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Diary of an Underachiever

WHEN I WORKED at Men’s Health we often mentioned this strange and unproven fact: that for every minute you spend in the gym, you add a minute to your life. It sounds like a pretty good deal. But, I hasten to add, only if your current life is pretty sad.

See, the problem is, that minute you spend exercising is a minute you are taking from now and tacking it onto the part of life later one might cafacetell -that last decade of life where you’re peeing into a bag and mistaking your children for spiders. The fact is, it’s far better to be careful with your minutes while you’re in the blossom of youth – when you’re still able to pull drunk secretaries at the pub and sneak dope onto an airplane. The trasaddlingom “now” to “later” is wholly unnecessary and wrong – you won’t want that extra time when it’s spent shaddling a bed pan, straining after every nugget of undigested bran. No – as the world moves on you’ll be praying for a quick death, one denied to you by your former self – the guy pumping relentlessly up and down on a stair climber. See, instead you should be pumping that delightful flight attendant found staggering out of the Pig And Whistle with her skirt tucked into her underwear.

But when I say “you”, I really mean “me”. And I only bring this up, because I am at the gym, trying to make sense of why I am here at the gym. I wish I was at the pub.

THE PUB

From every corner, pubs call me with their siren-like belches. I know my friends are already there, happy and drunk, enjoying their minutes while I am sweating out FHM. Charles texts me ­telling me about a wild girl with a speech impediment that he’s got back to his flat.

FHM

thrash, thick neck- his personified thickness relegating the rest of us as bystanders.

The thickness, mind you, .j a badge of bodybuilding. Weightlifters wear their flaws on their puffy, protruding pets. Take, Al Argi bay, a “health insurance for small business owners” who was thrown out of a gym called Planet Fitness recently in New York. He was at the “multi-press station”, about to squat a quarter of a ton. When he was told to stop grunting, he swore at the manager, and was escorted out of the gym by cops. To be fair, there was a sign that specified no grunting- as well as no bandanas and “do-rags”. I found a picture of the guy on the web, and although he wasn’t wearing a do-rag in the photo – his meticulously trimmed goatee and stocky frame suggests he’s probably worn quite a few – usually in front of a mirror, posing… naked and oiled.

These guys make me hate the gym – and they are present in all gyms. Experiment: perhaps you’d like to go to the Café Bar de la Tour Saint Jacques in Paris. Imagine yourself there. Nice. Now replace the name of the bar with 24 Hour Fitness. It’s like stabbing a child in the eye with a violin bow. A gym, much like a marathon, has the power to drain any city of its charm. I love Brussels. The Brussels Marathon, though, sounds like shit.

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