Gym Nasty

I have a friend – let’s call him Zak for anonymity – and he’s exercise-a-phobic. Even the thought of going to the gym brings him out in a sweat. Which he accepts is useful as he could afford to lose a few pounds.

The way he figures it, the gym is just a way for fit people to feel good about themselves. Anyone who is slightly misshapen – by media standards – had best keep away.

For starters, he has to use the lowest weight settings, which is like using a loudhailer to announce to the world: “I’m weak.” The last time he tried an exercise bike, he got so saddle sore that his face wasn’t the only part of his body that ended up bright red. And rowing machines? Like Zak says, he’ll wait until global warming makes it necessary to learn how to row a boat. Because at that point he’s confident he’ll figure it out in no time at all.

“What about exercise classes?” I asked him. “You know, a gentle stretch and tone, just to start you off?”

“Believe me,” he said, “I’m stretched already. And I have the stretch marks to prove it.”

Zak gave up sports after college, apart from the very popular sport of drinking beer. Maybe that’s why one of his biceps is quite well developed; I’m hoping that’s the reason anyway…

So what’s a guy to do? Well, step forward our forever friend, the Internet. I did some trawling on his behalf (it was a Friday night and Friday night is beer night) and found the perfect solution for him – an elliptical trainer. With one of those babies, he has no excuse not to get as fit as he tells me he plans to be.

And Zak says? He says thanks a lot, but there are more machines out than suspect politicians and he’s not really into reading unless it’s beer bottles or ingredients. So back to the web I go, in search of a site that has elliptical reviews.

And thanks to a nifty site – – Zak can find the perfect machine for his frame and his wallet before he commits himself, by reading their consumer reports and ratings.

Then he can get the right machine and exercise at home and at his own pace, which is what he says he wants to do. And to help him along, I’ve promised to do something for him too – stop writing about him!

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