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Designer health club

Health clubs these days have to do more than offer changing rooms and exercise equipment. My friend told me hers was the most luxurious of the lot. And today I got the chance to try it out.

Step inside and enter another world. It's modern and well-designed. Good looking professionals go there after work, put on their headphones, and use the gym equipment. Despite the "singles" feel, nobody talks to each other. My friend told me that people go there single-mindedly to work on their bodies. I suppose after a full day of mental stimulation, the body just wants some attention.

I elected to take the 6:15 pm MTV dance class. While waiting for the instructor, I struck up a conversation with a Chinese lady. She has lived in England for ten years and longs to return to work again now that her daughter has reached 14 years of age. So why don't you, I asked. She was concerned that she wouldn't be able to find a part-time job of her choice. I told her that employers recognise and provide job flexibility in order to attract and retain the right people. Despite my reassurance, she still felt that employers were prejudiced (against mothers returning to work and the foreigners.) I told her that I had never felt any discrimination.

The dance class was not as tough as I had expected. I had already cycled for fifteen minutes beforehand - so altogether it was a good workout. Apparently one of the special features of this health club was its stainless steel swimming pool. It was quite a sight! The jacuzzi was equally futuristic. The steam room was like a discotheque with its red and blue lights.

In the changing room, I met that housewife again. She asked me if she'll see me next week. I said no. "Oh you should join this club." I said that I didn't have the time.

It's true. It's not worthwhile to join any health club in London because I'm not here long enough to use them. Ideally, I'd like to join a club that has branch clubs all over the world. Ideally, I'd like to bring my visitors to these clubs. So far, I've not come across this kind of flexibility.

This particular health club, with its decor and five-star rating, makes exercising a luxury experience. For a mere 15 pounds, you can get one of the hairdressers there to blow-dry your hair for you. But you have to make sure you have already washed your hair yourself!

29 August 2001