Saturday, March 14, 2009

Getting fit - French style

If you've had the unmitigated pleasure of reading my book, A Town Like Paris (available now at all good book stores, mention my name and you might get a discount...) you'll know that I occasionally like to drop into my local gym for a spot of anthropological research.

It's always amusing to watch Parisians go about the business of getting fit. As with most activities requiring actual physical exertion, the Parisians go about it with about the same amount of gusto as most of the rest of the world reserves for the eating of offal (ie: not very much).

So it shouldn't have come as a huge surprise when yesterday, at the end of one of my infrequent sessions at the Club Med Gym (or Club Merde as it is known amongst locals for the semi-permanent stench of shit that hangs like a pall over the change rooms) the receptionist handed back my card with a complimentary bar of chocolate.

Swiss chocolatiers Milka had obviously brokered a deal with the Club Merde gyms to hand out promotional bars of their new "sugar free" chocky bars to the Parisian gym-going public.

Now, I'm no nutritionist - and it's true that I have been known to follow up a gym session with the occasional beer session - but chocolate? After a workout? At a gym? I mean, surely even the fact that it is 'sugar free' does not qualify chocolate as a wholly recommended foodstuff to follow up a workout.

I'd just spent half an hour flailing about on the treadmill. I was red-faced, sweaty and exhausted from my attempts to shed a bit of winter fat - and here was the gym offering me a chocolate bar as reward for my efforts.

Only in France ...


petulia said...

this is brilliant, and of course very least they didn't give you a full crepe

Al said...

Australian footballers have a more sophisticated custom in this area. Chocolate after a lonely session of self-loathing in the gym suggests regret, weakness and defeat. Far more elegant and life-affirming is the herd of men who roll together in mud before adjourning to a pub to celebrate flinging a ball for the sake of it. The French have a lot to learn.