Whatever my next “adventure”, whether it be in winter or summer, 2011, 2012 or beyond, I need to be a bit fitter than I was for the last one. I wasn’t at the peak of fitness when I set off for Brindisi on the 18th July but by the time I arrived, despite the volume of food that I ate, I felt OK. Nothing more than “OK” however. How wonderful it would have been to set off as a lean, mean, cycling machine and arrive, 3,200 kilometres later feeling even better!
In addition, since arriving back in the UK at the end of August, I have just eaten, drunk and generally let myself go. Perhaps it was always going to be the case that after all that exertion. Apart from cycling to work (and I was far too quick to ask my friend Jo for a lift last term), I have done no exercise. Two months of slobbing around. It has to change, so this morning I did the sensible thing; I rejoined the gym!
Gyms are notoriously secretive on their websites. I challenge you to find a website of a private gym that actually tells you how much it costs to join and be a member of that gym. Impossible! The council run gym tells you, as does the University gym here in Reading but the rest of them, no! You have more chance of bumping into Cyril Smith on the treadmill next to you. And he’s now dead! So it’s always with a bit of trepidation that I have either rung or visited a gym for fear of being forced into signing something that I can’t really afford simply because I don’t want to look like a skinflint. A few years ago I went down to the David Lloyd gym in Reading – the nearest one to where I live – and was shocked to find out that, in addition to the joining fee I would have to fork out over £80 a month for the pleasure of using their facilities. I remember the woman who I spoke to actually asked me how much I was expecting to pay before she told me; what is this? A game show? “I’ll think about it and let you know” was the answer I gave and which she knew was a euphemism for “No, sorry, I can’t afford but I don’t want to admit that to you. Please end this conversation now and show me where the door is”.
I used to be a member of Cannons gym near the Madejski stadium in Reading. That was about four years ago. I joined with a friend and as we were both teachers (I think we could have been anything and still got a discount – that’s marketing for you!) we got a reduced price and it cost us about £40 each per month. Not a bad price, especially as the place had a swimming pool as well. Cannons is now Nuffield Health “Fitness & Wellbeing” and I have been toying with rejoining for some time. I phoned them on Friday and the prices were still within my price range so this morning, I went down, signed up and had my first session back in the gym. The first month is free although the “joining fee” which, lets face it is just bollocks, was £29 and the monthly cost £51 so my first month is really just at a reduced price. I could have reduced the monthly cost to a very reasonable £44 (the university gym is £33 but you have to surround yourself with young, fit people; at least at places like Nuffield Health there are plenty of old fatties around to make you look good – perhaps they are paid to be there….) but that would have meant signing on for 12 months. I’m not quite ready for that.
So I have done the most difficult bit and actually joined. The next bit is easy; keep going every Saturday and Sunday morning and, within a few months, I will have the body of an adonis. Simples!
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