The Gym Adjustment

This household has had a run-in with the gym.  Letters were exchanged, unsatisfactory responses were received, and demonstrable idiocy was observed wherein the customer was told ‘I am not sure what your problem is’ when said problem had been clearly articulated in writing.  It was one of those discussions where you wish to write back ‘if you are unable to read, I am unable to help you.’

I’ll set aside the several phone calls and three unanswered letters seeking resolution of an issue.  One might question the customer care strategy which involves making a Peak Membership significantly more expensive than the already eyeball-crushing Off Peak Membership yet having the vast majority of the classes at a time when Peak Membership holders are unable to access them.

Because they’re not around during off peak times, which is why they pay more for peak time access.

One might also question the customer care strategy of representing that you have a specific class available at the time of a customer joining but shortly thereafter setting up an off-the-shelf legal entity, hiving said class off into that entity, and declaring that because it is a separate legal entity albeit on the same premises and with an astonishingly similar name, your membership is no good there, and entry to the new legal entity will cost your other arm and leg, sir.

Technically, the beef is K-man’s.  But I am, in solidarity, boycotting the gym.  I can’t wait for those mofos to ask us to renew our membership.  We expire in two weeks.

Which leaves a problem.  If this were London, I would simply proceed to the nearest competitor and join it, casting evil glares in the direction of the previous gym.  But this is the Burbs, and the gym is the only gym.   Their monopoly is exactly why our gym can behave like such astonishing fuck-wits.  K-man is in London every day, so he might find a gym there, but I am not.

Since I was 20 years old I’ve had a gym membership of some kind.  What to do?  My palms began to sweat.

But wait!  I thought.  I do not need a membership.  

I run outside, not on the treadmill any more.  My reason for going to the gym at all is to access the free-weights, which access is usually impeded anyway during peak hours by bonehead testostero-dudes standing around posing for photos of themselves with – gasp – a weight in their hand.

It really would be much nicer if I didn’t have to deal with that, I thought.  I would simply purchase a pair of dumbbells, which would then be mine forever.  You can do a lot of lifting with just a pair of dumbbells.  They would be a two-second journey from my hands, and there would be no dudely impediment to lifting shit up and putting it back down again.

I’ve been looking into options.  I decided on these.

Not really.  But looking for that image did lead me to the awesome No Pink Dumbbells blog.

Part of the issue is that I lift heavy enough to need some fairly serious weight.  At the moment, at least 10kg in each hand and moving up to 15kg after a few weeks.  That’s quite a lot of weight, and weight doesn’t come cheap.  It is amazing how much iron can cost when you start adding it all up.

In the parallel universe where I win the lottery, I would have a pair of these:

These bad-boys clip and unclip weight plates automatically once you set the weight you want on the dial.  Plus, they look like Q invented them especially for Bond’s gym.  Like if you try to lift too light, your secret personal trainer spy would press the remote detonator in protest.  That kind of function and style comes at a price and while it probably is a saving, I don’t need the higher weight settings (yet) and at the moment I don’t have 200 doubloons to drop on them.

I’m going with something like this:

Only, without the dreaded spin-lock mechanism.  I simply do not have the patience for all that nutting and un-nutting times four.  I’ll go with the standard-issue spring collar.

I have calculated that I can obtain handles, weight plates up to a reasonable amount (17.5kg in each hand) and collars for around 90 of my hard-earned doubloons.  At that price, I can throw in a bench and still be 350 quid up on a year’s gym membership at the worst gym ever.

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5 Responses to “The Gym Adjustment”


  1. 1 Jen June 15, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Do you need to buy two of those? I keep an 8-lb. (weight, not money) dumbbell by my computer and work on my arms while I read blogs. (Including this post! Irony!) I only do one arm at a time, so don’t need a match pair of weights, thereby cutting back on the cost.

    Good on you for canceling your gym membership. Think of the money you’ll save. Running outside is way more interesting anyway.

  2. 2 unmitigated me June 16, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Is there no Craigslist-sort-of-thing in the UK? This time of year, I would think there are still a few New Year’s Resolution types wanting to unload some free weights…

  3. 3 jennatjugglinglife June 17, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I think I would love to do battle against a corporation with you–between the two of us they’d never know what hit them.

    • 4 Nic @ Life, Smudged. June 18, 2011 at 10:56 am

      @Jen: I do need two. I thought about trying one dumbell but it would take twice as long! And at the weights I’m lifting I do actually need to concentrate pretty hard if I’m to avoid injury while I lift. I don’t think I could heft what will be about 30lb repeatedly without serious focus. TV-watching or computer-reading would be an impossibility for someone so uncoordinated as myself – I would drift off and all of a sudden 30lb would bean me or drop on my foot.

      @unmitigated: I checked the usual second-hand market place because I had the exact same thought. Nothing in my local burb area. There would be some in London itself probably but I would need to carry a lot of weight (like, 60lb) home on public transit and that’s more or less an impossibility.

      @Jenn: we would be unbeatable! I got the ‘renewal’ call yesterday and it was my delight to inform the gym that their stupid shortsighted and borderline rude way of dealing with us has cost them two annual memberships. I suggested that the cost of the solution we proposed to the problem (free entry for one person to the shiny new legal entity) would have been cheaper for them than the loss of two annual peak memberships. The membership dude said he would ‘make a note’. Yeah, whatever. I hope their membership numbers are falling off a cliff.

  4. 5 Bella Rum June 18, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    You’ve made the right decision. Even though you’re quite disciplined and probably used (or attempted to use) your gym on a regular basis, running outside and using the weights will probably give you the results you want, and just think how much more convenient it will be. Besides, you’ll get the satisfaction of not giving the gym anymore of your hard earned cash. And let me just say, I am so impressed with how much you lift.


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