CONFESSIONS OF A TOURIST: A fitness club in Stockholm
Stockholm's a funny place. Built on a number of lakes, it must be one of the most strategically beautiful capitals in the world. It's advanced, seemingly safe and its infrastructure is as good as anything I've experienced.
I spent a few days there and was impressed with everything and everyone. Well, that's not true actually, because the one place my Scandinavian impression was shattered was in SATS. For those of you who think I'm breaking into some smart arsed jargon, let me explain. SATS is the famous fitness franchise. There are gyms everywhere in Sweden and several in Stockholm itself. Ultra modern, clinically clean, employing beautiful people with beautiful teeth.
It's true, they all seem to have beautiful teeth which rules me out thanks to some bloke I fell out with in Barry Island during my service days. Anyway, back to the point, SATS is known throughout Scandinavia as the place to be seen so, me being in the industry, I was curious to take a look. I approached the desk looking at this squeaky clean advert for Signal toothpaste who looked as if he'd been in the tanning lounge for a week and humbly explained I was in the industry and could I look around.
Now let me regress slightly, because 10 metres before that verbal interaction I had been told to remove my shoes. This was something to do with the laminated floor I'm told, but I have this theory that it's to make all new entrants feel dehumanised as there's nothing like a pair of socks to take the man out of the word human.
Anyway, as I crossed those 10 metres of laminated flooring to the reception desk in my uncomplimentary woollen socks I could feel Sven (has to be his name) looking at this Geordie lad with an unsavoury glare. So there I was in front of him revealing my profession and asking if I could see around the "Starship Enterprise?
His answer knocked me out my little cotton socks (large woollen ones in my case). Due to "security reasons Sir, I'm afraid I'm unable to allow that". Security? Security? I only want to see your treadmills mate, I don't want to nick your dumbbells. What am I going to do for goodness sake, sneak a stepper out the toilet window, tell the Iranian secret service you're doing a thing called Pilates? Sell your swivel hip Zumba moves to the North Koreans? It's a fitness club not the bloody Pentagon! I tried to exchange these views but not since I stood on the Turkish/Syrian border had I felt like a foot slapping was about to be inflicted.
I then left in my shoes with dignity intact but never saw this Nirvana of Fitness studios.
Alan Curry is a personal trainer at ChicPhysique. For more information, visit http://www.chicphysique.com.