I love the gym. I love it. Correction. No I don't. I love working out; the agony of it. Sadistically speaking, I love the feeling of sweat dripping down my back, the tension in my legs buckling under pressure from a barbell and the pain in my lungs as I gasp for breath. Why? Because it's the only way I get to eat what I want (I eat a lot) without morphing into a rotund, shapeless ball of lard like Rik Waller. There are many things in life which require willpower: quitting smoking, abstinence and dieting, neither of which I'm any good at. The only willpower I have is being able to get myself to the gym- it's the means to an end, the only way to counteract my daily calorific intake.
The trouble is although I love working out, I in fact hate the gym. There are simply too many distractions which prevent me from keeping me focused on my goal. First off, upon entering, you'll be sure to find a conveniently placed cafe which you have to walk past in order to get to the fitness suite. If your will power succeeds and you overcome the temptation for a coffee and croissant before you workout, the desire is still there and even more apparent on your way out when you're twice as hungry. Many times I see women fall prey to the trap; one minute they're slaving away on cross-trainer, the next they're downstairs scoffing a piece of cake. I usually get around this obstacle by marching straight past the cafe reluctant to stop for anyone who wishes to say hello. The next enticement which provokes you into abandoning your self-discipline is of course the spa. Occasionally such establishments are considerate enough to keep the leisure facilities out of eye-shot from the actual gym itself. Unfortunately for me at my gym, the spa is thoughtlessly situated directly below, and in full view of the cardio and weight machinery. While I'm sprinting away on the treadmill like a bat out of hell, the seduction of seeing others lounge about and relax leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, so much so I'm often tempted to press 'stop', pack it in and slip into my bikini. It's taunting, and yet I refuse to stop my workout because I can't stand the thought of myself looking fat in my swimwear- and belly flopping into the pool. It's always exercise first, spa later. I guess that's down to my fear of laziness. I have a constant morbid fear of becoming one of those people who loiters around by the pool but never uses the gym. You know, the kind of person that makes themselves feel better by joining a gym but ends up using it for indulgent relaxation purposes only.
I never understand why people join the gym purely for pleasure. The gym is not meant to be fun, it's meant to be gruelling, so why is it all I ever seem to see are women nattering away to each other walking 1mph on the treadmill? Do they think that by exercising their jowls they'll miraculously burn fat off their hips? That's not a workout. And lovingly gazing at your muscles in the mirror isn't either. The amount of bulky, testosterone fuelled men I see shamelessly admiring their appearance astounds me. It's as if they think the gym is a catwalk where they can showcase their pride to an attentively jealous audience. If they never actually lift weights how do they get so big? Somebody pray do to tell me the secrets to their success. Protein shakes? Maybe. Steroids? Likely. After multiple strenuous workouts I tend to feel deflated if I don't see any immediate visible results and so usually revert to striking up a conversation with a personal trainer to reassure my ego. The trouble is personal trainers normally fall into three categories: they're either too nice, too brutal, or they want to get in your pants. This leads me to believe the best way to retain my willpower is to keep myself to myself, precluding yet another distraction.
The gym poses an unavoidable quagmire. The first hurdle is joining one. The second is declining its fruitful amenities if you ever manage to actually set foot in it. It's as if gym's do everything they can to prevent their members from reaching their goals, taking your money then placing every possible temptation before them as if a test. Sometimes I think it'd be easier to just go for a run outside, at least then I wouldn't have to deal with the extras and I can keep my integrity intact.