I have moaned about this before – see Gymrage – but there are people I regularly see in the gym and out pounding the streets who are putting me right off my fitness groove. People are distracting me and it’s doing my head in. My concentration goes fuzzy and as the sociologist type that I am I can’t help but spend hours trying to figure out their back-stories. There really are more important things to be thinking about in the middle of the night. But what can I do? I can’t exactly leave the house with a blind-fold on or I might cause more damage than I do already – see Trip Advisor.
So here are the main culprits. There’s a 30-ish-year-old woman who goes to Gymbox in Holborn who works out like a mentalist – sweating profusely on the treadmill and giving it loads on the rowing machine – with the aid of full-on 80’s make-up and massive bouffant hair-do. I can’t help but stare at her, scrutinising the layers of black eyeliner and blue eyeshadow waiting for it to slide across her face and make her look more like Adam Ant than Debbie Harry. But it doesn’t. Her make-up remains entirely intact – as does her back-combed, perfectly hair-sprayed barnet – and she styles out her whole gym session with aplomb. How she does it, I have no idea. But I hate her for it. I can’t even put on a bit of lip gloss without some gross gym fluff or someone else’s hair sticking to it within seconds.
Next up is Janet Jackson who goes running in my local neighbourhood in SE London. It probably isn’t her but she looks so much like her I have convinced myself that she’s moved into the area undercover, to get back into shape. This woman went from ‘fat Janet’ to ‘thin Janet’ within a year. As I took my usual routes around Catford and Lee High Road I would scour the streets looking for her to appear – the transformation unravelling before me. There she was, running in bright leg-warmers and a pineapple up-do, hammering the pavement with hand weights, her body fat disappearing into the ether. I still look for her but she is nowhere to be seen. She must’ve gone back to LA to record her latest single – or eat more pies. Here’s hoping she’ll be back soon.
Finally, the most recent addition to the distraction list is a woman in my local Body Pump classes. Every Sunday morning she is there, taking the same spot right in front of the mirror, and I swear I have never seen such massive breasts in my life. This fascination is not of a sexual nature – it’s blatant curiosity. A whirl of thoughts such as ‘are they real?’, ‘does her back ache?’, ‘what do people say to her in the street?’ ‘is she a glamour model?’ and ‘what would I look like with bigger boobs’ buzz around my head when I should be concentrating on my pec flys and power squats.
But, after saying all that, it’s better to be surrounded by colourful characters than none at all. Now, where is that old granny I keep seeing chatting up the young personal trainers in the free weights room…