There seems to be a certain wave going around on physical fitness and wellness.
Suddenly, everyone is hitting the gym and is obsessing on how many steps they have on their activity tracker or how many calories they have consumed in that day. However, just like all other well-intentioned things, the inhabitants of the fitness universe are threatening to make life for the rest of us pure hell.
Let’s start with the visit to the gym. For most of us, visiting the gym feels like heading to the torture chamber.
Once there, you will often encounter trainers who usually look like they were chiselled not created with their firm abs, tight behinds - they make for good eye candy.
However, most of them like to dole out terror and fear in what they call ‘consulations’, which often feels like an inquisition.
The trainer or instructor (they like to be referred to by either of these names), will inquire about everything you have eaten and drunk in the last week, month and in some cases your entire life.
Their chiselled faces usually scowl and frown at the mention of chips, soda or sweets.
The next step comes once the trainer unleashes his tools of trade, which should be called tools of misery and torture where they measure and weigh the ‘client’ to determine how much work they have to put in. Rarely will they jump with joy at what the weight scale displays and rarely will they accept explanations about how big-bones run in your family.
Once they decide to fix your weight, they then run your life. They device exercise programmes whose only aim is to cause you pain and humiliation, they come up with diets whose sole purpose is to turn you into a miserable vegetarian and send texts to admonish you any time you violate their rules by maybe having a plate of chips or a tiny drink.
Once you have made it past the trainer, you make your way into the main gym where you will find that the line about people being fearfully and wonderfully made is actually true.
On one side you will have those who are new in the struggle - often spotting some generous layers of lard and cellulite and looking a bit out of place in their new work out gear.
Then you have the show-offs , usually those skinny girls who have no ounce of fat on their bodies, have flat tummies and who prefer to catwalk in the gym. In another corner, you will have the grunters, the men who come to the gym to test their testosterone levels. These guys like to lift heavy weights often to show off to the skinny girls or establish their ranking in the male food chain.
The downside of the gym is that it is a sweaty place and you soon realise many people lack the sweat etiquette. You will find sweat machines who emit so much sweat as if they imagine that they could make a foray into the carbon credits market for their carbon emissions. To make matters worse, they so love their sweat that they forget to use deodorants or even towels and we mere mortals have to deal with the sight and smell of the stinky mess they leave behind.
One of the greatest benefits of going to the gym is the benefit of gossip. It seems that once you regularly share the humiliation that comes with gym workouts you lose all inhibitions and freely trade information on the latest happening in the city.
It is amazing how gym changing rooms are gym FM studios where the latest news on who is bedding who, who is losing his job or the election is happily traded. Gyms are also the place to find partners to do things with.
Gym instructors have been known to provide stretching services outside working hours and once you have seen endurance and stamina in the gym, the rest are details.
However, most of those who subscribe to this philosophy of fitness and weight loss become somewhat fanatical and become crusaders against all they consider sinful and unlawful in the holy book of fitness.
They can be a vexation to the spirit when they show up for parties and spend lots of time lecturing people on how many calories they are inhaling as they consume their favourite fizzy drink and tipple. Others like to talk about their fitness achievements as if they have discovered the cure for some life-threatening disease.
They like to ply anyone who cares to listen with statistics about how many calories they burnt, how many kilometres they ran or how many reps they scaled in the gym. This reduces them into boring, self-obsessed souls.
If you have chosen to go to the gym, to live and eat clean then more power to you! Live your life and if possible live it quietly the whole world does not need to know.