Please Stop Talking About The Gym


It’s sweeping the nation, the lecture theatre, the classroom, pubs, clubs, social hubs; the living room, library, bedroom; it is sweeping, no, benching its way into conversation: gym hype.

– Went gym earlier.
– What’ju do?
– Biceps, triceps, quads, abs, head, shoulders, knees, toes.
– Keep those heavy weights heavy and those protein shakes ya go-to bevvy, bro.

You can probably tell where this article is going to go from here. I could harp on about the Olympic-driven fitness spike, execute a detailed exposition of the effects airbrushed TV shows and magazine photo shoots have had on an image conscious youth, leading to gym-obsessed body enhancement; I could dig out statistics regarding image-related mental disorders; I could bang on about the damage vanity does to society – the pain it causes those who didn’t do so well in the genetic lottery, the evil cosmetic-corporations it props up, the falseness and insecurity it breeds socially.

Instead, I am going to discuss a more day-to-day issue that arises from an image-obsessed youth: the sheer inanity of conversation.


I live in a four man house. All – bar me – have a membership at the uni gym. I have absolutely nothing against getting in shape or maintaining fitness – I can even tolerate ‘getting hench’ (although at times this tolerance does run thin – stop being so abominably vain and read a book). But when ‘gym’ spills over into everyday activity, everyday conversation, I find myself with my head in my hands cringing my (perfectly toned and no-need-for-maintenance) arse off.

A typical conversation between my housemates in the mornings may run like this…

– Gym later?
– Yeah, what shall we do?
– <insert list of random body parts>
– Yeah, and maybe <insert controversial body part> ?
– Woah, we did that yesterday? Are you not aching?
– You’re aching, from that? Ha! *Scoff*

At lunch…

– Ah, this is a perfect pre-gym meal
– Yeah

And in the evenings…

– Huge session *shakes expensive protein-but-could-be-a-baby bottle*
– Yeah, abs workout before bed?

If this is the conversation at home, I can only imagine the chat in-gym. Probably something like this –

– <insert random body part>
– <insert random Ronnie Coleman quote>
– <insert random body part>
– <COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!>

Students: the intellectual future? Motivated young thinkers well-equipped to tackle the problems of the modern world? If the solution to the problems of the modern world boiled down to bench-pressing til you’re blue in the face, or applying as much fake-tan to your skin as is physically possible, then yeah – maybe. But unfortunately the problems that face us require more thought than this – and how can mature thoughts or ideas develop in a culture so obsessed with how it looks, so obsessed with its tan,  so obsessed with being able to lift a heavier weight? Vanity strangles intellectual and creative potential.

But, gym-monkeys: please keep using your thoughts and vocal chords to organise your bench-press routine – maybe you’ll be able to lift 1kg more tomorrow! That’d be useful and so great. Never mind broadening your mind – broadening your biceps as much as possible should most definitely be the priority.

This probably comes across as some bitchy, bitter tribute to my housemates’ new found obsession – and for the most part it is – but surely everybody knows of a gym-monkey or a fake tan junkie – they’re everywhere, and society is suffering because of it.

Maybe if there is one thing we can all do in an attempt to prevent this brainless conversation – symptomatic of ‘get bare wench’ disorder and other vanity-driven diseases – from spreading any further, it is to respond to lamentation of a particularly sore / neglected muscle group – or indeed any unasked-for physical self-analysis – with quick-fire general knowledge questions such as: ‘what is the capital city of Iceland? Of Egypt? Of Argentina?’

Perhaps this light trivia will coax the gym-monkey / vanity slave from giving a detailed report on his / her rowing machine performance, and we could probe with more thoughtful questions on popular culture and current affairs: ‘Do you follow Homeland?’ ‘What are your thoughts on the US presidential elections?’

Maybe this petty small-talk would stimulate the gym-monkey / vanity slave’s mind a little, and alter his / her conversational-priorities (offering up a list of body-parts that must be worked on may begin to appear less important). Indeed, maybe conscious thought is returning to the gym-monkey – perhaps the vanity slave participates in an intelligent conversation, requiring thought, wit, humour! Maybe curiosity is sparked, an intellectual project embarked upon, a contribution to human civilization made!

Probably a few more quick-fire general knowledge questions needed first, though.

Please, gym-monkeys / vanity slaves everywhere (not that you’ll be reading this – the brain seems to be omitted from lists of body-parts that need a work out), although the amount of kg you so heroically lift / km you so heroically row really impresses me, I don’t need to hear about it. So – instead of giving me the low-down on how many pull ups you did before all those sit ups – chat to me about something that actually matters.

Tl;dr – If you go to the gym then good for you. If you bore others with what you do at the gym then you need to get a life.



I am currently a second year student at Southampton University studying English and philosophy.

Discussion14 Comments

  1. avatar

    I believe it was the ancient greeks that believed that total education required discipline of the body too and thus a pre-requisite of rounded man. For someone to advocate that your budding student gym fanatic housemates should read more, leads me to question perhaps you should gym more?

    Jack Maden

    I do mention I have nothing against the ACT of getting in shape / maintaining fitness – it’s gym ‘chat’ that upsets me.

    Besides, if I wanted to base myself on the Ancient Greek idea of a ’rounded man’ then I would also have to keep slaves, despise women and sacrifice lambs on the altar of Zeus.

    David Mendoza-Wolfson

    Would like to also throw in a reminder that the Greeks used to compete in arithmetic at the ancient Olympics…

  2. avatar

    This is a terrible article.
    It is normal to wish to develop oneself both intellectually and physically, the two are not mutually exclusive.
    Utter dross, this sort of tripe belongs on a hipster blog, not in the Wessex Scene.

    Jack Maden

    You’ve missed the point – but thanks for your input!


    Not at all, though my comment was rather dismissive. I just thin if someone discusses their gym going with somebody else and you overhear it, that hardly makes them stupid.
    I understand lots of people go and then it consumes their entire conversation, but talking about diet and lifting with friends is motivational. It makes it easier, and it makes it fun. We can still talk about the real issues, maybe start the intelligent conversation yourself?
    As for the important questions you would ask, Homeland is ok but no Wire, and I think Obama is the best option in a broken system but Romney amazingly may win.

    Jack Maden

    Fair enough, although I still don’t see why motivation for gyming must exist anywhere but inside the actual gym.


    Have you not thought of having to get there. Gymming is not just the act of being the gym itself but it is a way of life. If you’re not mentally motivated to go to the gym, you may as well not be there. Motivation takes time and the gym chat is as motivational as somebody spotting and assisting you to finish that one last rep.

    Jack Maden

    Oh dear me.

  3. avatar

    A pertinent, erudite, and eloquent point Ares, I wish I could say the same for this article. The author should stop drinking haterade and rather drink some Gatorade while enjoying the benefits of a good gym workout

  4. avatar
    Cedric Swaggerton

    Stay mad skinnyfags 🙂

    Although the retards that make dumbells a staple of their routine should educate themselves, and stop wasting the oly bars and bumper plates to do endless sets of pathetic bench press weights.

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