Three years ago, I wrote that gyms were the new churches, in which we exorcise (or exercise) our sins, by inflicting ‘punishing’ work-out schedules on our weak flesh, via the Inquisition-like instruments of the weights-room. I noted how my local gym – called Virgin Fitness appropriately – now had a ‘mind, body and spirit’ room where yoga was taught, as well as a spa / massage centre called Heaven.
The difference, of course, is that in modern gyms we purge and punish ourselves in order to look good for other people, rather than to serve God – so gyms are dedicated to the worship of Public Opinion rather than the worship of God. We’re far more scared of looking fat before the mirror of public perception than of looking sinful before God.
Well, it seems gyms really have replaced churches. I saw this advert for the gym chain LA Fitness on the Tube this afternoon: