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Triumph, at last!

Yesterday, over a week after I last visited, I went to the health club in the late afternoon.

Having devised a fitness plan consisting of ‘the bleedin’ obvious’ (‘Eat better and less, plus take exercise’), my failure to go to the gym for the above-mentioned length of time had been totally forced upon me by a series of circumstances and – with that important part of my regime ‘gone’ – I’m afraid that my will power on the food intake front also deserted me and recently I have been routinely eating three proper meals a day.

All the above admitted (and, when it comes to food/fitness, confessions are definitely good for the soul), I was pleased to register that I had only gained a couple of pounds over the period. I’m putting this down to the fact that my fitness regime has presumably in some way improved the speed of my metabolism and/or body rhythms.

I guess you can tell I was having a ‘slow news day’ when I report that the biggest and most exciting event of yesterday came about eighteen minutes into my 30-minute stint on the cardio gym’s stepping machine, at about 4.30pm.

You won’t believe it, but the bald-headed git about my age that three times in my previous five visits had been hogging my favourite stepping machine when I arrived and wished to use it suddenly came up the stairs. Spotting me on ‘our’ machine, he looked about as pissed-off as I was on those recent occasions when the situation was reversed and then went off to do a stint on one of the newer, but less senior-citizen-friendly stepping machines.

[I should point out here that the description ‘less senior-citizen-friendly’ probably needs to be clarified. I do not actually know whether the new machines have been deliberately designed in a manner intended to be less senior-citizen-friendly. If and when you should become familiar with their control panel and modus operandi, for all I know, they may well be quite friendly to senior citizens.

The trouble is that, as a senior citizen, I found the old machines very easy to set up and use. These new ones are ‘different’ and I have never quite mastered the system … and, being old, I am shy of going and asking some fit young lady to show me how to programme it, thereby making myself look like an idiot and indeed an old man.

(Not a lot of people know this, but much of an old person’s time in the company of young people is spent trying to disguise the fact that you haven’t got a clue what is going on and – if you admit this – the fear that you’d immediately be tagged by them as probably either ga-ga and/or past it).

What I’m trying to say is that if the new machines were as easy to programme and set-up as the old ones, you’d get no complaint from me – I’d use them. But they’re more complicated and offer more options which I don’t understand, and the handles you swing back and forth as you step are thicker and my hands were perfectly designed to fit the ‘old’ machines’ handles – so (as any old person would say) ‘if it ain’t broke, why fix it?’

Just take it from me, the old machines were superior in design to the modern ones. Why change something that works perfectly?]

And so there we had it. The old bald-headed git (or ‘OBHG’ as he shall now forever be known) was consigned to a ‘new’ stepping machine … I had the old one … and life was wonderful.

I watched from my superior position as he did but five minutes on his ‘lesser’ machine, five minutes doing some pathetic stomach curls on the mat over by the window … and then slid away to go and use the weights room. Not for him on this occasion the forty-minute stint on the old machine that completely buggered up my schedule each time I turned up, I noted with great glee!

I continued for another 12 minutes on the old (sorry, my) stepping machine and then went through to the weights room, triumphant. I had discovered that the OBHG arrives at the gym at about 4.30pm – and, by arriving by chance at 4.15pm, I had gained the upper hand … and the old stepping machine.

The old thing that now worries me is what tactic I should use when I go to the health club today. Should I turn up at 4.15pm again, and thereby risk him have decided to get one over me by deliberately arriving at 4.00pm? (Perhaps I should turn up at £3.45pm?)

Decisions, decisions …


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About Gerald Ingolby

Formerly a consumer journalist on radio and television, in 2002 Gerald published a thriller novel featuring a campaigning editor who was wrongly accused and jailed for fraud. He now runs a website devoted to consumer news. More Posts