Jack Averty: Have you been working out? Gym effort is shaping up nicely

By Jack Averty | Weekend | Published:

I’m afraid I have some bad news – and it’s not the fact that from next week this column is being taken over by someone far funnier and more capable.

Hello Mr Muscle

No my bad news is that my dreams of becoming a professional runner have hit a stumbling block.

I was posting some incredible times and Mo Farah was regularly in touch, giving me protein-rich Quorn recipes to keep me going – but my time at the top was to be short-lived.

I discovered, almost like some sort of reverse werewolf, that I cannot run when it is sunny and/or light for fear of looking like an absolute idiot as I puff and pant my way past walkers who end up overtaking me about two minutes later.

It was tough to accept, but being the natural-born athlete that I am I had to find a new path – and that’s what I did.

So you will all be delighted to hear that I am now embarking on my new career of becoming a professional bodybuilder.

The first step on this new career path was to join a gym, which couldn’t have gone better.

I signed over the deeds to my house to afford the joining fee and seven days later I had my first official weigh-in.

But however impressive the half pound I lost is, the thing that struck me most about the gym is how brilliant all the people are.


Everyone who goes to the gym knows all the different kinds you get, and it’s amazing the way they all come together to form a community.

There’s the proper gym-goers – those who do cardio and weights in equal measure and are built like the proverbial outhouse.

It’s quite something when you head over to the machines for the first time and find the weight has been set to the highest possible limit.

Trying to move it is like attempting to drag a jumbo jet using only your pinky finger. It almost makes you wonder if someone switched the weights after they were done to make themselves look stronger.


Unfortunately when the bloke the size of a mountain with biceps bigger than your head walks in, you soon realise that: 1) yes an actual human does lift that weight and; 2) you are weak and pathetic.

Even though you look like a mouse next to them, they make you feel anything but.

These guys – and some are definitely girls as well – are the nicest, friendliest and most helpful people in the gym.

Instead of going out of their way to lift more in one rep than you could lift in a week, they offer support and advice on the best training methods and recovery work.

The polar opposite of these is the posers, the people who turn up dressed head to toe in Armani gear, normally chew gum, and spend more time staring round the gym pouting than they do actually lifting anything.

They’re there purely because they know they’ll have an audience and mum and dad frankly don’t care for their constant flexing at home. They are actually, however, in good shape meaning they either do work out when no one’s looking or god truly does bless people in the weirdest ways.

They’re hardly the nicest people in the gym; but in the same breath they don’t do anything to make you feel bad or unwelcome.

I had an instance the other day where one of them wanted to use a machine I was on. Instead of launching into a profanity rant to get me off, he proceeded to lie down and do press ups in front of me until I was done.

If that’s the worst it’s going to get then fine.

Also low on the gym productivity ladder is the people who go just to say they’ve gone.

The people who turn up, normally for far too long, and just stay at level one on the cross-trainer until a drip of sweat runs down their face at which point, having burned nine calories, they pack up and go home.

Then finally there’s us, your average gym goer.

We’re not very good and don’t really know the science behind what we’re doing but we give it a go anyway.

We’re committed and go when we can, just so we don’t have to give up all our favourite foods.

A world without a Müller rice pudding is a world not worth living in.

We’re all words apart, but yet despite our differences gyms are a friendly and relaxed place, with no tensions or problems.

It’s not just our different personalities, gyms are racially diverse and boast people from all different walks of life.

It begs the question then, if we can get along in an environment where testosterone is flying around faster than Mo Farah around a track, why can’t we all get along in the outside world?

Jack Averty

By Jack Averty
Senior Reporter - @javerty_star

Reporter with the Express & Star, based at head office in Wolverhampton


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