It’s usually around this time each year that gyms begin to recover from the influx of new members. Some people, armed with a list of resolutions and the determination a new year brings, realise that a whole year of working out is loads harder than it seemed when they drunkenly agreed to it at a New Year’s Eve party.
Perhaps you’ve told your friends and family this is the year you’re getting into shape. You were just joking last year and the one before when you said something similar. This is the year. This is your year.
The only problem is, you never had any intention of actually doing anything. Or maybe you earnestly tried but have since come to realise that working out isn’t for you. It doesn’t matter how you got yourself into this mess, we’re here to help you out of it… with a list of kit designed to sell your lie. Outfit yourself and you will seem like a regular meat-head to anyone not looking too closely.
A quick side note: everything on this list can be replaced by much more expensive alternatives which will sell your lie even further. ‘Who would pay R3,500 for gym takkies and not use them?’ everyone will ask themselves when they start to doubt your resolve. But most people can’t afford to drop thousands on equipment just to make themselves look convincingly exercise-minded so we’ve tried to budget accordingly.
Time to be seen
This is the only monthly expense on the list but arguably the most important item. You’re going to want to get the most expensive membership you can afford. If not that one then at least avoid the off-peak plan. You’re specifically going to Virgin Active to be seen by the other people at Virgin Active. You need as many of them around as possible. This also helps you blend in with the crowd so the gym employees don’t catch on.
If you opt for a plan that limits you to a single club we’d advise against the one closest to your house or work. Pick somewhere where you aren’t likely to run into anyone you see on a regular basis. Alternatively, the Premier membership (R1345/m) gives you full access to any club in SA (excl. Collection Clubs). This allows you to cover the most ground so you’ll always be a new face.
Then, when you’re inside, you’ll need to find things to do. Waiting for the equipment to free up and going to the bathroom are good options but don’t forget to intersperse those with walking around aimlessly, stretching, and drinking water. Bring along some of the other items on this list and faking it will become even easier.
Load up on gainz
Now that you’ve got your membership to Virgin Active, the next item on your shopping list is (of course) the largest tub of powdered gains you can find. There are plenty of options from the usual suspects like USN, Biogen, or Evox but those usually come with a markup. But since you’ll mostly be using it as a cover – measuring out and mixing a good protein shake takes time – this 4kg tub of ‘Pro gains’ from NPL (R640) should do the job just fine.
According to the eye-catching marketing on the front, this one features a “multi-stage protein system” and includes protein, low GI carbs, L-Glutamine, and BCAA’s (whatever those are). If that wasn’t enough, the promise of “Maxcise”, or maximising your exercise, with “maximum precise therapeutic dosages” is sure to impress anyone that doesn’t know any better. We can’t speak to any benefits it may or may not offer over the more
expensive established brands but anyone seeing this on your countertop will have no doubt you’re on the express train to Gains City.
Unless you plan to dry-scoop the stuff directly into your mouth, which we strongly discourage, you’ll need a suitable receptacle to mix your powdered gains. This is where USN and its unmistakably-blue colouring show up. This USN Tornado shaker will handle that for you. The large white ‘USN’ lettering down the side help as well. Unless you start offering people sips, no one will know you’ve poured in your vanilla MacDonalds milkshake instead of 40 grams of sweet, sweet muscle fuel. When you aren’t standing around aimlessly shaking it, this can also double as an egg beater and cream whipper for your French toast.
Sleeves get in the way
With your nutritional needs taken care of it’s time to get some drip. This will be largely up to what you’re comfortable wearing (and paying). We’ve singled out a few cheaper examples but it’s best to mix and match from the various athletic brands as your budget allows. We’d caution against anything overly flashy. You want to be seen but not too closely remembered.
Anything you purchase for your top half should be sleeveless because sleeves are the enemy of gains for one reason They obstruct the view of any potential admirers. Something like this sleeveless hoodie is unremarkable enough that you won’t stand out but speaks to its wearer’s determination and resolve. At least that’s what your family will think as you head out to ‘gym’ for the third time that day.
While it might be tempting to go all out on your threads, your kicks are what most gym-goers will judge you on. The tried and tested trainers from Nike, Adidas, Asics, or New Balance offer the best they can at supporting your feet while you hone your body-temple. But you won’t need extra support beyond what regular shoes provide. Because you’re not working out, remember? That’s why these takkies from Mancini are our chosen pair but make sure you get the grey colourway. They’re kind to your wallet and also have the added benefit of a Yeezy Boost 350-looking profile (seen at the right angle and with the right light).
Lastly, you’re going to need to manage people’s expectations throughout your ruse. One of those expectations will be terrible-looking hands. There’s a reason you don’t see hand-model casting agents hanging around gyms. But your hands aren’t going to suffer the same fate as most motivated gym-goers if you keep these training gloves handy (sorry). Our chosen pair is dirt cheap so replacing them shouldn’t be an issue when you inevitably forget them at your gym’s Kauai. If your gym doesn’t have a Kauai, you’re at the wrong gym.
Block out the haters
There will come a time along your journey when people will doubt you. They will call you names like ‘liar’ or ‘fraud’ and hurl baseless insults like ‘you don’t even look shredded’ or ‘you’re ruining this family with your lies’. When that time comes, you’ll need to block out the toxic hate.
Skullcandy’s Crushers are over-ear Bluetooth headphones with enough bass to block out the drone of the most spiteful haters. They don’t have an IP rating so keep them dry as far as possible. Don’t sweat on them, in other words. That shouldn’t be a problem. While you’re pretending to crush your sets, queue up the latest episode of JRE to hear more about how great elk meat is for you as the Crushers crush your head with their bass. Although, if you’re on Spotify, make sure your listening activity is set to private. Alternatively, queue up this Beast Mode playlist so your followers know every time you head to Gains-borough.
Harness the power of
The term ‘science’ can be used fairly loosely these days. It can be used to refer to the type of science Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein are known for. But it can also be used to refer to the ‘science’ behind proving the earth is flat or that 5G towers cause anything other than 24GHz to 54GHz radio signals.
Having said that, what better accessory to enhance your workout than the Power Balance Pro Ion band? This uses “hologram and [a] new ion technology” to “resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body.” We wouldn’t begin to assume what benefits that will have for you. But others might not be as hesitant in their assumptions. If nothing else, you can use the shiny discs to reflect light into the eyes of those that won’t give up the lightest weights.
If it’s not on the ‘gram, did you even lift?
The last thing you’ll need on your journey to pseudo-fitness is a smartphone. You’ll mostly use it for taking and posting ‘progress’ pics for Instagram. High-resolution cameras are essential here. If you’re upgrading, you’ll want to look for anything with a decent selfie cam. Chances are if it has a good selfie cam, the other features should be decent as well. It’s also advisable to go for something that offers native filters and beautifying effects. Using those will a) hide the fact that you haven’t made any progress, and b) cut down on your editing time.
We also recommend you become acquainted with a photo editing app because you can only suck in so far and no amount of skin smoothing will smooth flab away. Feeling a little lost? There are plenty of free courses online but just kill two birds with one stone and scour Instagram for fitness and athleisure influencers. You’ll find great tips on complementary angles, lighting, and background composition for maximum effect. What else are you going to do with all your “workout” time? Actually work out? Don’t be ridiculous.