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"Full service" gym launched, service staff lift weights for you

25, Oct 2010 By Simon

New Delhi. A local gym has become the world’s first “full service” gym, according to Gym World Magazine. Unique Bodies in South Delhi offers its members a bespoke “100% personal fitness service” which takes the sweat, strain and injury risk out of exercise.

Whilst most gyms provide towels, showers, steam rooms and massages, the team behind Unique Bodies has gone one step further. “We thought, why not take the strain from the customer?” explains Mohit Vij, creator of the “full service” concept, “so at our gym, the staff run the miles and lift the weights for you.”

“My wife made me join a gym because of my weight,” says Prem, 48, sitting on a Swiss ball drinking a high-glucose energy drink whilst instructor Shakil bangs out abdominal crunches on a mat, “but now I can get exercise done without all the sweat and tears. I’m in the clothes trade. Nike outsources their donkey work to me, so why shouldn’t I outsource mine to him?” he continues gesturing to the red faced trainer.

“Our clients have busy schedules,” says Vij, “our premium package even allows them to get workouts done remotely, say from the office or even from a recliner by a pool in the Maldives.” Trainers are also on twenty four hour stand-by. “In case a client on a business trip needs to complete spinning session at 8AM Tokyo time,” explains Vij.

A trainer working out at the gym
Some experts argue that such services provide a placebo effect and “vicariously” keep the customers fit

Trainer Amit is on his tenth kilometer on the treadmill. He wears headphones and is talking to a webcam mounted on a laptop. “My client is in the US,” he says, “he says he’s just eaten twelve pancakes and he needs me to ‘offset’ the calories. He’s in the airline industry so he knows all about this stuff.”

Then he returns to his client on webcam. “He just had maple syrup,” he adds, “that means another 10 minutes on here.”

Vij estimates that Unique Bodies has “offset” around 100,000 calories in the past month, that’s the equivalent to 1000 bananas, 500 portions of rice or breakfast in the Punjab. Keen to improve the fitness of its officers, the Delhi Police is said to be considering a “corporate package”. Bappi Lahiri has registered his interest, although Vij pointed out he would have to “expand his operation”.

“I’ve always wanted to buy some sleek trainers,” says Anisha, watching bulky trainer Ashish self-consciously dumbbell-pressing two pink 1kg weights, “and now I can and without all that sweat messing up my hair and those funny constipated faces people pull when they’re straining. I got some really cute sporty t-shirts too. They’re pink like my new ipod.”

But some members are not totally satisfied with the new service. “Sure I tell people at dinner parties that I go to the gym five times a week,” complains Sahil, 36, “but look at this guy’s form! It’s terrible! He’s doing the exercise all wrong and he hasn’t upped the weight in three weeks. I’m making no progress here. Put your back into it man.”

His trainer, Raghav, shrugs, “if he is finding the sessions too hard,” he explains, “then maybe Sahil should do as so many others have done and send his driver in to do the heckling.”

Unique Bodies has also been criticized by many experts, but the owner is quick to point out that outsourcing physical labor is nothing new. “The Gulf countries are full of migrant workers, Indian homes are full of maids and cooks, plus even the England cricket team does it. You think Strauss and Pietersen are English names?” Vij said.

The strong defense by Vij has inspired many. Several state governments have lobbied the Centre for “calorie credits”.

“We should be compensated for all our hard work and malnutrition,” an Orissa government spokesman told Faking News, “we’ve been consistently offsetting around 200 million calories on behalf of the NCR. Give us the cash!” Asked if the cash would be used for improving the PDS, the official added, “Why do that? We don’t bite the hand that feeds.”