I’m not a fan of New Year. Lets just establish that. I get traumatised by the idea that I should be making gargantuan life changes that I will never be able to stick to. However, this year, I had a change forced upon me.
For Christmas someone bought me a years membership to a posh gym.
On my first visit I had to go and register and book in for a ‘Health MOT’ whatever that meant. I arrived at the beautiful gym and as I walked toward the glass fronted showpiece, I could see people on the upper level manically cross training themselves to death and suddenly I felt very tired.
I walked into a plush reception with couches and big screen TV’s and a bar (sans alcohol - epic fail in my opinion) serving healthy food and million pound smoothies that promised to flush you of toxins and fill you with energising gym love. The trainers and receptionists milling around were all so very lovely and accommodating and very much like Americans are in shops and restaurants in that “Hey, how are you? Are you having a nice day? Can I lick your face or maybe have your babies?” kind of way.
I have recognised that this is not a totally, genuine kind of niceness but actually a sophisticated art of manipulation. It pushes my ‘need to please’ button and makes me do whatever they say. Smart.
I booked in my health MOT for the next day.
“Now make sure you fast for two hours and wear tight fitting clothing.” Said the sugary honed and toned pretty thing behind the desk. “All the information is on this sheet and your personal trainer and health mentor will be Nick. He’s lovely. We will see you tomorrow at ten am and now please enjoy our facilities.” She smiled.
“Right. Thanks.” I replied, stuffing the paper into my bag and thinking it was starting to sound like a hospital.
On this, my first visit, I had decided to go swimming. As I walked through the building I noticed that everyone was well groomed and in very nice named kit. I was hob nobbing with the rich and posh folk and I felt like an impostor.
The changing rooms were so beautiful that I considered moving in. When I saw that they had GHD hair straighteners at the dressing tables I almost did a happy dance.
The swimming pool was wonderful and I swam up and down it for 40 minutes which I considered was at least a weeks worth of exercise already. I then thought I would try the steam room for a few minutes before I got showered and went to play with the hair tools. It was full of men and there was only one place in the corner for me to sit. Unbeknown to me, the corner was bucket shaped and collected pools of water and when I sat down it made a very loud...
I nearly died of embarrassment. I tried to move again only to make the squelching noises even WORSE and I thanked God for the steaminess and very odd deep blue lights for masking my burning cheeks. For some reason, when embarrassed in public, I get what I like to call “apology tourettes” and have the inability to shut the hell up.
“Oh nice.” I said out loud during squelch number one. “How very attractive.” I continued, “ Is this normal? Gosh.. I think I’ll stand in future.”
I was then beset with rigor mortis, daring not to move another inch. This was supposed to be relaxing. After about 3 minutes I was way too hot and wanted to leave but unable to bring myself to move. I stayed for ages willing the others to sod off and I felt like I was being poached alive. The Universe must have heard my inner pleas for help as a beautiful girl walked in, dressed in a Chanel swimsuit that coated like paint to her toned curves and tanned skin. Her long blonde hair was tied in a tousled knot that looked like a Paris catwalk affair and she looked like every mans wet dream. Bitch.
Then she sat down and went...SQUELCH.
You couldn't imagine my delight..
Thank God for that, it must be a girl thing. I stood up and staggered out of the burning hell trying desperately not to faint.
That afternoon I went to town and spent my Christmas money and vouchers on proper nice gym kit which was somewhat irksome as I’d seen some really nice Irregular Choice shoes I wanted. I arrived the next morning dressed in my spanking new attire ready for my MOT and new programme. I was positively starving from having to fast for a whole 2 hours.
My health mentor and personal trainer took me into his room and the MOT began. Heart rates, monitors, fitness tests, blood pressure, BMI, measurements and so on. It was all rather hideously medical. Then he told me he was going to take my blood from me. Twice. Ewww. He put on some plastic glasses and I felt a little bit concerned.
“Do you think I’m going to splat you with blood?” I laughed.
“It has been known.” He said seriously.
I wanted to cry. I am pathetic in blood situations.
“Well your blood sugar is fine but your cholesterol is high and you need to go to your GP and have a proper 3 part test. It’s good that we have done this so at least you can check it out further. It’s known as the silent killer, but don’t worry about it”
“DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT?” I said loudly “ I have a silent killer raging through my body and I’m not to worry about it?” I didn’t feel very well.
“What’s your goal?” He asked
“To look like Nicole Shirtswinger by next week with very little effort.” I replied honestly.
“And routine - how are you with that?”
“I don’t like it. I’ll probably be very extreme and come every day for 3 months until I can fit into the skinniest jeans and am able to eat bacon every day for months without notice. Then you’ll never see me again unless I get pangs of guilt or dont want to be harpooned on a beach holiday.”
“Well if you don’t stick to the programme then I will be calling you and emailing and maybe even visiting. My job is to keep you on track.” He smiled.
“Well I find that sort of behaviour too intense and I might hate you a little bit if you do that.” I warned.
He then proceeded to put me in all manner of positions: swinging from military ropes, planking and rowing like an Oxford grad. He went through a nutritional sheet and exercise programme in depth thereafter and this is what I heard:
“No alcohol. Not even neat vodka. No caffeine. No fats, no sweets or cakes, no nothing. Drink water and eat seeds and nuts and basically live off the kind of shit that birds eat. Do not enjoy yourself. All avenues of pleasure are now closed. Sleep for 8 hours a day. You’ll probably want to anyway because you will be so depressed and even suicidal. Come here at least 3 times a week or we will hunt you down. No prisoners. Happy New Year.”