End the ob­ses­sion with ‘hard’ work­outs

They’re part of the rea­son why Bri­tain is get­ting fat­ter

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - HEALTH - By JOEL SNAPE

Break­ing news, ev­ery­one: I’ve cre­ated the hard­est work­out in the world, apart from all the other ones. Ready? Okay: warm up prop­erly, then do 500 burpees, as fast as you pos­si­bly can. Next week, do it faster.

Oh, that doesn’t ap­peal? Too mo­not­o­nous, not share­able enough, or a bit too ac­tu­ally … hard? Don’t worry, I’ve still got you: or rather Gym­box, the Lon­don-based gym chain who you may re­mem­ber from work­out crazes like “Ghetto Zumba”, “Ripped & Stripped” or “Bunny Boot­camp” have.

Their lat­est cre­ation, Flat­line, comes with com­pul­sory post-ses­sion oxy­gen and (op­tional) de­fib­ril­la­tors, and de­scribes it­self as “po­ten­tially deadly”, which is si­mul­ta­ne­ously a) True of every ac­tiv­ity in the world and b) Not a sell­ing point for any of them.

“It’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to fin­ish,” says one staffer in the pro­mo­tional video, sug­gest­ing that it hasn’t been de­signed very well. “It’s so tough and po­ten­tially deadly” news out­lets who have noth­ing bet­ter to do than re­gur­gi­tate press re­leases re­port, “that par­tic­i­pants need to sign a waiver be­fore­hand.” Yes, like you do with all gym classes. “It also has a sick sta­tion.” You mean a bucket?

At first glance, it’s dif­fi­cult to im­me­di­ately see why any of this is a prob­lem. You, for in­stance, are al­ready (cor­rectly) point­ing out that this is just a pub­lic­ity-grab and that I, with my foam­ing out­rage, am only help­ing Gym­Box push their te­dious brand of look-at-me trend­ven­tion.

The work­out isn’t even that hard: it’s ba­si­cally a bit of in­ter­val train­ing with a weight vest on and some At­las “stones” that are ac­tu­ally made of rub­ber.

No­body is go­ing to die, no­body who doesn’t like work­ing out un­til they feel sick is go­ing to do the class, and the peo­ple who ac­tu­ally do bother will have some­thing other than an­other eggs bene­dict photo to put on In­sta­gram. Ev­ery­one wins! Ex­cept that, ac­tu­ally, no­body does.

Here’s the first prob­lem: al­most ev­ery­one in this coun­try could do with a bit more ex­er­cise, and any­thing that pushes the idea that Ex­er­cise Is Hard makes the prob­lem worse.

Sure, no­body you know is go­ing to try Flat­line, but to the man or woman who hasn’t worn shorts since their school stopped mak­ing them do cross-coun­try runs, the harder-is-bet­ter nar­ra­tive is ter­rify-


This man needn’t be so ex­hausted. If you want to lose fat, a smartly-tar­geted programme of ket­tle­bell swings is prob­a­bly go­ing to be more ef­fec­tive than 45 min­utes of ran­dom beast­ing.

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