I recently took the plunge. I joined a new gym.
Regular readers of this column might be aware that I flirt
with the idea of getting into shape every couple of months,
but these attempts always end badly. I either get intimidated
by men with big muscles, or end up eating Victoria Sponge
in the conveniently located (and very well priced) cafés that
always seem to be less than twenty metres from every
single gym in the world.
But this would be different. I would not eat cake, because I
had will power.
And I would refuse to be intimidated by the muscle machines
doing the weights because I am man enough not to get hung
up on those sorts of things. (And also, I would download
a podcast and hence be lost in my own world, free of the
judgements of those people who could blow me over with
one puff.)

And it was with this mindset that I went to this flash new
gym, ready to start a new chapter.
I had even decided that I was going to do it sensibly this time.
I know that I have a habit of trying to go too hard too fast                                                (I once pulled a muscle at line-dancing class because I thought
I should make it more ‘gangsta’, so now I was going to go slow.
Work my way up.
First up, the treadmill, what harm could come of that?
For the first 7 minutes, no harm at all. It was all going
swimmingly. I was jogging away, listening to an interview with
a person who once knew someone who thought he might have
seen an alien (some podcasts can be very hit and miss), when
all of a sudden, a man who looked like he was a gym regular (he
was wearing a singlet) walked by with a Tupperware container
and spoke to me.
But because, of course, I had my headphones on, I couldn’t hear
him. And in a strange way, that made me happy. Because I was
on a mission. I wasn’t here to fall for intimidation-mind games, I
was here to work out.
I just smiled at him and carried on listening to my frankly quite
weird podcast, but he wasn’t put off. Gym man kept talking to
me. And now he was pointing at his container.
It was obvious that he was not going away.
Reluctantly, I made the decision to talk to him and see what was
so important that he felt the need to interrupt the journey that
my body had undertaken in order to become a walking, talking,
work of art (ahem).So I pulled my headphones out.
However, when I did this, I pulled so hard that I also pulled my
phone out of my pocket.
And it was here that my lack of treadmill experience meant that I
got slightly confused as to what I should do next.
What I should have done, of course, was press the stop button
on the treadmill and then proceed to pick up my phone.
Like any normal person would do.
I didn’t so that.
Instead, I just stopped walking and bent over.
Not realising that just because I stopped, it didn’t mean that the
treadmill did.
In fact, it kept going.

The result (as anyone with even rudimentary knowledge of
how motion works would be able to figure out), was that I
immediately flew backwards off the treadmill through the door
that was directly behind me and straight into a man who may or
may not have been kissing his muscles whilst looking at them in
the mirror.
As Tupperware man (struggling to repress the laughter) helped
me to my feet, I asked him why he had wanted to interrupt my
“My wife made some cakes, so I was wondering if you wanted
any. I know some people can feel intimidated when they join a
new gym. I was trying to be nice.”
With muscle-kissing man looking like he wanted to flatten me, I
took the whole container, and went home.


© 2018 – VIDA Magazine