Sibongile Mafu

The exclusive fitness club

2013-11-15 09:05

Sibongile Mafu

It's never too late to get serious about your health, right? Even if your reasoning is somewhat superficial and not exactly "long-term". It's November and there is mass panic all over the country as those people who decided to forsake being healthy in the other months of the year, are on a mad dash to be hot for summer.

Those who have been serious about their health all year round, judge those gym new-comers, as they get territorial about their gym bells and spinning bikes. These "spaces of health" as I'd like to call become a battle ground as the haves (those with abs) and the have-nots (those without) are forced to mingle together. It's all incredibly unnecessary but wonderful to watch.

The gym freaks feel as though they have monopoly on these health spaces, as the ones who don't frequent them as much attempt to stick around through the shame and judgment cast upon them by the regulars. It's all very ugly.

I recently purchased new trainers, as I've had my old ones for about 10 years, since high school basically, and they've lasted that long not because I've taken care of them so religiously but because I've been generous in letting them sit and breathe for long periods. So I decided to abandon those, as they represent failure and procrastination, and get new ones, which would represent hope and a fitness future.

But my, how difficult is it to get back into the health and fitness game. I'm saying "back" like I was one part of it, but we're allowed to reference childhood sport as a former fitness life, so I'm doing it. It is a murky land of "I can't do this" and "has it always been this hard?" as you navigate this new world of "taking care of yourself". And there's the added stress of doing it so late in the year, where your motives are judged and cross-examined.

Human beings are merciless. They'll shame you for being inactive and then shame you some more for starting during a particular time of the year. That bus is never late, and it can be incredibly discouraging. And to think that a lot of people come from a place where they too weren't in the best shape, so they should be able to understand the difficulty of the journey. A little understanding? Nope. None. It's like drivers, who were once (hopefully) learner drivers, stalling at robots, holding up traffic, doing that mirror-blind spot-indicate thing, who then grow up to become drivers who abuse the very learners they once were, like they were never in that position.

I took part in a wonderful event this week called the Blog Olympics, put together by Mr Price Sport. The got a group of 24 lifestyle and sport bloggers together with a few sport personalities to compete in various light-hearted events at the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban. Fitness has never looked so fun. And the wonderful camaraderie between people of various fitness levels was good to see. More of that in life, please.

I'm not saying start a prayer circle of support at gyms and sports clubs everywhere, but people need to stop believing that fitness and health belong to only them. It's very easy to slip into that mindset when you’ve reached a place where you've ticked off a lot of your goals, and judging those who've just started their list.

And people will fall off, and climb back off and fall off again, and that's ok. The New Year will roll around and fresh goals will be written down. Let people be.

- Sibongile is a videographer, blogger and social media enthusiast who would be nothing without her thumbs. Follow her on Twitter: @SboshMafu.

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