Last summer I threw caution to the wind, (along with £50 a month plus joining fee) to attend a local gym which was just round the corner from my place of work. Upon handing over my bank details I was informed that this particular gym offers a ‘free’ (could of sworn I just paid a £30 joining fee, but anyway) ‘health & lifestyle’ check, a kind of biological MOT to check my oil and tyre pressure, see if I’m roadworthy before letting me loose in some ill-fitting shorts and a sweatband.
My appointment with calliper-armed ‘Jake’ was pencilled in for 9am the next morning. ‘That’s fine’ I lied to myself, ‘I’ll leap out of bed at 6am, thrash out 50 burpees, down a protein shake, then jog to the gym to get a thumbs up from the annoyingly over-enthusiastic Jake.
That evening I was of a jocular disposition and began discussing my gym-joining venture with a youthful enthusiasm amongst a few work colleagues. With the male athletic bravado that seems to manifest itself after a few well timed glasses of Shiraz, it took all of 30 minutes before we were in unanimous agreement that, despite letting ourselves go ever so slightly post-university, we could all make the Jamaican relay team look positively pedestrian were we to don our spikes and get set.
Those of you familiar with the concept of Chekhov’s Gun will probably be able to foresee where my night was headed. Place a drinks menu in the middle of a group of males and arm-wrestling is an hour and a half away. Fact.
Through the force of sheer momentum we heroically polish off a further 3 bottles of wine and then start ordering the drinks you only ever seem to require when you’re losing vision and sweating like a sea lion in a Zumba class. Believing we are all bulletproof, the shots keep coming and we stagger outside, awash with grog, deciding that chain smoking 17 cigarettes in 3 minutes will clear our heads.
My night comes to an ignominious end as I list heavily toward an emporium offering me a fried version of something dead. ‘This is utterly delicious’ I declare, as I throw chips somewhere near my face. ‘3 hours until my fitness test, I am an Adonis’ I triumphantly announce to the taxi driver who is quite clearly worried about his upholstery becoming intimate with the contents of my stomach.
9.00am the following morning, and I feel like a blimp full of raw sewage. I waddle in to Jake’s office at the rear of the gym, dragging my defunct arm behind me and smelling like a Viking.
He starts with a few gentle warm up questions allowing me time to zone back in to the task ahead, which is to prove that last night’s boast that I could make grizzly bear submit in a street fight was not just Chablis-nonsense.
Luckily, Jake is in forgiving mood and is a lot more helpful than his brightly coloured trainers would lead you to believe. He forgoes the obvious questions designed to make me feel rubbish about myself, so instead of asking me how many units of alcohol I imbibe in a week, he takes one look at the patch of vomit down my front and whips out his smartphone.
It turns out that this clever little device which nearly all of us now carry around in a pocket can assist us all in our quest for a healthier lifestyle.
Selling phones with such vast app libraries has meant that there is now the potential to reach a huge audience with helpful information regarding our health. An audience which otherwise may have been left in the dark as to how we can beat the bulge and get in shape.
There are apps that can measure blood pressure and heart rate, with the ability to record and track results to measure our fitness progression. Programs now exist for all the major operating platforms which help with dietary decisions and calorie counting, not to mention the vast number of apps that monitor sleep patterns to ensure we’re getting all of our 40 winks.
If you haven’t already done so, sell your old phone for cash now and upgrade to a web-enabled smartphone. You may even have enough money left over to put toward a gym membership.