Total wellness

Tuesday, September 6th, 2005

The new era has begun. Or something.

I'm just back from the gym after a three-quarter hour induction by a diminutive spiky-haired dry-slope skier, followed by a half-hour session on a variety of torture machines. I may have over-sold my general level of decrepitude to him, however, as the speed he set the running machine at wouldn't have challenged a blind 95-year-old, hobbling backwards.

It actually went rather well, even though I arrived with the same sort of feeling that I normally turn up to the dentist with. There were quite a few people there, but the place is so large that there was still acres of empty space to hide in. And also, crucially, not many mirrors to be embarrassed by. So my main fear, of being noticed, didn't happen.

Actually, most of the people seemed to be there for a coffee, or were disappearing onto the golf course – because this, you see, isn't just a gym. It's a racquets and fitness spa, offering a programme for total wellness. Or some such bollocks. But around here the choice lies in one of three directions: Hampton Pool gym, full of smug marrieds and their frightful offspring: Feltham Airparks gym, which I've only ever been to for council meetings but strongly suspect is chav-central: and this place, which is posh and expensive, but also well set up, welcoming and professional. Easy decision, really.

So, something of a success then. But it appears, most unreasonably, that I have to go back and do it all again several times a week. This seems very unfair – I've paid the money, I've turned up once and sweated a bit – what more do they want from me?

Work, it would seem. And there I was hoping someone else could do that bit of it for me, while I watched and ate crisps.

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.