by Brigette Mashile, founder of Roka Roko
I have cancelled my gym membership. I can hear a wave of horror and disbelief racing through my people. I mean how dare I in this age of green healthy bodies, what am I doing? Honestly, it feels like freedom and something I have been trying to do for a long time. I have been signed up to some or other gym for the longest time all because someone said I must be part of a gym. They are right, but I do think there are other ways of achieving fitness! Other than being committed to a contract, I have failed over and over to honour.
My journey with gyms started in …sometime in 2011. I had just been dumped and living with my friend at her mom’s house. My friend’s mom ran and still runs at Comrades marathon levels. My friend also ran. I did not. Amazingly though and by the grace of God I had such a fit and toned body from just being me. One day I decided to join a gym, I think it was R300 a month. This experience was fun and beneficial. My body became even better in a few weeks; and I was feeling great. I then moved from the South and went West.
In the West I belonged to no gym. It just didn’t make sense then. I worked far from there, so I would never wake up early enough for gym or stay late enough in the work area for gym. This reason was enough for me to quit; in support of the fact that I do not like gym. But, God was still merciful to me and I was still fit, toned and well. I then moved to Buccleuh and still needed no gym; but in this area I started walking and jogging a bit. Like 1km. Then, one day in 2013 I collapsed, it was a brain haemorrhage.
After the hospital stay I moved into a new house in the east of Johannesburg. This is the trajectory of my fitness; I started gaining weight due to many things including that my recovery needed me to sit still and sleep for weeks; while eating a lot because of the medication I was on. I gained and gained and gained. In total I think it was 15kg extra. I then decided to join a gym, because suddenly I needed one. I joined one at a mall close to me; paying R150 a month. I still hated the gym.
I then found crossfit in the gym; and decided that sounds more like me. I joined the class and fell in love. This is when how I found out that I enjoy more core workouts, less cardio and less monotony. I love the idea that every day is different, and I have no clue what is coming. Crossfit was fun and effective but I eventually found it expensive when winter hit my business. I then left but remained with the gym. A few months later I moved the business to Midrand, meaning I was now further away from the gym. I then decided to cancel my membership.
A few months later I start getting calls about owing the gym as they never received my cancellation. This went on for 2 years with me telling them they must have lost it in their admin; the issue was the person assigned to me who I communicated my exit to, had left the gym. So, it became my job to find him and have him confirm to the gym that I indeed communicated my exit to him. Meanwhile, I found yet another gym I liked in Sunninghill. This gym had options on terms. I signed up for 12 weeks I think; to start. They had a crossfit similar routine which eventually bored me because they are really disciplined in this routine!
Two years later after leaving the Sunninghill gym, I find myself signing up to another gym close to home for R350 a month for 24 months. Goodness why??? I think I felt fat, and needed to convince myself I was not. Maybe if I attended gym regularly my opinion would change. Then there was that little nagging voice reminding me of my hypertension and how it would all become better if I just lost 10kg! I went to that gym for a month diligently, then boom I stopped. Again…you guessed it, I moved somewhere else. I have moved my business closer to home and in an area that is bliss to walk, run, jog, meditate, whatever. I find myself walking and jogging more. This is why I decided to leave that gym.
Do you see the drama in the quest to be green bodied and fit? This drama I could’ve missed in my life honestly. So many gyms, so many contracts, just to end up realizing I am able to it on my own and I am enough on my own. I no longer feel fat; but I am aware I am not the societal perfect body. I do still want to better the hypertension, and I will. But through a method less costly, both financially and mentally. Leaving this last gym was such a comforting activity, the lady made it so easy and swift. No arguments and no small print surprises.
If you run a gym, your clients want options as to how long to stay at your gym, options on payment amounts, options on payment days, and options inside the gym as to routines. We also want attention, it makes us feel like you are concerned about us only in that moment and that our health matters. Many of us think about leaving a gym every morning and every night. But we still want a body like Jennifer Lopez.
The best advice I can give is there is a wave of entrepreneurs who NEED gym, but the current options don’t suit our lifestyle or pockets. Think about it and help us.
Now to avoid signing up to another next week….sigh!
Brigette Mashile is the founder and creative force behind Roka Roko, a custom fashion design business based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The company passionately delivers quality tailored and trendy fashion to make their customers happy, and specializes in styling women by creating unusual combinations with fabric, culture and style. Brigette has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Witwatersrand and a Fashion Diploma from Studio5 School of Fashion. She’s a former fashion buyer for a major retailer in South Africa, and an international direct selling company. She’s been passionate about fashion since the age of 10 and gained invaluable experience in the fashion world running informal fashion creation businesses until the day her own Roka Roko brand was born. Find out more by visiting the Roka Roko website www.rokaroko.co.za
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