Work Out magazine this month leads with the story ‘Call for tax breaks for gym goers’
James Shillaker is a director of Incopore, which runs Gymflex a successful programme which allows employees to have gym membership deducted through their salaries. That by itself is a brilliant idea - wish I had that facility. It benefits all. But please don’t in some way indicate that because I go to the gym that’s where it ends. James adds “It seems crazy that when the government is putting such an effort tackling obesity, it is not giving tax breaks to something which is getting people fitter” Ha ! really ? Where is the evidence to suggest that going to a gym is getting people fitter? I get very angry and defensive when the obesity band wagon is jumped on when gyms are pointed out that in some way is the answer. It’s not ! eating sensibly will far outweigh that issue. And that is free. Attacking the marketing companies that indicate that eating chocolate covered cereals is in some way healthy, restricting advertising at sporting events that promote rubbish food and drinks, Supermarkets constantly having cut price deals on cheap and nasty food filled with bad fats, Healthy school dinners , more active teenagers, more role models who promote the healthy life style based on results and not who they are bedding this week or what night club they just got thrown out of …… I hope you are getting the picture .. Just don’t say by joining a gym we fall into the land of getting fitter, because performance related results are the last thing on gyms minds and if they were about 5% of a gym actually achieve anything at all, the rest? Well lets just say they contribute towards a very profitable industry that has not one shred of evidence that over the past twenty years it has achieved anything at all and worryingly twenty years from now I suspect the increase in obesity, heart related disease, diabetes will have increased massively, profits from the Fitness Industry will have increased massively - and everybody will be pointing the fingers at each other saying you could have done this or that - but you didn’t.
Joining a gym will not get you you fit. You get you fit by what you do at that gym or indeed any form of physical activity. But please don’t expect a miracle cure. Getting fit takes a commitment to a lifestyle change and eating sensibly and being active is the start. But it will take commitment and discipline. And the evidence that I see says around 5% of a gym have that!