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.

No.

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.

 

SEVEN MINUTES LATER 

 

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 … 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/ )