Behavioural economists have shown that we overestimate how much gym time we will use when signing up for monthly or annual health club membership; we’d be better off paying for individual sessions.

That’s certainly my experience. I was a member of a gym behind Fleet Street for a number of years, and never lifted a single weight. Membership was subsidised (modestly), but this was not complete profligacy, or an egregious triumph of hope over experience; the purpose of my membership was really to use the showers. My exercise regime involved riding a bike to work 130 miles a week in all weathers, so access to a shower was mandatory. I rode flat out, had no concept of rest and recovery, and would end up knackered, or — more scientifically — suffering from overtraining syndrome.

The idea of modulating effort and choosing to have rest days never crossed my mind — the mutant puritan gene at work. Progressively, after riding home from 12-hour days late in the evening following frequently pointless conference calls with New York head office, all the benefits of this excercise started to go into reverse. Continue reading ‘gym fees require heavy lifting’

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