Religious Exercises

In my latest chapter of achieving personal fitness as not having a daily 14 mile round trip on my push-bike  will certainly wreak havoc on my soon to be gelatinous glutials – I have resolved to work the equivalent of a daily cross-county cycle into my academic timetable by joining the gym, that veritable temple of preserving our bodies and souls from gravity, age and chocolate fingers. 

At my previous university, the gym was a magical place where if you breathed in too deeply past the weights room you risked the very real chance of sprouting testicles and so aside from the occasional burst on a cardio machine myself and my friends reserved our energies for the flamboyant flailings of the aerobics classes (keen and synchronised little Chinese girls right at the front, clumsy and giggling art students having a party at the back).

Needless to say, we had a great time and went at least twice a week (following our hard labours up with a curry usually) however I can’t ever recall being ever formally inducted into Gym World, and if I had perhaps I would have taken personal fitness slightly more seriously. It was more of a social occasion rather than one for personal merit or with cellulite or back-fat on the mind and although we must have all been tremendously fit for such regular exertion, I would never have bracketed it in that dull, regimented and sombre of categories as “exercise”. Just like team sports (for those who enjoy them) don’t fall into the same margin as jogging or self-flagellation. 

After an awkward induction into the gym today I feel very much like I have condemmed myself to a regimen that I will very soon associate via my Scottish Puritanical roots with an ingrained guilt motoring a circuit of self-punishment. And just like the Scottish Puritains on a Sunday – you won’t enjoy any of it but you’ll do it because if you don’t the consequences are going to Hell. Or in my case, eating chocolate fingers and watching my bingo-wings drag along the carpet. 

So for those of us, who like me, are terrified of becoming our grandmothers, we join a gym in hopes that our souls can be spared. My induction today was an average gym induction. Soggy-arsed due to the very wet cycle in, I followed a very camp instructor mincing around the various torture devices along with two old dears and a shy good-looking boy who I think was French. The instructor kept on trying to encourage us to stay on for a 1-to-1 including a personal programme and a diet plan… I politely declined giving little solace in squeaking, “perhaps later”. 

Nevertheless, I have now joined the gym and I am returning tomorrow after class to attend the late night sessions. It shall be used on a regular basis – four times a week for an hour each time, and every time I feel terribly guilty about what I have shoved unceremoniously down my gullet. Some would say that is an unhealthy attitude towards my current lifestyle which to be fair is already quite well balanced but, is this just the 21st Century’s answer to what we originally used church for?

Go to church every Sunday and your soul will be spared. Go to the gym every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday evening and Sunday afternoon and your backside will be spared (from dimpling and sagging). When you have sinned, spare your soul and confess to the Holy Father. When you have sinned, spare your backside and jog on a 15 degree incline at such a speed that you look like the Roadrunner on steroids until you sweat out your liver through that patch you always get just above your arse crack and feel so fucking good about it you reward yourself with a big scoop of Caramel Chew Chew when you get home… oh… shit. 

And the wretched cycle will continue thusly.


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