I remember when those fitness temples started years ago. Everyone was attending some form of training. My daughter and a friend of hers cajoled me into joining a local gym because three people got a colossal discount on the membership fee. I have to admit that while I will sit down every morning and hammer out between 1,000 to 2,000 words of a novel (that's roughly 4 or 5 pages, I think), I am notoriously undisciplined about everything else. I eat more chocolate than is good for me, for one thing, and I keep putting off things like tidying drawers or cupboards or even doing a full clean of my apartment until I am "in the mood" as I like to put it.
I remember going to that gym for the first time. A very nice, fit young man showed me the ropes (almost literally!) and gave me loads of advice on what apparatus to start on, ending with the necessity of warming up and cooling down. I bought myself some gear and started off on the treadmill. This was supposed to be the warming up phase but I soon got bored with that and went on to do the exercise for strengthening my back muscles. When I'd finished that- it didn't take long - I didn't feel like doing much else so I hopped back on the treadmill to do the cooling down bit and then I wandered over to the fruit juice bar where tanned and very fit looking people were enjoying colourful drinks and chatting about abs and pectorals and exciting stuff like that. I remember downing my fruit cocktail, if I recall aright it was a mixture of kiwi, mango and some minty stuff, and then strolling back to the changing room, towel draped artistically around my neck, looking - probably - as if I had spent a few hours working out. I kept that up for a number of weeks, happily taking leave of my colleagues with the words "I'm off to the gym". And I did go to the gym. I went in the evening after work, on Saturday afternoons and on Sunday mornings. There was one guy there who was always at the fruit bar and who I never saw doing any actual training. He was tall and slim with blond hair and a white smile in a suntanned face and he seemed to be on first name terms with just about everybody, except perhaps me. He got on my nerves after a while I am ashamed to admit.
I never really did anything athletic and I think the whole thing (I was going to say "exercise") was a complete waste of time and money but I felt I was one of the "in" crowd. Quite frankly, the most exercise I got was having a go on the treadmill and getting annoyed with people who parked their towels on the back-exercise apparatus, chatting to fellow devotees and thus blocking my use of that device. Not that I would have used it for more than 10 minutes.
The most sensible thing I did was to let my membership lapse. My health did not deteriorate in any way, I did not put on weight (I had not lost any, to begin with). The main benefit was to my bank account.
Nowadays, I walk everywhere as I no longer have a car, living in the centre of town with a bus stop just down the road, I don't need one. And I love to walk on the beach. Which only goes to show that the best gyms in life are free - well, that's my story!