We Can’t Do ‘Virtual’ Exercise, So Why Do Virtual Life?
Let’s Ditch Social Media! 

‘Social Media’ Exactly what is it? The term itself describes a ‘media’ or ‘platform’ upon which people can be sociable. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. The most famous three of an increasing plethora of ‘platforms’ upon which people share their ‘life’ with friends, acquaintances and complete strangers.

We watch, follow, share, consume, compare, contrast, worry and waste our time, more concerned about how what we are doing right now will translate to the ‘online social community’ later when we ‘upload’, share, expose and shout about what we are doing, what we’ve been doing and what we plan to do… every minute of every day of every week of every damn month!

The irony is that we are never actually in the present. Never making the most of now. Never telling a true story to ourselves, in favour of telling a fanciful one to people who ultimately do not matter. Stories to strangers over investment in the reality of now, and those immediate treasured relationships that are your everything.

When you take an adult, mature, considered step back and look at the whole time-consuming, new-fangled process of constantly ‘showing your feathers’ to the world, it seems absolutely and completely ridiculous. Totally fruitless and of no substance.

The latest generations of human beings have been convinced that the world exists on another plane, another ‘platform’ and that their lives are destined, designed and dutifully directed to be intertwined with the lives and experiences of everyone else in the global digital network. Shallow globalisation of our daily lives instead of focus, family, friendship and feelings; Four F’s that put Facebook firmly in its place.

You’ve guessed it, I’ve had enough of what most now see as progress. ‘The future’. And there are arguments that social platforms give exposure to some vehicles for good. And I totally agree that when, for example, funds are raised for good causes using social media platforms it is hard to argue against it. But, that aside, I think society has taken a wrong turn.

Progress in anything is never linear. It is never a straight line from one place to the next. Progress is about doing and learning and changing your mind, changing your direction. Recognising that what works doesn’t need to be fixed and valuing what is important. This premise though has been thrown out when it comes to conversations about the direction of humanity itself.

If you are lost, you retrace your steps. If on the way to a destination you go the wrong way, you take directions and get back on track. If you deviate from a healthy diet and binge on chocolate, doughnuts and alcohol, you don’t just say… ‘Well this is the new way and it will always be so’, you recognise the blip, recalibrate, decide to do what is healthy and make a change. So why can’t the social media ‘binge’ be ended??? There’s easily enough evidence to prove it is unhealthy.

I would argue strongly that it’s time to prove you can put a genie firmly back in its bottle! It’s time to end the ‘noise’ that is challenging the health, both mentally and physically, of all of us who have been snared by it. Of course, we need to be aware of what is happening in the world and we must not be ignorant or insular. We need to have access to news, insight and new ideas, but we don’t need to be force-fed. We don’t need the constant distraction.

We all want to be responsible in a global context and we all want to be open-minded people who share the greater challenges of the world, but we cannot all save the world every day. Why don’t we start by focussing on our immediate relationships, our immediate experiences, our immediate actions and our immediate communities? By looking people in the eye. By re-igniting the art of conversation. By recognising the importance of nuance in real interaction. Literally, rebuilding our skills in recognising the strength of a smile or being able to notice someone’s troubles in their body language, and by reacting as a human being to offer a hand, a hug. Something real. A whole world exists in each of our minds, yet to share something properly; deeply and with meaning with one person who listens, face-to-face, is infinitely more powerful than any ‘global’ social media splurge.

You can read about exercise but can’t manifest its benefits until you actually move your body. We all ought to take this idea into our daily actions. Don’t read about others’ daily lives, but rather live your own. Don’t postulate about the challenges of the world, rather live and act so that they may not exist.

This all feeds into the ethos of Empire Gym and means a lot to me as a parent. To watch the edited lives of others through social media screens serves no purpose, providing you have a foundation, security and confidence in yourself that is born of strong family, strong friendships and relatable, contactable, tangible role models.

For me, my parents have always been, and still are, both my solid family foundation and my role models. And they are not and have never been on social media. They are of a generation blessed enough to have been without the technology. And it seems to me that I have a responsibility to step away from any form of social media so that my son may come to me and his wonderful mum when his mind is full and he feels the pressures of life and that he can sit and talk with us in an oasis of real life. In an environment that feels secure and without prying eyes. A fortified castle of family, sense and sensibility that cannot be breached by the outside world.

I want Empire Gym to stand for that too.

Your health, your fitness, your goals are not for prying eyes. Your gym experience, your exercise explorations are not played out in a context of social media trends, ideas, fads, conjectures and theories. They are real. They belong to you and they can be played out in a genuine, secure, responsible environment. We can talk about your day. We can talk in colourful terms about our love for food and fine wine, and we can wax about how fitness fits with enjoying a full life.

Furthermore, when you are here, it’s time to do. It’s time to feel. It’s time to experience the positive physical effects of exercise, to hear the music, and to talk to like-minded people, while in a real and local context, you are striving for subtly different specific goals in a collectively positive, supportive atmosphere. So, Empire Gym will be phasing out its social media presence. As will I, personally.

But we have a wonderful, brand new and up-to-date website which will be full of information and news. www. empiregyms.com So please if you need to contact us, do so there. And you can call us on 01778 344579. Most importantly though, you can visit us, talk to us and experience Empire for yourself.

Here’s to real, face-to-face conversation, real life and what matters.

Much love, Matt