Gym membership is a massive thing here in SA. There’s a breed of ladies here with flat tummies, long legs and toned arms. Some of them are my friends so I know they used to be cheer leaders or played hockey for the Free State or swam for South Africa. They’re married to people who have long-term rugby injuries and arms the same width as my legs. I’ve even met a couple who play underwater hockey! Now that’s ‘hectic’ as they say here – having to hold your breath the whole time while you fight it out on the pool floor. (I asked if we could go along and cheer them on – they said there’s nothing much to see!)
It seems like every middle class person regularly goes to the “JUM”. I first noticed something different when people asked me ‘what’s your sport?’ ie, presuming that I HAD a sport. “Eating cake and chatting” I answered. (Funny right? Well, they looked at me with pity. Oh.)
OK, so lots of people go to the gym. Noted and logged.
Meanwhile we pottered around. We also joined the gym because it gives us money back on our medical bills. I went mainly to use the showers and hair dryers during our renovation months. Oh the sights I saw in those changing rooms… more on that another day.
A year later and we are fatter. There are three relevant things which have come to light.
1) These people bake like pro’s and melt cheese on top of everything that doesn’t move. It’s all tasty, but it all comes with chips and lots of hidden sugar.
The other day I ordered an iced coffee (which I’ve learnt to check – often it comes as a milkshake made with ice cream and condensed milk). I ordered the plain one – just coffee on ice – yes, the waitress said. It arrived with whipped cream on top, plus 2 sweets, a marshmallow and a biscuit.
2) We drive e.ve.ry.where. It’s not that safe to walk, and everything is spaced out further and, oh by the way there’s no pavements anyway!
3) There’s not a lot to do. We’d hit bank holidays or long weekends and we’d be stuck. Where to go…. what to do….?
SO you guessed it, we joined the gym. All 5 of us are becoming gym bunnies. We can be seen doing anything from playing squash to weights to bobbing around talking in the pool to (ahem) reading a book IN the gym. (Well I thought it best to break myself in gently….)
Most recently I went to a couple of classes with my new neighbour. It was called ‘pilates’. It wasn’t ‘pilates’ it was a boot camp. None of this “OK ladies, let’s shake off our wobbly bits” kind of banter like in England. No – I had a man named Gustav walking up and down the rows saying things like “No, no NO. Come back NEXT week when you’re ready to TRAIN. OK, start again!! 50…49….48…” etc. Yikes.
I had to skive off a lot of it so I shut my eyes and waited for him to pass by during one of the lying down bits (those are my favourite bits). He saw straight though me, tapped my leg and said ‘legs UP’. I said ‘Oh, even me??’ and he indicated that yes, he expected EVEN ME to raise my legs. Then he addressed the rest of the room shouting, “THE PIIINE IS TIMPORARY, THE RRRRESULTS ARE PERMINUNT”.
I would laugh but I can’t because at the times of writing, the pain seems permenant.