I Quit the Gym

stripe trench coat

(Primark trench, J Crew trousers, Next shoes.)

I quit the gym. Yes, Others, YOU WIN, with your space-invading ways, your whistling and your general other-ness . You can have the gym, see if I care. Although, before you go feeling all smug about having chased me away, let me just tell you that it was actually the music that did it. And, honestly, I have pretty broad tastes when it comes to music. I can put up with a lot. But there is one genre of music I absolutely CANNOT STAND, and it is cheesy 70s disco music. Which was unfortunate, because that was seriously ALL our gym ever wanted to play when I was there.

Ladies Night would be followed by Le Freak, which would be followed by That’s The Way I Like It... and I know it’s not 70s disco, but I’d had the modest aim of getting through the rest of my life without ever having to hear Swing Out Sister’s Breakout ever again, and I had to listen to it every single time I went to the gym. Every time. And it wouldn’t have been so bad if they’d just been playing at a reasonable “gym” level, but no: that crap was turned up to max volume, so loud that I couldn’t even drown it out with my own music, although God knows, Lady Gaga and I certainly gave it our best shot.

So I quit the gym.

It’s OK, though, those of you who are about to call me out on my laziness: I may have quit the gym, but I haven’t quite exercise. No, in  a move which is every bit as amazing to me as it is to anyone else (I’m the girl who “forgot” her gym kit so many times the gym teacher actually forgot she was even in the class. And who spent one memorable baseball game in high school waiting until it was almost her turn to bat, before deftly slipping out of the line and proceeding to the end of it. And doing that over and over and over again, until the game ended without her ever having actually made it to the front of that line. I didn’t learn much about baseball but I did learn how to be, er, inventive, let’s say.), I have become an outdoor runner.

Forever Amber

Now, those of you with long memories will remember that I’ve actually been running outdoors for quite some time now. I hadn’t been doing it consistently, though: the first year of my outdoor running experience was the year of Snowmaggedon, after all. No one was running anywhere in that. Or after that, either, because the snow melted, but I managed to convince myself that I was far too delicate a flower to be able to cope with the cold, so I just didn’t. I went back to the gym, instead. And by “back to the gym” I mean “sometimes I would go to the gym, but most of the time I wouldn’t.”

Fast forward to this winter, though. I’d been running outside for much of the summer, and had assumed that I’d give it up in winter again. This winter was a mild one, though, so somehow I managed to keep it up. December passed, and so did January, and I was still managing to get out a couple of times a week at least, which is more often than I’d been dragging myself to the gym. By the time we got to February, and I STILL hadn’t managed to find a good enough reason to stop, my mind was made up: I would quit the gym.

So I did.

“The only reason I can imagine going back,” I told Terry, “would be if it snowed again. And if it does, I’ll just re-join!”

The week that I cancelled my membership, it snowed. In March. Honestly people, my power to influence weather patterns is freaky, it really is.

Anyway, that little blip aside, I’m still managing to keep up my routine. No one crowds my space, whistles in my ear, or douses themselves in a full bottle of aftershave before getting onto the machine right next to mine, even although the rest of the gym is completely empty. I haven’t had to listen to Swing Out Sister since November. It’s all good, in other words.

Now, let’s just see how much snow THIS winter will bring!

Forever Amber

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11 Comments

  • Cara says:

    I am right there with you! I just grabbed the cancel slip at my gym for several similar reasons. Instead of 70s, they do the 90s. There’s only so many times I can work out to Baby Got Back. Plus, I always feel like I’m wasting money when I know I can get outside and exercise for free. Good luck with the weather!

    • Amber says:

      I know what you mean: and it takes so much less time to be able to start running as soon as I step out of the house, rather than having to drive to the gym and back. We’ll see how I get on if it’s a bad winter, though :)

  • lila says:

    Yes also saving petrol, less sneezes and diseases and scenery for free!

  • Lesley says:

    Go you :)
    I wish I could run at all never mind outside but my back and knee problems mean I can’t.

    My fiancé and I are joining the gym after our wedding in June when we have money again and one thing I’m not looking forward to are the other people there. If I could just have the gym to myself for an hour that would be great :)

    • Amber says:

      That’s exactly the problem I had… I mean, don’t get me wrong: I liked the gym itself, there were lots of nice people there (particularly in the classes, where we got to know people), but when I was just using the gym itself I always found myself wishing I could just have it to myself!

  • Kat says:

    Keep it up, so much better than gym! Try running off road too & your joints will thank you. Running clubs are good for morale, especially in bad weather- the people are much more real and friendly than gym people!

    • Amber says:

      It’s mostly off-road running I’ve been doing – have been doing it for a couple of years, just not consistently! Not really keen on clubs, etc – I’m pretty anti-social, so the solitude of running is one of the things that appeals to me most!

  • Arlene says:

    Snap! Cancelled last month and have zero regrets. Until they open a gym with an attached mall I can do without

  • Mandy says:

    I just found your blog through EBEW!!! I’m a new follower on Facebook!!! I love your style it reminds me of Mad Men which I love!!!

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