There is a peer pressure in my firm. It bubbles under the surface, from partner to post room and pushes even the most unsuspecting to rearrange their calendars to satisfy it. It inhabits the basement floor of the office and even is promoted as a 'perk' of working for the firm.
It is known as THE GYM.
I have never been particularly active, sports wise. My brief induction into the world of running gave me third degree burns (don't you dare tell me they were just blisters!!) and I am far too competitive for team sports. In uni the gym was that place I walked past on the way to the students union. As I researched career options, it never occurred to me that this would be an issue. In fact, in choosing the law I thought the drinking skills I acquired my local rugby club and cultured through uni would be my strong point. I think I may have been mistaken.
While investigating the 'Gym Bunny Epidemic' (ie they multiply like rabbits) I have discovered that post work drinks were rife before the move to 'The Modern Office on the Outskirts' so vogue with regional firms of a certain size. The old city centre location meant that long (boozy) lunches were a weekly occurrence rather than a special treat and no Friday was complete without a trip to the pub round the corner. Now instead of a sneaky pint at the end of a long day, the masses sweat it out in a circuits class or go running. No more discussion about which establishment to frequent at lunchtime but which form of exercise will be taken. Social events are much more likely to be one of the seemingly hundreds of sports leagues rather than payday drinks. At a recent open evening for Law Students the ability to talk to Partners and Supervisors while working out was cited as a bonus!
I would like to know when this transition occurred. It seems to have snuck up on me. But, not one to be left behind the times, I have faced my fitness short comings and I too have started gym going. Given my hectic life as a trainee it has been rather difficult to fit in but I have persevered. (for the last 2 weeks anyway...........)
Today, I took it one stage further. I visited with the Personal Trainer. The Personal Trainer is the a major contaminant in the Gym Bunny Epidemic. His enthusiasm is infectious and somehow he makes what I would consider a torture session a viable work out program. I can see how people get drawn in to this world of 'healthy' eating and exercise.
However, having visited the Personal Trainer and getting my custom built personalised fitness and diet regime I noticed the Gym Bunny Epidemic in full force. Following my rules I got out my rivita-and-ham snack bang on 11am as instructed. And suddenly noticed the alarming amounts of crispy-rye-wafer-and-sliced-pork elevenses that had also appeared around the office. This is not something I have noted previously as at 10.45am you would normally find me agonising over the cake selection in the Cafe.... but it was somewhat alarming
It has occurred to me that this mass eating exercising culture exhibits all the outwards signs of organised religion. There are the 10 commandments (thou shalt not where shoes with marking soles), sins (Carbs!!) and penance for temptation. The Personal Trainer attempts to convert those who have strayed and rewards the faithful with dedicated one on one sessions. The fully devoted look on those smoking in the bike sheds with the compassion and pity only the enlightened can bestow. But instead of the world war, prejudice and early Sunday mornings the results of Gym Bunnyism are better stamina, smaller waistlines and a longer life.
They almost had me. Then I discovered that my twice weekly post work glass of rose was forbidden and I suddenly came to my senses. What was I thinking??!! Closest to conversion I have ever been......