Sunday, 19 May 2013

Gym rant


I hate gyms. I'm a big guy so it's not a frame inferiority complex that gets my blood pumping. It's the rules. Not just the shit everyone hates - the contracts, limited time on equipment and limited equipment - but the unwritten rule of every gym. Every gym tries to define it's members through its gym culture. Only a minority of gym bods truly feel like they are part of the community they subscribe to...usually for 12 months at a time. A lot of people realise this after signing up and before their first gym shower, never to return. 

If you were going to define me, I would be that (big) guy who doesn't love exercising but knows when its time to put the beer and cigs down to go for a run. I should point out that I also hate running. My definition of a 'run' is committing to regular exercise, usually lasting a few months. The problem is that I haven't, until now, found a formula for turning one of my runs into what healthy people define as "a lifestyle choice". 

I've tried home exercise equipment with mix results. I lack the mindset of either main protagonist in Rocky IV, so I tire easily of isolated home gym routines. Ivan Drago's camp were on to something though - technology has a part to play in the future of fitness. Maybe if the tech in 1985 didn't just consist of flashing lights, he might have won. Okay he was never going to win, but I'm not writing a Hollywood script here. 



For people like me, technology has thankfully now reached the point where the personal trainer can be replaced by a wrist band and your smartphone allows you to connect globally with people that share a similar mindset and exercise goals. Gamification and the Quantified Self look set to become integral in taking this movement forward, along with more sophisicated console gaming. Even before the internet and Xbox came along, people exercised to classes on their TVs. My girlfriend has an eclectic collection of work out dvds and my parents had questionable VHS tapes before that. 

The problem I've found with the myriad of mobile apps, handy hardware and DVD drills is that they still cling to that gym formula of trying to define you and what you should be doing. Once you've experience them once, they fail to recreate the unexpected excitement of participation sport or video games. 

So what is GamiFit about then? 

I've decided to start my own regime before embarking on my next run. Like all good ideas, it borrows a bit from everything that has made established exercise formulas popular. I'll be using digital fitness aids to track my progress while developing my own gamification rules to work out to TV programmes I would be watching anyway. I plan to track my progress and share my results on this blog. 

The only thing that's missing is the community, so hopefully you might be reading this and think maybe this plan could work out for you too. 

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