Gymtastic


Just over a month ago, I joined the gym.  For many people this would probably not be a particularly significant thing, but for me it certainly is.  As a non-sporty academic type of person, the gym is a strange, alien environment where I feel somewhat out of place, even after a dozen or so visits, but I’m determined to keep going.  During term time it will be even stranger, as the place will start to fill up with ridiculously fit sport science students who will make me feel most inadequate just by existing, let alone throwing weights around like peanuts and making the rowing machine beg for mercy…

Anyway, my motives for joining the gym are many and confused.  The choice of gym was easy, as the university I work for gives a staff discount at its gym, which is good.  So, why have I joined?

Physical health.  My family has a history of dodgy tickets, and my granddad passed away this year following a heart attack.  Therefore, it makes an awful lot of sense to keep fit and give my heart and other bits a chance to keep on working properly for a good long time.  I’m also aware that I’m near the top end of recommended weight for my height, so I should fight to stay within that band.  When I’m not doing a show, my weight climbs gradually and my middle swells, and I can’t really count on a constant supply of musicals with sufficient dance to shed pounds, can I?

Mental health.  Exercise is good for mental health, particularly clinical depression.  I don’t really understand why, but it’s something to do with the chemicals that get released when you exercise, and must be related to the reasons that singing is so good for depressed people.  So regular exercise means I have a better chance of having any minor problems stay as minor problems rather than develop into a major relapse, which has to be a good thing.

Vanity.  The next major show I’m likely to be involved in is Kiss Me, Kate.  For all bar three or four of the men, this means that a major costume ingredient is tights.  I’ve worn tights on stage before, but I was slimmer and fitter then.  If the audience is going to see me in tights, then they’re going to see a me with actual muscles and a lack of excess wobbly bits.  It doesn’t bother me hugely, but it bothers me enough to want to do something about it.  Of course, having this as a motivation means that I’ll inevitably be one of the lucky men who wears trousers throughout!

I’m not sure which of those strands is the biggest motivation for my gym attendance, and I know it is a mix of the worthy and the ridiculous, but hopefully they will keep me going, and allow my physical and mental health to improve, with nice side-effects in terms of self-confidence.  I already feel healthier, and am aware of muscles where there never were muscles before, although the waistline and weight appear unchanged thus far.  As I paid up front for a one year membership, I certainly hope this isn’t a fad.  And by then, I may start to enjoy the gym for more than the intriguing people-watching it affords.

    • Teuchter
    • September 2nd, 2006

    I agree with the people watching, D: it is fascinating – and for every person who’s fitter than you, there’ll be two who are less fit.
    The time we met , you struck me as being a slim sort of chap – but exercise is indeed good for releasing endorphins, the happy hormones.

    I find my i-pod invaluable for the more boring gym stuff. Most of the tunes I have stored on mine have at least 60 beats-to-the-minute and I find it impossible not to keep to the beat.
    GoFaster tunes 😀

  1. Sadly, I don’t have an iPod or any other mp3 player thingummy, so I have to rely on whatever random music channel is on in the gym. I started laughing last week when (for some reason) ‘Summer Nights’ was played, and everyone apart from the treadmill people slowed down to a near-standstill at the end of the song. As you said, you just can’t not keep to the beat!

    I’m not hideously overweight or anythig, but there’s certainly a noticeable bit around the middle that shouldn’t be there! A can’t even blame beer, as I don’t like the stuff…

  2. I’m assuming you are thinking that the vanity issue is your ridiculous one. Not sure I’d agree with that – it’s all about feeling better about yourself really. Still, whatever keeps you going as you say!

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