After Sue wrote "Wash me" with her finger in the dust on the most expensive piece of exercise equipment I own, I joined the health club. At home, I just wasn't getting it done. I'd walk past the equipment 20 times a day and say to myself, "I'll do that right after lunch." After lunch, I'd think, "It can wait till after dinner. But should you really exercise after a heavy meal? I'll do it in the morning."
Besides, there's so much other stuff to do at home, so many distractions -- answer the phone, let out the cat, vacuum the carpets, let in the cat, do the laundry, let out the cat, go on an errand, let in the cat, shop for dinner, let in the cat, oh, he's already in, visit Facebook, check my email, let out the cat, and watch that TV infomercial about how much better I'd feel and look if I just bought this one piece of exercise equipment that does everything the other one doesn't.
But it turns out that lying on the sofa, watching "Duck Dynasty," eating Hot Pockets and listening to the cat snore next to a piece of exercise equipment doesn't really melt away the pounds. Owning it isn't enough: Apparently, you have to use it. Who knew?
Unless you're a truly motivated person, it's almost impossible to stick to a regime at your own house. Besides, you don't really need any fancy equipment to do pushups, crunches or squats; you just have to do them. If you're not already exercising without the equipment, you won't suddenly start exercising with it. That's why I joined the health club. Once you're there, there's not much else to do but exercise.
The thing I like about my health club is that I am not the most out-of-shape person there. They seem to have gone to great lengths to find people who are as lazy and paunchy as I am, or worse, which is a comfort. And absolutely no one there looks like they are going to win a gold medal in weightlifting or beach volleyball in the next Olympics. It's full of normal people like schoolteachers and bank tellers, trying to keep one step ahead of dreaded couch potato buildup.
I had to buy a new gym bag and some sweats, so I'm pawing through the sweatpants at the Shop and Go Away and everything on the shelf is size 4XL, 3XL or 2XL. Obviously, if you are buying the 4XL, you are either a professional athlete or you don't sweat very much. I've also noticed that a lot of people in this store are wearing sweatpants even though they're not at the gym.
When I was in school, after we exercised, we changed back into our school clothes and put the smelly gym clothes in our lockers. Sweatpants weren't something you'd wear when you weren't actually in the gym or on the field. Now people go to the mall in sweat clothes; they fly across the country in them. It's so common to see people who obviously don't run wearing running gear, to see people who don't play tennis wearing tennis togs, to see people who don't play football or basketball wearing football and basketball jerseys that we don't even notice it anymore. I don't know what you're wearing as you read this, but however casual it is, there's probably somebody in line down at the bank wearing something even less appropriate.
It strikes me that the fashion industry should take note of what the sportswear designers are doing -- that is, name their clothing for what people should be doing when they wear it. If they can make running shorts and swimsuits and yoga pants, why can't they make Flying On An Airplane clothing? Supermarket Shopping clothing? Waiting For The Bus clothing? Applying For a Job clothing?
They could do it without breaking a sweat.
Contact Jim Mullen at JimMullenBooks.com.