It isn't that I hate exercising, though it is quite boring, but I hate seeing other people exercising. I don't want to see anybody getting sweaty and I imagine they feel the same way about me. Especially as I'm now running (really, Andy, 'running'? is that what they're calling running these days) for 5km each time and at the end of it you could wring out my t-shirt and collect about a pint of sweat. If that was the kind of the thing that you were likely to do - I have no idea who is reading this, so it could be any kind of weirdo - don't worry people of Belper, I'm not still denigrating your home town which is a genuinely lovely place. Oh, sweet Jesus, I am rambling...this is a combination of tiredness and extreme hunger. I will get back to the point...
Ah yes, the gym. So, down the gym there are all sorts of people. There are clearly some very fit people, and there are also some less fit people, and in between there is the whole gamut of human fitness. It's often really difficult for people who are overweight to enter into this sort of environment, to overcome that feeling that everybody is looking at you and sniggering.
"Look at that ridiculous fatty! Look at the fat wibbling and wobbling up and down as he runs! If you can call it running! Why is he even bothering if all he's going to do is walk on the treadmill? Look at the disgusting sweat dripping off him!"
When I first went to the gym, this is what I thought people would be thinking. Especially the trainers! But now I assume they are thinking nothing of the sort. Most people don't do all this horrible judging of other people (the way I just judged fitness trainers). Most people are nice. So when they see a fatty exercising they are hopefully thinking, 'Good for you! Go for it, man!'
Yesterday on the way to work I saw an extremely large man, labouring up a hill on a bicycle, and not far from him there was a lady, who was not a skinny gym bunny, out on a run (and proper running, not like the running I claim to do) GOOD FOR THEM! Everybody should be trying to get a bit fitter because in the end fitness is what counts!
I presume this is why, when ITV changed the format of its Fat Club TV show to feature celebrities, they renamed it Fit Club. And not at all because celebrities don't like being labelled as fat. Unless it keeps them in the papers.
Yes, FITNESS is the thing! And no matter how foolish you may imagine you look, if anybody judges you it's they who are the fools!
However, having said all that...
There is a bloke at the gym. He is a skinny, scrawny string of sinew and muscle with a ridiculous beard. He likes to run on the running machines. Boy does he like to run!
When he gets on the running machines, he turns the speed up to maximum and then he runs for his life!!! He runs like he's got zombies on his tail, like the beard police are after him, like he's Forrest Gump!
Trouble is, at this point he starts to get silly.
I mean, obviously he's running really fast and he's putting a lot of hard work into it (the idiot) and I admire him for that. You don't get to be as stringy and scrawny and sinewy and straggly without a good deal of careful thought and preparation.
But after he's been running really hard for, oooooh, about 2.3 seconds he starts to make stupid noises.
'AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!' he shouts.
'NNNGGGHHHGHGNGNGHGHGHH!!!' he continues, like an idiot.
'AAAAIIIEEEIEIEIEIEIEIEI!!!!!!!' he finishes, before returning to his first statement and repeating ad sodding infinitum.
Or rather, not ad infinitum, because after a burst of crazy screaming and grunting he leaps off the treadmill and puts his feet on either side of it. And then he does the thing that really annoys me. And as anyone knows I am a very patient person who never develops insane, irrational hatreds of people for no good reason. So for this to annoy me, of all people, it must be pretty annoying.
What he does is this.
He looks around furtively to see if anybody has noticed what an effing palaver and fuss he is making. Like a 2 year old child who has fallen over on the ground and looks around to see if anyone is watching, before deciding whether or not to cry.
He is an idiot!
in the gym there are two rows of 5 treadmills. That, mathematics fans, is 10 treadmills. Often there are only 3 or 4 of them in use.
But every time, this lunatic uses the treadmill next to the one I am using, so he is very audible even over the sound of Murray Gold's incidental music (bit of a Dr Who in-joke there, sorry). And once, after he had made all his fuss (and let me be clear, after he has done his little spot of looking around for attention, he jumps back on the treadmill and starts it all again) he had the nerve to turn to me and say, 'Sorry about all the noise.'
I chose to pretend that I hadn't heard him. I don't make conversation with strangers at the best of times (I am very shy) and certainly not with beardy, almost certainly axe-murdery, strangers.
But really, surely treadmills are like urinals?
No, what I meant is that in men's urinals there is an unwritten rule that you do not occupy the urinal next to one that is already in use. You put a space of one or two urinals between you and the next man. Once these positions are occupied, then it is justified to start filling in the gaps, but eyes are kept firmly forwards and more than a couple of shakes is probably inappropriate.
(there is a slight digression I would like to make here, but if you don't want to know about it, I have left it at the bottom of this blog entry and you will have to click on 'Read More' in order to get this exciting bonus content! But don't do it if you don't really want to hear more about men's urinals and possible unsavoury behaviour)
Surely treadmills are like that? Unless you know the person and you want a chat, you don't occupy the next treadmill along. Nobody wants to be spattered by flying sweat, do they?
And anyway, if he was really sorry about all the noise... just don't run like a blooming idiot in the first place! OH MY GOD!!!!
But apart from that one person, nobody who is exercising looks like an idiot. And nobody can judge you harshly for trying to get fit.
And that is my lesson for the day. Come back tomorrow for the third weigh-in. I've been dieting for nearly a month now. It's going to be good!
Right, I'm calm now.
So, I was talking about the number of shakes that are appropriate at the men's urinals.
When I was at secondary school I remember going into the men's toilets at Lancaster Bus Station. I used a urinal and an older man (I can give no information as to actual age other than I was a teenager and this person was, I guess, above school age) came and used the urinal next to me. I have no recollection as to whether he was following the unwritten rule of urinal selection. I don't remember how many people were already present.
All that I do remember was that when he had finished, out of the corner of my eye, it seemed that there was a whole lot of 'shaking' going on.
I made a rapid exit.
I have mentioned this story to people before and it was only after several years that something was made clear to me and I may have been doing this man an injustice and he wasn't doing what I, for years, thought he was doing. If you know what I mean.
The extra information I was given was this. Up until the imparting of this extra information I was genuinely unaware of the whole 'shaking to remove excess urine' thing. I didn't do it, you see, didn't really need to as far as I was aware.
Which further backs up my whole message about not judging people too harshly.
Don't do it!
And, just to be clear, don't do that either.