The Bittersweet Calling Of The Gym

The Bittersweet Calling Of The Gym

Despite being a gym-goer, summer is here and I’m not the size I signed up to be. In terms of being ‘beach body ready’ I am not, I never was, so I’m not entirely sure what the heck I’m supposed to look like to be honest.

My gym experience starts in the locker room. If you’re a man reading this, you’re probably picturing svelte ladies, all oiled up and naked, drying each other with white towels. No. A long haired blonde lady using a hairdryer in slow motion and a beautiful brunette moisturising her legs… also in slow motion. No. However, if you’re a woman you know what’s up. No pretty ladies, no trim “areas”, no glam anything. No matter what, there is always an old lady bending over with her wrinkly bum in sight. There’s always that proud hairy lady, showing off her hairy pits, hairy bush, hairy legs, hairy everything. There’s that larger than life, middle aged woman spraying lemon fresh deodorant and patting talc into her folds. Yes, this is the gym. These people will soon become part of your routine; dodge them, nod hello, whatever you need to do to make a successful beeline to your favourite locker. In my case, being slightly OCD – or just feeling at ease with nice looking numbers – I’ll choose 282 or 424. Even numbers and repeating patterns, they just look friendly.

Headphones in and treadmill on. I’m not sure if you know, but I absolutely hate working out. Detest, dislike, it bores the crap out of me. I need a distraction to what’s going on because the lack of anything remotely interesting is too apparent. There is never good music in my gym, nor any gym that I’ve had the displeasure of joining. It’s always weird techno, or dance music that never seems to be in anyone’s playlist. The videos never match the music either, its always the news or whatever is on channel 4 – in my case Frasier. Admittedly, this does catch my eye now and again, unfortunately long enough to make it look like I’m watching the guy lifting weights underneath the screen. Sigh, yet another thing I hate: why do guys always think you’re impressed by what they’re doing? I have no interest in any of you. I mean, yes, I’m married, but I still know what’s attractive! I know that that guy from Grey’s Anatomy is the most beautiful yummy eye candy to ever grace my screen, but these guys…*sigh*…these guys need to stay in their lanes. Jesse Williams on the other hand, Jesse Williams of Shonda Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy, if you’re reading, you can work out at my gym. I will NOT be watching Frasier.

Whilst I continue stepping up the intensity on this pathetically boring machine whilst flicking through Tidal for tunes that came out in the 90’s, I can’t help but wonder why Gym stereotypes exist. The pair of girls in coordinated bralet and leggings combo, their hair in immaculate top buns and full face of makeup including lashes. How does that shit stay on? I’m paranoid of wiping a brow off, but damn, you girls have MAC skills!


Token skinny white guy, token Chinese guy, token white guy who only works on his arms and sports a Golds Gym armless Tee. Why do you all exist? How do you all exist in every gym I have ever been a member of?  Admittedly, I have a soft spot for token Asian couple who workout together. Workout as in walk on the treadmill at 0.5km ph for 5 minutes then sit and chat on the bike machines for a further half an hour. They’re both equally slow and effortless wearing matching faded jersey tracksuits and Hi-Tec’s. Do gym stereotypes get discounts? Why are they always there?

I guess in someone else’s mind I’m token black girl that mimes to Beyoncé and rhythmically pounds the cross trainer. It’s ok, I admit it, it’s just one thing that I do to make this mundane experience a little more bearable. Headphones in, Nicki Minaj on max, eyes down when those personal trainers see me frantically trying to cover my gut whilst my top doesn’t cooperate with my rhythmic pounding.

If it was up to me, the experience of going to the Gym would be so much more pleasurable. The tangy smell of bio would be masked with incense and blown away by the latest air-con system. The shit dance music that no one listens to would be replaced by MTV Base (#SorryNotSorry). I, the sweaty ‘mum-tummed’ rhythmic ‘workerouterer’ would have one of those expensive proper sports bras that keeps your nipples intact. I’d even have great neon trainers that everybody seems to have nowadays. No offence Nike, but even my crap trainers sigh when they spot themselves in the mirror. Older-than-my-6-year-old-child, been-in-the-washing-machine-twice-so-the-leather-looks-matt, white Nike trainers. I can’t possibly justify getting new trainers at this moment in time. That voice in my head, the one has true hatred for this ‘gym life’ may finally convince me that Champagne breakfasts would be more fun and therefore better than owning a gym membership.

On the other hand, the other voice, the tiny, little, shrivelled, almost anorexic looking Nicole Richie wannabe, is begging me to stay. She wants to be seen. She enjoys getting annoyed about the fact I’m too tight to buy a proper iPhone holder so my iPhone doesn’t slide up and down whilst working out. She loves the fat guy who’s cross-training for dear life because he’s desperate to work off his years of donut-eating depression. She loves the fact that I get a bit smug when the woman after me lowers the weight on a machine that I call ‘The booty maximiser and thigh gap buster’. We are happily maintaining the zero thigh gap that I once craved. Thank you Beyoncé, for helping me embrace my thighs.

So after all that it seems to me that there are some things that I would miss if I didn’t go. I can’t really complain as it’s only a few hours a week, a few hours without children asking for things or demanding to be heard. It’s the one place I get to escape laundry and work, ok, maybe not work as I check emails, but you catch my drift. Who knows, after all of this hard work my ‘beach body’ might just be ready for 2017.


  1. Lizzie

    Awww no! You need to come to my gym! >_<

    We workout to old school garage, and cool down to Reggae and RnB, enough to keep you returning, I never do a class where I don't like the music, we have instructors that count TO THE BEAT, and as for that gym floor.. it never sees me. It's far too boring. Unless I have a friend by my side, because I have too much pride to stop running.

    As a self confessed gym addict I can completely understand why people don't like the gym because even I am fussy when it comes to what exercise I do. But there is always some type of exercise that you'll enjoy.. you just have to find it! Keep at it.. you'll get there!

  2. Sareta

    OHHHH I’m obviously missing out! There are great classes around, I just nee motivation… either a gym buddy or this R&B/ Reggae beats. Basically I need to come live near you 😀

    • Lizzie

      Haha! To be fair my spin instructor is very similar to that. Which is why I love spin, when everyone else hates it hahaha.

      You should come to the next spin event at Reebok sports club, canary wharf! Will let you know about future ones, this one sold out in 20 mins….

      • Sareta

        WO! No way! ok… let me build myself up to a good standard of fitness before I commit 😀


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