Persons in Jamaica are more health and image-conscious now than ever before and you don’t have to go far to see the evidence.
Just take a short trip to the closest beach, chill spot or even social media platforms like Instagram and you will find immaculately toned legs or the “firm” posterior of women or “ripped” arms and sculpted “six-packs” of men.
But what is driving this lifestyle?
Some gym-goers (myself included) will readily admit that, like fashion and music, the fitness and wellness experience is borrowed mostly from our developed neighbours in the north, the United States of America.
The lifestyle of the progressive and influential movie stars, musicians and entertainers have influenced many to look as “buff” or “slim and trim” as they do.
By our check, there are close to 24 established or popular gyms in Kingston and St Andrew alone.
While the lifestyle has peaked in some places in Kingston and St Andrew, it is most certainly spreading to rural parishes with multiple gyms in Clarendon, St Catherine, Manchester and other parishes.
The typical gym-goer will use the gym three to six days per week. Most preferring five days per week (Monday to Thursday and then Saturday), with two days set aside for rest days.
Rest days are as important as workout days as the muscles and body needs time to heal.
But of course, keeping up with this healthy lifestyle isn’t always cheap.
Basic gym fees can come as low as $4000 but may go as high as $100,000 monthly in some instances. Opting for a personal trainer or a 24-hour gym access may cause these prices to rise and fall accordingly.
The 24-hour gym access is a favourite for many persons because of the flexibility provided.
It accommodates the working hours perfectly and also allows you the luxury of escaping from the peak traffic after a workout or to hide at 3 am when no one else is around as you try to get your “summer body”.
And this experience can be bought for $6000 per month. So I would definitely recommend that type of gym for persons who want to join a gym but is shy about being judged by others and also have a budget to keep.
Speaking of shy, that’s the story of Nathaniel. I’ve seen him a few nights during my workout at our gym in Kingston and so I decided to ask him why he started working out and why he’s always so late.
“I prefer to come at nights as there are fewer people to stare”Nathaniel
In addition, Nathaniel explained he is highly academic and that studying has brought on serious stress since high school and even now in university. So the gym gives him an outlet to release the stress and tension.
But not everyone’s story is that deep. Prince and Chris who also work, wearing cheeky grins, said they simply started working out because “ah dat (that’s what) the ladies want”.
Perhaps one of the more serious uses of the gym is encapsulated by the popular gym-goer saying “gym is life”. It is indeed life for many persons, as it is literally enhancing and lengthening the lives of persons who suffer from diseases such as diabetes and depression.
Speaking of gym-goer sayings, here is a list of expressions you may wish to know if you are uninitiated but intend to join the movement or just simply want to know what the fitness buffs are saying:
Do you lift bro?
This is a common question from someone who sees another person who is ripped and wants to know where they workout.
Gym is life
When persons say this they mean they are regularly at the gym
The persons, who are mainly into building large muscles, use this. They will say they’ve activated beast mode to lift heavyweights.
An expression by gym-goers to state that they are making meals to match their workout plans.
A toned, muscular physique.
Someone whose body is in great physical shape
Treadmill, dumbbells, Olympic bar and squat rack
These are some of the more popular gym machines and equipment.
An added benefit of the gym, is you also get to meet or see some of your favourite local celebrities. So, if this is your interest, the gym on Lady Musgrave Road in Kingston is ideal for you.
But whatever your reason for joining a gym, get involved now, and the fitness bandwagon certainly has space for you, as gyms are opening almost every day across the country.
— Story written by C.W.