Becky says things about … home workouts

Greetings isolators!

So, the sun’s out, the air is warm, it’s bank holiday weekend – do you fancy meeting for a few drinks in a pub gard –

– oh.


Forget that.

I don’t mind telling you, I’m annoyed. Until recently, I was enjoying my most successful relationship with a gym in all my 35 years: we were seeing each other regularly, for the most part we enjoyed each other’s company, and I was leaving it aching and sweaty, all good signs of a healthy relationship. I was even starting to see results – you know, those nebulous and much-coveted results that only happen to other people, well they were starting to happen to me! Our relationship was flourishing!

And then we broke up. Not because we had an argument, or I got bored, or the gym started making unreasonable demands about wanting to see me every day, none of that. We broke up because there was a sodding pandemic.

So now I’m locked up in lockdown, but it’s okay, because according to quite a lot of people on the Internet, lockdown doesn’t have to mean my newly cultivated muscles need to melt to sludgy pockets of Malteasers and Cool Original Doritos-oomska, because I can turn my home into a luxury premium workout studio.

Except that I can’t.

Now look, I live in a studio flat. I can reach all parts of my flat in three strides – and I’m talking modest strides, I’m not talking I-just-paid-£8.99-for-an-item-labelled-£15.99 sort of victory strides – and therefore it is not possible to execute the sort of gallopy I’ve-got-so-much-energy-and-the-space-to-accommodate-it exercise routes that are springing up online, because this happens:

And whilst I admire people’s dedication to keeping fit, I’m not sold on the increasingly inventive ways that they are suggesting we use our household items as gym equipment, such as deadlifting the piano, or doing 800 squats with the washing machine strapped to our backs – I mean, as if the emergency services don’t have enough on their plate right now?

What happened to the old ‘if you don’t have any weights at home, a couple of tins of beans will do’? We appear to have donkey-kicked our way straight past that to ‘if you don’t have any weights at home, the kitchen table will do’.

If I were to do the sort of home workout that these crazy cats are encouraging me to do, I cannot begin to imagine the carnage that would ensue from using three chairs to do push ups –

– or from using the radiator to do pull ups –

– or from using the toilet to do step-ups.

And there is another school of thought that encourages us to replace gym equipment with family members; you know, those cute videos of buff dads bench pressing their three year-olds. Well, that’s all very heartwarming – you’re working out really effectively and spending quality time with your child, you absolute winner – but what if you don’t have a three year-old?

And what if you live alone? With social distancing it’s not even acceptable to take measures that would otherwise be perfectly 100% acceptable.




I suppose as I don’t have any small children lying around, I could use Billy Bear and Huggy Bear as weights.

Sod all this, I’m going to turn my flat into a premium luxury Easter egg haven instead.

Stay healthy, stay home, and look after each other xx

Becky says things about … New Year’s Resolutions

Isn’t January wonderful!! Isn’t it glorious to feel so refreshed and motivated for the year ahead? So full of zeal and gusto??

And what’s the best thing about January? Why, New Year’s Resolutions, of course! You are not truly a person unless you march into a new year equipped with an arsenal of things that you are definitely going to achieve this year. And if some of those things are the same things you’ve marched into every other year with? Then, hell, you’ll be all the more equipped to achieve them!

Can you smell that? That, my friend, is the smell of your determination. It is a heady aroma of grease, sweat and pureed spinach; it is a wonderful smell! It is the smell of success! This is the year you WIN AT LIFE.

Are you excited? You should be. What’s not exciting about the prospect of making your own vegetable smoothie every single morning?? You can feel the goodness seeping into your body, washing away all the gin and cheese-induced negativity and evil kebab thoughts. You will take pleasure in perusing the gleaming vegetable aisles, and you will smile broadly at the checkout, because you know what? You cannot put a price on SUCCESS.

You will laugh in the face of the slimy mess that will slide over your kitchen worksurfaces every morning as you fumble bleary-eyed with the blender to create your cocktail of vitality and victory. And when you throw away three bags’ worth of rotting vegetables at the end of every week, you will not despair, my brave warrior: you will overcome this by BUYING SOME MORE.

But you will not stop there. You will become a GOD this year. If you haven’t already signed up to a gym membership, do it NOW. Perfection does not come to those who do not open January gym memberships! Think of the tingling anticipation of entering that brightly-lit, slightly moist cavern of likeminded winners, united in their pursuit of glory.

The thrill of the push up! The quiet arousal of the star jump! The dignified ebullience of the lunge! Run, run, my friend, on that treadmill, sticky with the fruits of previous winner’s mighty endeavours; squat your way to eternal happiness; hoist the dumbells of negativity into the cosmos of triumph! YOU ARE A GOD.

But the attainment of physical supremacy is only the beginning. This year will bring so much more! FEED YOUR MIND. Can you imagine the thrill of finishing your novel? Of completing that symphony? Of putting the delicate finishing strokes to that oil painting of an aubergine in peril? Of course you can imagine it. BECAUSE YOU ARE A WIZARD OF YOUR OWN DESTINY.

Kale is not the enemy. Spelt is a delicacy to be discovered and relished. That soft nightly slab of brie will be tossed asunder to make way for the yeast-zapping prowess of a pot of live biocultures. Those silken cubes of dark chocolate will shrink into the shadow of a carefully measured cup of unsalted almonds. Walking three miles out of your way to work in order to achieve your 10,000 steps a day? A triviality. Calling your mother every evening to talk about her psoriasis and the new conservatory? A simple pleasure. Replacing your nightly bottle of wine with a flask of camomile tea? You laugh in the face of such an easy task. Why have you never managed to do these things in previous years? Because you did not truly assemble the bracken of self-belief in the hearth of motivation and light it with the touch paper of success. But this year? This year will be different. YOU will be different.

I know, I know. I make it sound so easy. I am alarming you with the force of my belief in you. You are nervous – perhaps a little unsure – about your ability to withstand the pressure of cultivating and maintaining perfection in all aspects of your life, every single day. But, my soldier of prospect, you have the greatest tool within you to achieve all of this: the NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION.

So go – go, my darlings. Adorn your fridge with the post-its of determination, which will form a collage of your own victory. You are you. This is 2018.

And if you don’t do any of this in 2018, you can always try again next year.



… then you may be interested to know that my friend Stickman has made it onto a range of greetings cards! You can buy them on my Etsy site here. All proceeds go to putting Stickman through astronaut school.*

*May be a lie.

Becky says things about … January

Well good day to you my most excellent Listeners! I trust you are in fine fettle and full of the joys and hopes of a shining, sparkling New Year?

Of course you’re not.

It’s January.

The laws of Physics, Biology, Cosmology and other sciencey things dictate that it is virtually impossible to feel anything other than thoroughly depressed in January. It is a terrible month. We plough through December, eating and drinking everything in sight, relying on the fact that on January 1st we shall be injected with a pure elixir of energy, health and enthusiasm for life.


The reality is quite different.


Oh, Listener, you have no idea the effort it is taking to drag my lethargic fingers across these keys. Would I rather be binge-watching anything on Netflix with a plate of cheese resting on my stomach? Of course I would. Because that’s what I spent December doing. But January is here now, and January says NO to everything we did in December. December is the really fun yet irresponsible babysitter who lets us eat all the chocolate and watch unsuitable films, but is now passing us back to our stern January parents who are entirely disapproving of the whole thing.


In the midst of the grey funk of January, we are expected to reinvent ourselves. We are expected to hoist ourselves out of the gluttonous December coma and be inconceivably motivated. I tried to do this, Listener. On Monday I went to the gym. For the first time in about 347 years. Everyone in the gym could be moved into one of three categories:

1) Those who were doing a sterling job of starting their New Year’s health and fitness routine, who had clearly spent the weekend online ordering vitamin powders and home exercise equipment, and who were sprinting, cycling, lifting, pushing, squatting, and sit-upping with the fearsome determination of movie soldiers running in slow motion through a forest in heavy rain to catch the enemy who had just shot their best buddy Herb against a dramatic soundtrack.


2) Those who desperately wanted to be in the first category, but who couldn’t quite muster the same level of enthusiasm because they were weeping internally for the loss of justified over-indulgence and the ability to consume an entire wheel of truffle brie without challenge. These folks were slumped wretchedly over the rowing machines and staring at themselves in the mirror whilst mourning their lost happiness.


3) Those for whom January is just another month of incessant smug fitness and energy, and who were watching the New Year’s Resolutions clutter up their gym with a tedious annual predictability, and who were waiting for us to get the hell off the treadmill and stuff our pathetic faces with the pizza we so tragically desired.


And the weather will not assuage our torment. In December, we can handle the perpetual greyness because it is lit up with a flurry of twinkling lights and the prospect of endless evenings face down in sausagemeat stuffing against a backdrop of numbing festive television. In January, the greyness is just grey. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. No hope. No joy. Nothing.

Just grey.


We are overweight. We are dehydrated. We are unfit. We have played with our Christmas presents and had to explain ourselves to the family member who spied their gift to us on eBay. We have received the credit card bill. We try to sleep after an evening of peppermint tea and miso salmon, but lie awake inside a body that screams ‘What is this shit? Give me a full-bodied Merlot and a turkey crown this instant!’ We are oh, so aware of the running shoes that have lain unopened in their box since Christmas morning, and which are now pulsing like Kryptonite at the back of the wardrobe where we have pitifully tried to hide them and forget that they exist.


Oh, Listeners. I wish I could end your seasonal suffering. I wish I could tell you a sprightly jape or provide some words of comfort to pluck you from your January doom.

But I cannot.

January has us in its clutches. January lies like the cold forgotten sausage at the back of your fridge. Hopeless. Useless. An unbearable disappointment.

My only advice to you is: cook some more sausages.



If you’d like something to cheer up your January, why not buy a copy of my book ‘This Ridiculous Life’? Click ‘Buy This Ridiculous Life’ at the top of the page and hey presto! January is immediately better! 




Becky says things about … failed exercise attempts

Hello, valued Listener. You look lovely today. That colour suits you.

Now. Exercise.

I know, it makes me feel a bit perturbed as well.

But I like exercise. I go through phases of doing it fairly regularly. I like an endorphin as much as the next man, and I enjoy the feeling of smugness that accompanies sweatily getting into a shower after a 30 minute run.


But for every 30 minute run, there is the Failed Exercise Attempt. You know what I’m talking about, dearest, static Listener. Those planned exercise sessions, that picture of your ideal body pinned to your wardrobe, the delicate fillet of lemon sole in your fridge, all geared towards transforming you into the Most Awesomely Stunning Example of Physical and Aesthetic Perfection in the World. All going up in smoke like a wet tea towel left on a burning hob.


I have identified four types of Failed Exercise Attempts throughout my extensive experience of the subject, and, for your ease of reference I shall detail them here.

The Unexpected Failure

You spend all day at work looking forward to a Really Good Session. You imagine your flushed cheeks, your sparkling eyes, your ripped abs, your toned thighs, your impossibly rounded buttocks. You bound home with the confident stride of a winner. You arrive home, you observe Rule No.1 of a successful exercise routine – DO NOT SIT DOWN EVEN FOR ONE MOMENT – you leap into your sports gear which you lovingly laid out on your bed this morning, you crank up some suitably noisy tunes on your iPod, you hop out into the cool evening light, you take those first sprightly steps in your new running shoes, the image of your disbelieving, beautiful face registering the roar of the crowd as you take Gold at the 100m final…

…and then the truth smacks you round the love handles like a horrible, slimy trout.

You really cannot be arsed.


You try everything: you tell yourself you are fat and disgusting, you grab handfuls of your inner thighs, you search frantically through your Running playlist for a motivational tune, you make a promise to cut off your own hand if you don’t do a 30 minute run… But alas. It is all in vain. You just cannot be arsed.

You lope home, turning the serene evening air blue with your curses, you rip off your sportsgear, you kick your trainers at the wall, and you make six slices of toast and butter and spend the evening watching terrible, terrible television in a vile immovable torpor.


The Expected Failure

You just know it’s going to end badly. You’re almost playing a game with yourself; you’re saying ‘Oh right, going to exercise are we? Really? Huh. Yeah, good luck with that. We’ll just see what happens, shall we? You’re ridiculous.’

You go through the whole sorry rigmarole of putting on sportsgear, you find your running playlist, chuckling sadistically to yourself, you stomp outside, you take an almost ironic little jogging step…

…and the whole thing unravels with a tedious inevitability.


You spend three hours eating chocolate and ice cream in front of YouTube, but you tell yourself it’s okay because you expected to fail, so, in actual fact, you haven’t actually failed at anything because you succeeded in meeting your expectation to fail, and you open the second tub of ice cream to celebrate your astute self-awareness.

The Gallant Attempt

Most likely to occur in gyms, where the social pressure is most acute.

You start off okay. You get a bit sweaty on the bike. You go really fast on the crosstrainer for two minutes, which probably burned about 3,000,000 calories because you were going so fast. You plod for a bit on the treadmill. You look at the chest press, and note the intention to use it. You know you’re on a knife edge, you can feel eyes on you. Cruel eyes. Judging eyes.


You pull yourself together, you stride across the gym with a determination that even Rocky couldn’t  muster, you grab the weighty-arm-strengthener-handle-pully thing, you give it an almighty tug with the strength of an ox in his prime…

…and it hurts slightly, the gym is just so stuffy, your shoes are rubbing, you’re thinking about dinner, and life’s too short.

You scuttle into the changing rooms, splash some water over your face so at least it looks like you broke a sweat, and you drive home shaking your head and cursing the £100 a month you pay in order to humiliate yourself.


The Non-Attempt

You lie on your bedroom floor intending to do 100 sit ups.

You do two.

You get up and go to find food.


So, cherished, immobile Listener, there really is only one solution to these heinous daily failures:

Have a sandwich instead.


(PS Check out this most excellent advice on how not to become a massive blob of pizza and beer while at college… )

Becky says things about … Bikram yoga

Bikram yoga. Crazily lithe people standing in a 40 degree room twisting themselves into mental postures that are probably illegal in some countries, sweating like pigs in an abattoir, all in the name of supreme health for body, mind and soul.

Any takers?

I did it. At the new studio in Surbiton High Street, which opened last weekend. Myself and a chum took ourselves there on Thursday morning in the pursuit of health and happiness, glowing skin, long, lean limbs, and a complete body detoxification.

Oh my goodness me the room is hot. It really is heated to 40 degrees C. It’s like walking through the sudden hot exhaust fumes of a bus, but then you come out and hit cool air again – except in this studio there was NO COOL AIR.

The instructor – a very lovely, very healthy-looking lady with fabulous skin, hair, muscles, everything – very nicely took us and the other mentalists in pursuit of happiness through the 26 postures.

26 postures. So for a moment, ignore the fact that we are currently standing in a terrible oven. We have 26 postures to contend with. Some of which were fine; I managed the ‘stand very straight with your arms in the air’ posture.

I even managed the more difficult ‘stand very straight but with your arms in a weird twisty position and one leg wrapped round the other one and try to ignore the fact that you can feel your crotch sweating’ posture.

However. When it got to the ‘stand on one leg and stick the other leg out at a right angle in front of you then grab your foot and press your chest down onto your elevated leg whilst still trying to ignore the fact that you could possibly have wet yourself but you’re hoping you’ve just got sweaty pants’ posture, I got into difficulties. I have minimal balance at the best of times, but when asked to do unnatural things in a heated room, it’s just not going to go well.

And when the ‘stand on one leg, then rise onto tiptoe, then squat down, then cross your other leg over your tiptoing leg and balance your entire body on the tiptoe of one foot’ posture came up, they may as well have asked me to do this:

or this:

It’s just not going to happen. So rather than wobble around like a drunken toad, I sat that one out.

The heat gets to you after a while. After you’ve sweated from places you didn’t know could sweat (who knew your ear lobes could sweat?) and you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that you look and feel disgusting, there is the nausea. That ominous swell in the gut. I’ve heard of people rushing out of bikram yoga studios to vomit on the receptionist, and I really didn’t want to do that, especially as she really was a very nice receptionist.

So I breathed. It’s all about the breathing. Breathe deeply. Take small sips of your now warm bottle of water. The nausea subsided. The sweat continued. And actually, all in all, despite all the revolting elements to it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I left feeling full of energy, clean-skinned, healthy. Then seven minutes later I had a slump in Sainsbury’s and vowed never to do the whole ridiculous thing again.

But I will, because I did kind of enjoy it, and I want glowing skin, lean muscles, and to be able to do this

Becky says things about … trying to look cool at the gym

I have never managed this. It is a skill I shall never acquire, much like ice skating or remembering I don’t like omelettes. There are so many factors working against your quest for coolness in the gym, that I really don’t understand those lucky few who manage to remain smiling, poised and gorgeous.

While using my free 7-day pass at the very flash Nuffield Health Gym in Surbiton this morning, which is a very beautiful gym filled with very beautiful people, I committed pretty much every uncool sin going. Here they are, in no particular order:

1) Trying to Drink Whilst Moving

I can barely take a sip of anything without chucking it down myself at the best of times, but when I’m bouncing along on a treadmill it’s a damned nightmare. One carefully-maneuvered glug of Lucozade resulted in Lucozade in my eye, Lucozade down my chest, Lucozade up my arm, and Lucozade on the treadmill control panel. All I could do was run blindly on and apologise to the lady on the treadmill next to me for getting Lucozade on her.

2) Pretending You Know How to Use a Machine

No one wants to study instructions in a gym – everyone’s way too cool for that. You are supposed to have an instinctive knowledge of how to operate the most complicated-looking machine in the world. As I don’t have this knowledge, I have to employ tactics. These tactics involve walking slowly past the machines whilst drinking from your bottle or studying your iPod, and giving very discreet sideways glances at the instruction panels on the machines.

If you need to stop and read the instructions more closely, you can do one of two things: stop and stretch, as though you’ve suddenly realised you must stretch your calf muscle RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE, and discreetly run your eyes over the instructions – or stop and ‘gaze’ at the machine, as though you are lost in a daydream about how wonderful it is to be fit and healthy and how you’re taking this whole gym thing totally in your stride, but secretly you are frantically reading the instructions and trying to work out where in the name of Superwoman’s support pants are you supposed to sit on this ruddy thing.

I went for the stretching strategy, but made the fatal error of sitting down too soon on the machine, meaning I had give up the whole thing and just sit there and read the instructions like a big sweaty loser. As I was doing this, however, a skinny young lad walked past drinking very intensely from his water bottle, and I clocked him sneaking tentative sideways looks at the machines, which made me very happy indeed.

3) Thinking You Know How to Use the Machines

A variation of the above. I clambered onto what I knew was a back-strengthening machine, but as I got halfway onto it I couldn’t for the life of me work out where I was supposed to put my legs. After a few make-or-break seconds of desperately searching for an answer, I gave up, assumed an expression of ‘Oh I’ve just remembered I much prefer that machine over there’ and sloped off.

4) Getting Stuck in a Machine

A particularly bad one. I got my leg caught in a leg machine. As my calf caught between two rollers and I tried to walk off, I did the half-fall half-hop thing, nearly breaking my ruddy leg in the process, and eventually yanking my leg out and stumbling into a fitness instructor who was obviously trying to conceal a smirk.

Could’ve been worse I suppose.

5) Leaving Sweat Patches the Size of Germany

A common one, and it happens to everyone in a gym, but it’s so not cool. And every single time, you think ‘Well, maybe there won’t be a sweat patch – how much can my bum sweat while I’m doing some gentle shoulder presses?’ And every time the answer is: a lot. No matter how you attempt to get round it, whether you slide off the seat to try and spread the sweaty puddle so it looks like a harmless darker seat-covering, or whether you just leap up and immediately scrub at it to try and make it disappear, it’s always there, there’s no hiding it: a glistening back-end of a hippo that screams


I’ve just got to accept that I shall never be one of those cool people who manage to handle the gym as though they are out for a spin in a limo with Tom Jones. It’s a skill I shall never possess, and I take my hat off to them. My horrible, sweaty hat.

Becky Says Things about … running mishaps

Running is dangerous. Fact.

Running hurts. Fact.

I go running. Fact.

Running endangers and hurts me. Fact.

I have been running for about seven years (when I say running, I don’t mean personal bests and marathons or anything, just ordinary half-hours or so of lumping my bum round the streets). In that seven years I have had so many mishaps I wonder why I don’t just pack in the whole damn thing and take up a less perilous form of exercise, like mountaineering.

I have done the usual tripping up and down kerbs, the stumble on the twisted ankle, the wrong turn down an insalubrious alleyway (they are pretty much everyday occurrences whether I’m running or not).

But then there is the next level of calamity. The ‘I Wish I’d Stayed In And Watched Cowboy Builders’ calamity.

Things like running straight into a Give Way sign. Or falling up a grass verge and landing face down in the mud. Or trying to discreetly remove a wedgie, tugging too hard and exposing half my bum to a mother and three small children. Or misjudging the height of a kerb, running off it and collapsing into a twisted cross-legged position like some frantic sweating Buddha. Or zoning out and not realising I was running straight through the middle of a gypsy camp until an old lady waved a saucepan at me, and I noticed I was in a field full of caravans.

Or doing the longest comedy fall in the world in front of a load of summer evening drinkers: running along Kingston riverside I clocked a woman with a Yorkshire terrier on the end of a long lead just ahead of me. Please please please don’t fall over the dog I said to myself. I made a perfectly judged leap as sprightly as an antelope over the dog lead, clearing it by miles. Landed awkwardly on my right foot, my knee buckled, and I did a running comedy fall, getting lower and lower to the ground, not quite able to straighten up again, for the length of three benches and a cafe window until I realised I’d be running like this for the rest of my life unless I stopped, stood up straight, and started again.

Then there is the highest level of doom. The ‘I’d Rather Saw Off My Legs Than Ever Run Again’ incidents.

Like when I was chased by a fox.

Whilst running innocently along the pavement, something caught my eye: a fox in the road. Staring. I ran past it. It broke into a trot. It ran parallel to me. I sped up. It sped up. I sped up some more and it left the road and the bloody thing started chasing me along the pavement. I literally ran for my life. I sprinted faster than I’ve ever sprinted, all the time expecting a fox to suddenly attach itself to the back of my head and claw my brains out. It didn’t. When I finally looked back, at the end of the road and on the verge of a heart attack, the bastard had disappeared.

But the mother of all running mishaps is clear.

When the squirrel exploded.

A dark evening, running merrily under streetlamps. Around three minutes into the run, I looked down, mid-air. There was a dead squirrel lying on its back just under my foot.  I was a millisecond too late to do anything about it. I landed smack-down on the bloated stomach of this deceased squirrel and the fucking thing exploded up my fucking leg.

I will never forget the sound it made: it was a POP and a FFLUUKKMPHH all at once. Squirrel guts up my leg. I screamed. I jumped up and down on my un-squirrelled leg, shaking my gutty leg in the air, screaming. For ages. What else do you do? On all those helpful running blogs I read, there was never a post that told you what to do if a squirrel explodes up your leg.

Eventually, I managed to kick off my squirrel-gutty-mucusy-bloody trainer and limped home crying. I destroyed my trousers. I spent about six hours in the shower. I went to bed with a pint of brandy.

So running is dangerous. Don’t do it. It’s ridiculous.

Just buy a treadmill, put it in your lounge in front of the TV and NEVER EVER LEAVE THE HOUSE.