Your budget chain gym had been pestering you with email updates about some kind of improvement program they were running at the moment. Apologies and all that for closing the gym at early in the morning to move thing around to add in a new floor. You were thankful for them spending the time and money to expand the gym massively, although the amount of updates and marketing over it was a little too much.
Today’s marketing email was about the opening of the massage area in the gym. It was trying to make it feel a little more upmarket than just being a bunch of machines in a room, which most budget gyms pretty much were. The email was mostly full of the usual makreting terms saying how it would basically change your life to book a free massage session, which was basically just a chair where a machine would do all of the work a human would charge lots of money for.
Not wanting to make it seem like you couldn’t get any value from a free massage, even though it was with a machine and not a trained professional, you clicked the link to book in a slot for your massage. Luckily there were still some slots available and they ran until quite late when you liked to go. That was one problem with budget gyms, you had to schedule yourself around when the equipment would actually be usable. In the early months of the year, especially January that meant frequently ending up doing weekend sessions at 2 or 3 in the morning.
On the day you had booked your massage, the gym was empty. It was a rare sight where you couldn’t quite remember if you even saw another person around. Going late sure did have it’s perks which meant you could freely spend almost 2 hours working your body through all of the different exercises. It was leg, chest and arm day, just because everything was free for a change.
Your phone reminded you that you’d booked the massage thing and headed up the new stairs to the small room where they had added the massage chair. It was a simple room locked off with a keypad where you typed in your code to access the gym, just like the rest of the place. Entering the room revealed a fair unremarkable chair with a few buttons, with the walls painted in the almost black colour which kept it on-brand with the gym. The only obstruction was the laminated sheet of instructions on the wall instructing you how to use the machine.
It seemed simple enough, simply get comfortable, turn it on and then press the “AUTO” button. Nothing more to really do except hope it did a good job to be worthy of the time and the money the gym had spent on it instead of maintining the equipment more. That really bugged you when people were new to the gym and didn’t know or care much for looking after the equipment. Many times you had tried to use stuff to find missing parts or just machines being broken.
You removed your shoes, letting off an instant smell radiating from your socks as the sweat from your long workout had embeded a layer of sweat into most of your clothing. Climbing into the device, it felt rather strange, although for a machine to do a workout it would have to have all sorts of pockets to actually massage you properly.
You pressed the “AUTO” button, the machine beeped and you put your arm into the pocket on the side and the machine started to tilt backwards and the various parts rotate and move, rotating various bumps across your body in an attempt to relax and simulate something roughly like a human hand.
Initially, the rotating motion of the plates, especially in the painful spots in your back, were incredibly uncomfortable, but then the fatigue from your workout started to kick in and you relaxed into the motion. Almost as though the chair had realised what was causing discomfort and had started to change it’s routine to feel as comfortable as possible.
Slowly the comfort was improving, allowing you to feel calmer and more relaxed almost as though everything was being brushed away from a computerised sea rushing over your body. Sinking it slowly into it’s sand, bit by bit.
You awoke in a slight startle, not realising how comfortably you had just had fallen asleep for at least a good few hours. Checking your surroundings, you gathered your things realising how nicely tight your workout had made you feel. It was rare that happened, and unusual considering you had supposedly just got a massage.
Making your way into your car making sure you were fully alert and getting yourself home, and into the warmth of a shower and then into your duvet and off to a proper and actually wanted sleep.
The next morning, you had slept in quite a bit. It was only apparent when you had when briefly checking your phone. However, you stretched out an unusual amount of energy. Although, there were no messages from work? Work. The word spun around in your head a few times.
You decide to slug towards getting some breakfast and almost like clockwork prepare a protein shake and pull off a banana. Something felt incredibly wrong. Something about the time of day, and something never felt this fresh before? You had a buzz from your phone reminding you of your first client appointment was in an hour.
Something clicked, even though you knew it was obvious. You were a PT at the gym, not this weird almost-dream of sitting in an office staring at a screen. And you had just been hired finishing your training and the recent expansion.