Yes, that's what the Romans called that vile species we know today as 'gym bunnies'. We popped round to our local sports centre this morning where I signed up to the induction course for Tuesday morning: you know, learning to use the walkers, rowers, static bikes, power-presses ...
I did not make a good impression there: I'm in recovery from the ghastly norovirus - my voice is squeaky, my hue wan. I fear the fit young lady at the service desk anticipated a combination of failure and/or death-in-action for Tuesday.
For a long time I used to run 3 miles or so three times a week. Eventually I could sustain an average 7-8 mph. And eventually I got knee and hip joint pains which never properly recovered so I had to stop, degrading into my current state of unfitness. With a two stone loss of weight I'm now in urgent need of muscle-toning - time to devolve fat, not muscle! Hence my entry into the Schwarzeneggerish world of the gym.
OK, I ask myself, I get all this body maintenance stuff ... but run it past me again: what, exactly, in the end, is it all for?