Saturday, June 12, 2010

Is There a Gym Community?

Juneathon day 12: Gym

My gym is an ugly building - just a box but probably most gyms are the same. It gives little scope for my daily juneathon photo so instead I have used something else from I noticed: the number of bees in the garden. Maybe it is national been day or perhaps bee command decided to target this small area of Hemel Hempstead; whatever - they are all over the place. So day 12 will be marked by a picture of a bee pollinating an aster.

As for the exercise the most I can say is that it happened: (50 minutes 15 cross trainer, 15 rowing, 10 weights, 10 stretching)

Yesterday Phil asked me how my legs were holding up - the answer is not too bad but they do feel a bit leaden so I decided to go to the gym. Malheureusement - when I arrived all the rowing machines were taken. The only alternative was a cross-training machine. So I did 15 minute of that before a rower became vacant.

Why do I find some machines more boring than others? The are all basically the same in that you stay in the same place whilst moving your arms and legs in a prescribed way, but some are more enjoyable than others. The cross trainer, for example was really dull and the 15 minutes passed very slowly yet time on the rower went much more quickly. There is no good reason for this: the cross trainer was not physically harder (in fact I put more effort into the rower) and the view was only slightly different. So why?

I phrased the question as ‘less boring’ because nothing in a gym is really interesting. The pleasure comes from the warm glow your body gives you when it has been worked and the satisfaction of achieving a target, rather than the activity itself. I looked round the room for signs of enjoyment but all I saw were people in their personal space with inward-looking eyes, no communication, no joking, and hardly anybody acknowledged anybody else's existence. Gyms really are fitness factories.

When I finished, in the changing room, there was a huge contrast. A martial arts club had just finished and they were talking in groups, passing on tips, demonstrating moves, or generally chattering and laughing. They were involved both with each other and what they were doing. I know this is an unfair comparison because these people are in a club and have probably known each other for a long time, whereas nobody in the gym knew anybody else. But I think the difference was that together they were all trying to develop their skills.

Machines in the gym require very little skill.

Juneathon statistics 112/12
run 8/12
distance 52.63
time 4hr 39min
Cycle 2/12
distance 39.8 miles
time 2hr 58min
Gym 2/12
time 1hr 35min


Shunningrunning said...

Love today's photo!

Anonymous said...

A bee pollinating an aster is a far better image than anything of a gym.

I'm always intrigued when people talk about people using gyms to meet people. Apart from the gaggles of grunting men, I've hardly ever seen anyone speak to anyone else.

Anonymous said...

lovely photograph today. As for the gyms, I once did a visit for business to a very large one in Barcelona and that was a pretty disturbing experience. It was a like the humans turned into hamsters and all ran in wheels as long as they pumped hip hop into the rooms. It was like the 1984 of fitness. While I would love to use the machines, I just can't face that atmosphere...

Adele said...

I have made friends at the gym, but only through classes, not just using the equipment. If you attend a regular class you do feel a sense od cameraderie after a while and we used to go for drinks sometimes too.