As a dude with a love for things like Kentucky Fried Waffles, and who believes that second helpings are a God-given right, I have to exercise regularly in order to not turn into the type of person that needs a seatbelt extender on a plane.

Now there’s a globo-gym across the road from the building that I work in and another one a block away, and because I’m with that medical aid that also gives you cheap movie seats, it allows me to go to either one of these for less than R100 a month.

So then why did I just cancel my membership?

After all, going to one of these globo-gyms would seem to make the most sense, especially considering that everyone that I work with does. In fact, not only is it accepted to put in an hour’s gym while on company time, it’s encouraged, so it’s not like I’d even have to take time out of my personal life to fight fat. No, I could just slot in an hour during the workday and then spend my free time channel surfing while lying on the couch.

But it’s just not worth it. And here’s why.

Personal Trainers
If those that can do – do, and those that can’t do – teach, then those who can’t even teach – teach gym. (Shout out to my primary school PT teacher Mr. Smit!) Personal Trainers are even worse than Mr. Smit because instead of having to deal with just one you have fifteen of them. There’s something about a man who wears clothing made out of parachute material that makes him not to be trusted. And it’s not just how they stand around in their non-breathable tracksuits sexting their stay-at-home mom clientele all day, it’s how they do this while some poor dude has pretzelled himself in the leg-press machine. And please don’t show me your Boston diploma and think that that allows you to tell me how many dips I should be doing. When I was boxing my trainer there had cut-out six holes from the front of his T-shirt in order to show off his abs. Now that’s a qualification.

Public Nudity
Because my parents liked me enough to actually want to spend time with me, I didn’t have to go to hostel. So as a dayboy the only time I’ve ever had to have my dick out around other dudes was when being initiated. Maybe that scarred me? Now I just can’t do it. Firstly I’m a grower not a shower, and after cramming my junk into some netted shorts and then squashing it into various seats for an hour, it looks even less amazing than usual. So between my vanity and the creeps – that guy with the acne scars in the hot pants who dives into the pool on your last lap, then decides to hit the showers as you exit so that he can stand across from you and say something like, “No, don’t rush, I’ll just stand here and wait.” – I’m the antithesis of the dude with his towel thrown nonchalantly over his shoulder, blow-drying his hair in the buff while his balls tea-bag the stone countertop.

Fat People
In the same way that hospitals are full of sick people, the gym is full of fat people. Which would be fine if they stopped being so fat after 12 weeks. But they don’t. They stay fat and then ask to share a lane with me while I’m swimming, their grotesquerie on full display in a tight swathe of Speedo, their navel lint floating in front of my goggles… Remember how back in the day unmarried women who fell pregnant had to leave home before the second trimester so that they could go have their kid in the sticks so as not to bring shame on their family? Fat people should go burn off their excess weight at a special Plus Sized Gym and when they’re only a few shits behind they can come and work out at a normal size gym. And if that’s wrong then I don’t want to be right.

Stupid People
Instead of driving from work to gym so that you can sit on a stationary bicycle for an hour, why don’t you just cycle home?

That Music
Ace of Base style power pop that provides a metronome for gym instructors to shout out their aerobics class instructions. The horror.

That Smell
Imagine you walked into Clicks and took the top off of every tube, opened every jar, spritzed every aerosol and then started sweating and farting up the place. Axe Body Spray plus Deep Heat plus a generic fungal foot cream equals the ambience of your average gym. Gross.

And those are just some of the reasons why I quit the gym. And it’s easy to call bullshit on something and then offer no solution. Which is why I’ll tell you this: Play real sports. Go outside. Hit the monkey bars, man. Whatever.

Me, I play football twice a week, do pull ups whenever there’s something to grip onto, surf when there are waves, run my dog, take the stairs, offer to help carry things, give up my seat… Every day offers the opportunity to burn off those extra calories, and most of the time you’ll be interacting with real people.

Oh, and all you niche gym goers slow-clapping me for taking swipes at the glob-gyms? Stop that, because you’re next. What, your training is soooooooo functional? Ho-ho, like I’m sure your Spartacus workout is going to be really useful the next time you need to battle some Persians. Do me a favour…

But hey, it could be worse, you could be doing nothing at all.

I’ll try anything once. Did gym. Not for me. Troll me in the comments below to lemmeknow your thoughts.

  • Matthew Freemantle

    Well said, well written and, well, correct. It continues to baffle me that you are able to string a sentence together having spent your first 18 years in Gonubie, where the only readable text in town is a misspelt menu painted on the front of the only cafe advertising ‘Paloney Gastbies and Stake Pyse’. Nevertheless, I tip my hat.

    • Dylan Muhlenberg

      Thanks for your comment, Matt. I was actually born in Amanzimtoti, did my pre-schooling in Benoni and then moved to Gonubie when I was about 5. This head-start might explain why I read more good than my ‘Slunden mates.

  • Boet! You need to klap the gym boet! Otherwise how you goin’ to get a lekker tanned belter! (Channes inner Tigermonkey parody blog post). But seriously. I agree with you 100% The only reason I joined the virgin active here in Long street is to use their squash courts 🙂