Tag Archives: fitness

Becky says things about … how to detox

My name is Becky and I am disgusting.

And if I’ve got to admit it, my darling Listener, then so have you. Admit it. You are disgusting. We are all disgusting. We have spent the last fortnight slouched on various sofas scoffing various beige food (the best party food is always beige), chucking endless booze down our flabby throats, and passing out into bloated, saggy comas.

It’s been wonderful.

And then came Monday morning and we put on our work trousers.

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I shall admit, dearest Listener old pal, that I was alarmed on Monday. I thought someone had kindly placed some cushions in the seat of my desk chair, and then I realised that I was in fact snuggling into the comfortable squidge of my own love handles. I spent the day gently perspiring, which I can only assume was my body finally ridding itself of two weeks’ worth of non-stop festive alcohol.

So, naturally, and along with literally everyone else, I decided to detox.

And as I have just completed my first day of detoxing, I thought I’d write you, my lovely listeners, a helpful guide to assist you in your quest for cleansed perfection. You’re welcome.

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What you will need 

  •  Willpower
  • Motivation
  • Delusions of success.
  • Approximately £10,000’s worth of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, wholegrains, ominously-named health food shop items, and some form of mystical rare plant powder off the Internet that claims to boost your vitality, purify your system and improve your football dribbling skills.

Day 1 Detox Plan

07:15 Wake up with vague sense of dread. Quickly cast aside the implausible yearning for a bacon sandwich and a cheeky morning pint.

07:33 Let the struggle with which you pull on your previously loose-fitting skirt encourage you to make this day brilliant and to be the healthiest and most motivated person in the world and to transform yourself into a vision of saintly excellence. 

07:46 Retrieve from the fridge the unidentifiable-green-sludge-that-was-supposed-to-be-a-juice-but-you-don’t-have-a-juicer that you made last night using thirteen different green ingredients, including moss, algae, seaweed, pond scum and the mystical Internet powder, spent twenty minutes pulverising in your inadequate blender which resulted in your kitchen looking like Fungus the Bogeyman had had a particularly violent cold up the walls. Remind yourself that this green sludge is breakfast. And lunch.

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08:24 Order a flimsy black coffee instead of your normal frothy latte. Tell yourself you’re doing it for King and country.

09:03 Finish watery coffee and, in a single, glorious second, think ‘Well at least I have a lovely bowl of sugary granola smothered in thick, creamy yoghurt for breakfast’. Then remember about the green sludge.

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09:58 Breakfast. Retrieve green sludge from the fridge. Quickly realise you can’t drink it from the flask because its sludgy, thick consistency means that thick blobs of gloop simply slide onto your face, and instead eat it with a teaspoon. Try to ignore the mounting bitterness that is not only filling your mouth, but your heart.

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10:07 Put remaining green sludge in fridge. Ignore colleagues’ questions, remarks, and utterly unhelpful comments about how tasty their own breakfasts were.

10:11 Experience a brief but pleasing sensation of smugness as you consider the goodness that you’ve just put in your body.

10:12 – 12:10 Throw yourself into your work, and imagine your body exorcising itself of evil.

12:15 Ignore colleagues’ declarations of where they are going for lunch, or how many types of cheese they have stuffed into a French stick. Continue to work doggedly. (Useful tip: have some tissues at hand to wipe away the solitary tear that will fall from your eye as you consider the green sludge waiting for you in the fridge.)

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13:00 Moodily stomp outside for a walk, then experience the astounding revelation that you only ever step outside your office during the day in order to hunt for food, and thus are now utterly directionless because you have no need for food as you have the green sludge.

13:02 Walk moodily round the block, and stomp moodily back into the office. Tell your colleagues it’s just started to rain.

13:28 Sit hunched at your desk in front of Google images of ‘best burgers in the world’ and slurp green sludge from a teaspoon. Follow with a cup of peppermint tea and a healthy dose of resentment towards humanity.

13:47 Feel momentarily euphoric because you don’t feel full or sluggish, and remind yourself that the green sludge gives you nothing but goodness.

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13:48 – 15:09 Get on with your work, and genuinely forget about the green sludge.

15:10 Get up to go to the toilet, and walk straight into the hard wall of hunger. Realise you are dangerously hungry. You have probably never been this hungry. Look wildly around the office. Note the tin of sweets left over from Christmas. Squeeze out an ounce of willpower and try to focus on the taut stomach and inner peace you will achieve if you stick to the green sludge.

15:39 Give the following response when one of your colleagues says they will bring to the office the enormous unopened box of Christmas biscuits they didn’t eat at home.

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15:43 Weep softly.

15:44 – 17:20 Finish the working day with increasing fatigue, bitterness, and irrational rage.

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17:21 Crawl home. Do not for one second contemplate the prospect of a glass of wine or a chocolate biscuit. Instead, get home and immediately put on your jogging pants.

18:12 Flap-arse about in your bedroom with a couple of dumbells, download the 30 Day Squat Challenge app, do half the squats you’re supposed to do because they’re uncomfortable, and lug your drooping, groaning buttocks out of the door for a jog.

18:30 Jog.

18:33 Seriously contemplate going back home.

18:39 Experience an endorphin.

18:41 Realise you have the actual ability and physical fortitude to run a marathon. Make mental note to sign up for one when you get home in four hours’ time.

18:42 Get an excruciating stitch, trip over a stick, hack your guts up into a bush and try to tell yourself you don’t need an ambulance.

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19:01 Having crawled home, have a shower and prepare dinner. This will involve 23 green and obscure ingredients and won’t use anything normal like potatoes or pasta.

19:25 Consume your virtuous green creation in front of Man vs Food. 

19:31 Sit very still in front of an empty plate and fight urge to order a pizza.

19:45 – 21:30 Absorb yourself in something engrossing, like a Netflix binge or mountaineering.

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21:49 Make tomorrow’s green sludge.

21:56 – 22:33 Clean the kitchen.

22:38 Crawl into bed in a cocoon of confusing mixed emotions over the day’s apparent success and the excruciating hunger that is literally consuming your entire being.

22:52 Text your work colleague and ask him nicely to please bring in that unopened box of Christmas biscuits to the office tomorrow.

 

Repeat the above on days 2 and 3, and on day 4 replace green sludge with brie and bacon baguette, three packets of crisps, a sausage roll, two doughnuts and four pints of self-loathing.

Good luck!

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Filed under Embarrassing Revelations, Food, Health and Exercise, Life eh?, People, Rants, The Beauty of Life, Thoughts and Musings

Becky says things about … the epic fail of an eating disorder

I greet you, dearest Listener, a perturbed Becky. Something happened yesterday that has made me want to say some very important things.

Whilst in a shop, I overhead the following conversation between two young teenage girls. I’m appalling at judging people’s ages – I thought Mick Jagger was 348, turns out he’s only 70 – but I’m guessing these two girls couldn’t have been more than 14.

Girl 1:  I really need to lose weight.

Girl 2: Do what I’m doing.

Girl 1: Yeah, you’ve lost loads of weight.

Girl 2: Yeah, over a stone! Seriously, just spit everything into a tissue, you never actually swallow anything! I’ve been doing it for ages.

Girl 1: I might start doing that.

Girl 2: Do it, we’ll be well skinny.

Girl 1: (Smiling) Yeah.

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Listener, this conversation left me colder than a polar bear who’s fallen into a frozen lake, climbed out, spent all night in the rain, then been told the local shop has no woolly jumpers left.

These two girls were healthy-looking and slim – in fact the one who said she’d been hawking food into tissues was erring on too-skinny (unsurprising, as she’s probably ingested about 7 calories in the last month) – and neither of them needed, by any stretch of even the wildest imagination, to lose even an ounce.

Yet here they were proudly discussing the merits of what is essentially a form of bulimia. In a bid to get ‘well skinny’.

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Every gram of fat, every ounce of muscle in my body wanted to grab them by their perfectly lean shoulders and yell

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON’T EVEN GO THERE. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, STAY WELL AWAY FROM ALL THAT, AND JUST EAT.

The thought of these two healthy girls slipping into the bony grip of an eating disorder was horrible. Depressing, and horrible. Two words that exactly describe an eating disorder. Or, if you’re less wordy, the word

SHIT

will do nicely.

I’m not just having an aimless rant, I know what I’m talking about: I spent nearly two years in my early 20s starving myself in a bid to get skinny. At the end of 2005, the world had a healthy, happy, curvaceous, 9 and a half stone Becky. By mid 2007, the world was frankly bored and rather irritated by an unhealthy, miserable, bony, 7 and a half stone Becky.

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What started as a bid to ‘lose a few pounds’ and ‘tone up’ plummeted into an uncontrollable need to control what I put in my mouth, and before I could say ‘I don’t have an issue with food and I could never be anorexic’, I had a monumental issue with food and I was anorexic.

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An eating disorder is basically the man-eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors. In fact, I’m surprised some English literature professor hasn’t written a thesis entitled “Feed Me, Seymour: Audrey II as a Metaphor for Anorexia”. (That one’s mine, hands off.)

It starts as an innocuous seed in your brain: I want to lose weight. You start eating less, you start losing weight. You get smaller. The seed gets bigger. It wants more of your flesh, more of your blood. You duly provide. The less you eat and the smaller you get, the more it consumes and the bigger and more monstrous is becomes, until it’s got you dangling from its greedy, slobbering lips and you realise with a sudden terrible certainty that there is no escape.

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At this point you may as well say goodbye to everything that shapes you as a person. Any aspirations, hobbies, enjoyment, pleasure, hopes, sparks of character, or that fire that burns inside you with your name on it – forget it. You are one thing and one thing only: an eating disorder. Every single second of every day is consumed with focussing on losing fat, with not eating, with trying to avoid eating situations. Food is your nemesis. Yet you can’t think about anything else. It doesn’t matter where you are, what you are doing, who says what to you – there is only one thing you can think about.

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The enjoyment you took in everyday things – hanging out with friends, dinner with your family, shopping, lounging around being yourself – disappears. Suddenly everything is a terrifying problem. An invite to a house party becomes a desperate quest to look skinny and avoid those evil plates of nibbles on every surface. A harmless question from a parent – ‘Are you in for dinner tonight’ – is a gut-punching, brain-screwing imperative to lie. And lie you will. You will become an expert fabricator of life’s minutiae, and you will be ruthless. 

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To avoid having to stay in and eat what was put in front of me, I once told my mother I was going out for dinner with friends. I wasn’t going out for dinner. It was a massive, slimy lie. I borrowed her car and drove round the streets of South West London for three hours, then came back and gushed about what a lovely meal I’d had. Not only did my eating disorder turn me into a slithering, pathetic liar, it rendered me single-handedly responsible for England’s carbon emissions.

An eating disorder makes your once happy, sparkly life utterly miserable. And now let me tell you what you achieve in your diehard quest to be skinny:

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The tragic irony is that in your quest to be skinny, there is no such thing as ‘skinny’. There is no single weight, no end goal, that will satisfy an eating disorder.

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‘Skinny’ is a terrifying, bottomless concept that you will never, ever reach. Even when everyone in the world is telling you

YOU ARE REALLY SKINNY

it is never enough. Comments like that are a sign you are doing well, and you should carry on. Basically, in today’s lingo, an eating disorder is an epic fail. Before you even start, you have failed. You will never reach your goal because your goal will scuttle off into the gloom like a cockroach. Even when you can happily see your cute little collar bones strain through your skin, and you can admire your twig-like arms in the mirror, it still will not make you smile. I have never been so miserable, so wretched, or cried or shouted so much, as I did during my eating disorder.

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Eventually, if my experience is anything to go by, your willpower and your self-control will snap like a piece of taut string – it may take one year, two, ten – it may never happen – and you will plunge into a desperate, blacked-out world of uncontrollable, panicked binge eating. Late nights in the kitchen, tearing through cupboards like the Tasmanian Devil, shoving anything and everything you can get your hands on. I probably owe my parents hundreds of pounds in binged-on food. And the bitter truth is that I have lost more hours to the blind frenzy of binge eating than I have to starving myself. An eating disorder has one hell of a long hangover.

And even if you make a full recovery, like I did (and guess what: I love food and I’m bloody happy about it), and get back to a healthy weight and stop viewing food as the Devil incarnate, your body image and your self-control will always be a little bit broken. 

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I didn’t say anything to the two girls in the shop who wanted to be ‘well skinny’, and I spent the day wishing I had. True, they may have told me to Fuck off, and remarked amongst themselves that I could do with dropping a few feet from around my bum – but on the other hand, they might have thought about the stranger that felt strongly enough to say something, and they might, just might, have packed the whole thing in and gone for a pizza.

So I’ve said it on here instead. Trying to be skinny is shit. It is impossible. You will never reach it. It will get hold of you, and it will never quite let go.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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… http://www.thebestcolleges.org/the-best-regimen-for-college-fitness/ )

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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

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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

YOU HAVE AN ENORMOUS SWEATING BOTTOM.

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.

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Filed under Health and Exercise, Mishaps, The Beauty of Life