get there and back.

Of course, the alternative would be to buy a car or vehicular transport to get to the gym. (It’s too far to go by bike). But then, with global warming upon us, is it really a good idea to throw in the towel regarding my environmental beliefs and car usage, all so I can attempt to get a reasonable-looking body and get a date? Planetary chaos vs getting laid, in other words…


  • Getting laid is a precursor to having kids. You have to think if it's worth it if the kids are going to live on a knackered planet because you needed to drive to the gym to meet their mother. Tricky.

    I used to be with Fitness First and on the whole they're OK. I don't think any of the gyms have pools, but most have a sauna and jacuzzi which are great for relaxing in. Never met anyone there, never talked much to anyone (aside from the Scouse wanker who insisted on chucking oils on the sauna coals against gym regulations and almost blinded me as a result), just got on with it.

    The advantage I had with them was that, once joined, you can use *any* FF in the country. Great if you travel with work. I'd recommend holding out for a while and keeping an eye on the adverts. They'll do a free or reduced membership offer after a while, they all do.

  • I hate going to the gym. Tried hard for a while but never really got anywhere. Then last year my mate encouraged me to go to an excercise class. I'd always said I'd never do it. I thought the idea was ridiculous. Now I go 3 times a week. I love it. It's fun. I've met a couple of people, I come out buzzing and less stressed etc etc. And it made a difference. I lost some weight, I'm more toned and definitely fitter.
    The class I go to is bodypump, It's different weights excercises to music. We get quite a few blokes turning up. Also some of my mates swear by spin classes (but since you cycle all the time anyway…)
    Just a thought….

  • Sheff

    After a weekend spent as a passenger in a car driven by yourself I can't decide whether to encourage you to buy a car and get more driving practise or give up driving completely for the sake of the safety and sanity of the rest of the population.

    I might just go for the former – especially if it aids you in the quest to get laid – but remember and lock it when leaving it outside your flat.

    Too be fair we made it quite a distance with no incidents or even near misses and I'm sure your driving improves when you don't have a passenger expressing how scared witless he is every 2 minutes alongside you – I know it wouldn't help me and I'm a GREAT driver 😉

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