Barlow's Beef: Gym jam at the leisure centre


When I'm stressed I have a tried and tested antidote... I go to the gym. Having been a marathon runner in my not too distant past I always enjoy the relaxation provided by a good workout. I'm not enamoured with trendy health clubs preferring to work up a sweat without worrying about the brand name on my vest.

Suitably tense I took myself off to the Leisure Centre yesterday and was reversing into a parking space when a young mum performed a hand break turn and nipped in before me.

"Why did you do that?" I asked politely.

"I wanted to get the children as near to the entrance as possible," she replied.

"What's wrong with that space over there?"

"It's too far away."

Then, to my utter amazement, three strapping teenagers stepped from her car and strode towards the entrance like cage fighters.

Simultaneously a group of women resembling a failed slimming club left their minibus double-parked to save a walk of less than 20 yards.

I couldn't help wondering if we are somehow missing the point? Surely the whole purpose of visiting a gym is to exercise and leave with slightly less cellulite than we had on arrival. But for many exercise only begins inside the building. They would run over a day old baby rather than walk from the far end of the car park.

Once in the gym I was astonished to find the lady who swerved unceremoniously into my parking space was burning the belt off the treadmill while her offspring were rowing faster than a crew of Viking invaders.

I once trained with a fanatical runner who would get her car out of the garage to drive to the newsagents less than a quarter of a mile away. Somewhere in this dichotomy there must be a thread of logic but where it is I have no idea.

It appears that prancing around in Lycra to Uptown Funk is 'cool' as is anything remotely related to cycling but walking down the street is an absolute anathema. There are mothers who would rather eat their children than have them walk to school (these are the same mums who send their kids on 'adventure' holidays).

As my American friends say, "Go figure?"

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlows Beef, Vic Barlow