Gym Jam

Remember that episode of Friends where one of them accompanies another to the gym to stop the recurring charge for the former's unused membership, and ends up getting one himself? Finally realising that another visit to the gym's cancellation department would be unrewarding, they decide to close their bank accounts instead to "cut them off at the source"! While not quite in such a situation yet, I am increasingly feeling the pressure of renewing my health club membership although I haven't been there in almost a month.

My summer began with the best of intentions-- to get myself in shape for the New York Marathon. With that in mind, I drove down to my local spa and health centre to sign up for the summer programme that they had been advertising heavily. After being given a detailed tour of the facilities, I was almost brainwashed into signing up a one-year commitment, but managed to extract myself in the nick of time.

The following couple of weeks saw me driving to the fitness centre as much as three times a week. I consulted with my personal trainer about preparing for the marathon, and the best way to maintain my form. However, something funny happened on the way to the form-- even as the length of the days increased, the action of going to the gym started resembling a chore, an unpleasant duty that could be put off without much effort. Even as my plans to kick off the running season with a 5K warm-up fell apart at the last moment, I was able to convince myself (without much guilt) that I could keep myself in shape by running around the neighborhood lake. Inspiration hit a new low when I did not qualify in the lottery drawings for the NYC Marathon.

My summer membership ends in August and already I am being bombarded with mails hyping the investment being made to modernise the fitness equipment and how the special renewal rates are offered to select members with discerning taste like yours truly. Even though it is unlikely that I shall have much motivation to visit the gym during the short cold evenings of winter, the knowledge that I would have the freedom to exercise that option (even if I don't exercise my body!) is indeed a comforting thought.

If I end up signing the contract for a year, it will be the ultimate triumph of mind over muscle, and marketing over mind!

I can't sit still and see another man slaving and working. I want to get up and superintend, and walk round with my hands in my pockets, and tell him what to do. It is my energetic nature. I can't help it.
Jerome K Jerome, Three Men in a Boat

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