I’m 53% Nandos and 28% Cider…

…but the other 19% is pure muscle!

Or at least that’s what I think he said, it’s definitely what I heard.

As part of my ignominious return to being one of those members of society I used to look down on and scorn, a gym goer, I was subjected to the punishment that is the dreaded “induction”.

An “induction”, for those that have been lucky enough never to suffer one, is when an unhealthily skinned youth, fresh from college and happy to earn minimum wage, makes you follow them around the gym so they can belittle you for 30 minutes. They parade you around the equipment like fresh meat for the judging eyes of regular gym goers to devour. They feign interest in your well being but really what they are saying is “you don’t know how to use a treadmill, you must be fat, your veins are clogged with chocolate eclairs and your lungs are made of marshmallows”. Then they show you the weight machines, and I mean show you. “Here’s a lat pulldown machine, it works your lats, you put the pin here…moving on, this is a bicep curl machine, it works your biceps, you put the pin here”. They may as well have been guiding me through the large hadron collider at CERN for all the sense their explanations were making. There was no attempt to be engaging, they didn’t want to know my story or understand my needs. In fact I was so bored by the experience I actually drifted off and started thinking about the Higgs Boson particle, so maybe I did learn something after all.

They save the final humiliation for last though. Just when you think you’ve seen every inch of the gym and they can’t possibly baffle you any more that’s when they reveal the assessment room. They lead you in, all innocent and unsuspecting, then shut the door behind you so there is no escape. In a small room, with curling posters depicting human bodies stripped of flesh to expose muscle groups (I should point out these were represented graphically and not graphically represented), there is nothing to hid behind except a static bike or a set of scales. Then come a series of tests, tests you can’t help but fail, with the sole purpose of degrading you to the point that you can’t imagine ever leaving the gym because you are so unhealthy you might keel over on the walk home. Luckily I was able to play the injury card and avoid the bike test, but there was no avoiding being measured…and found wanting.

First the height. I’m average, I know I’m average, if anything I’m on the hobbit side of average, but it’s still the average. I don’t mind being average, even if I’m surrounded by people who are well above average, as I have never banged my head when walking through a door and I don’t make old man noises when I bend over to pick things up. However, I don’t need someone telling me I’m average in a voice that says “don’t be disappointed when I say this little man, but you aren’t six feet tall, you’re a pathetic halfling”.

Then the weight. I’m above average, but it’s not all fat. I have a big frame, carry a lot of muscle (admittedly currently protected by a layer of insulation) and actually being a bit chunky served me well during my years on the rugby pitch. I know what I weigh, I’ve always known, but here’s what I was told… “Okay, so that’s #kilos which equates to…..oh, wow, that’s actually #stone”. Oh wow? My weight took you by surprise? Let’s hope my foot does when I swing it at your arse you smug young bastard.

Finally, the BMI test. BMI stands for Body Mass Index, or it could be Bullsh*t Medical Instrument. It is a test involving electrodes attached to hand and foot which gives you a reading of what your body is made up of. It tells you how much of you is essential organs, how much is water and how much is bacon double cheeseburgers. Apparently I now have an accurate picture of my body fat content (more accurate than looking in the mirror?) and so I can measure my progress over the coming weeks. I thanked the lad for his time and progressed to the Co-Op to pick up a trifle, after all things couldn’t get much worse could they?!

Below I have listed the stats according to the hateful little machine, not because I expect them to mean anything to anyone but because if I shame myself by publishing them then I will have to do something about changing them, or at least that’s the plan. In reality I will probably just eat a Cadbury’s Wispa and spit melted chocolate on my screen so I can’t see them any more, but at least that’s a bit of chocolate I won’t have eaten.

Weight 95kg; Body fat 29.4% (that’s 27.9kg of fried breakfasts); Resting heart rate 65bpm

(I’ll get tested again one month after my ankle is well enough to let me train properly)

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