Posers, Musclemen and Heroes

Lets face it, the only time we tend to smile at the gym is when our workout is over or when we have managed to smuggle out a fart without anyone noticing. Ah yes, that glorious moment when we finish that last set, wipe our faces and machines respectively and skip over to the changing room to see exactly how haggard we have made ourselves look.  One thing, however, which is making my whole gym experience a little more bearable is the presence of FPT (Fit Personal Trainer) FPT is 45, bald with rugged dirty blonde super manly stubble and a stomach you could grate cheese on (this last i know through very minor Facebook stalk). My general demeanor in life is not that of a shrinking violet (as those who have read my previous ramblings will know all too well) and at the gym I am no different. When something hurts, I give FPT verbal hell like I’m in labor with his child. The other day I was using a hard foam roller to stretch out my hamstrings (which essentially involves oscillating up and down on it starting at your ‘pockets’/ vageene). So there I am, essentially dry humping this roller, when suddenly i hit a nerve and freeze mid-thrust and utter everything under the sun between gritted teeth.

I shit you not, this is what I was doing

I shit you not, this is what I was doing

It’s amazing how quickly you stop giving a shit about wandering around semi naked in there as well. I tend to strip off and saunter over to the showers in the nuddy so I can see if the last half an hour of pain has paid off yet. It hasn’t. Gympatience strikes again. Whats also fairly amusing is the rate at which you grow accustomed to conversations with strangers when one or both of you has their tits out. Its pretty rad, we are all girls here and its great not having to awkwardly fumble to keep them covered when you’re trying to get your bra on.  The other day I had literally just stepped out of the shower and opened my locker when the gym’s receptionist came in for a casual chat. Allow me to elaborate; it was her last shift and it was pretty quiet, as it tends to be when I’m there, and she came in to check the changing room, found me in there,  and decided to stay for a chinwag. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really not shy when it comes to my body (insert reference to Lena Dunham here) and it was only when she gesticulated at her own nipples,  smiled wide and said ‘I love those’ that I remembered that mine are special. They are pierced, straight silver bars. Yes they hurt, you have a needle shoved through one of the most sensitive parts of your body. But its one hell of a show stopper when people first catch a glimpse.

 

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Let me assure you all, I have NEVER been a gym-bunny. In fact, back in the days when I was basically eating all of my feelings and then some, I spent much time scorning those who voluntarily put themselves through the undeniable torture than is willingly moving at anything other than regular walking pace. I recently realized that when I go do some exercise I go through the Kubler-Ross model; first comes denial (this isn’t going to be that bad, I’ll be fine) , then its anger (fuck me ow ow ow), followed by bargaining (OK I’ll do three more sets and then I’ll stop), depression (oh god, will the pain never end) and finally acceptance (fuck yeah, I can do this!) I tell you its an emotional roller-coaster three times a week for everyone there. Don’t get me wrong, there are still those people in the gym who you look at and go “please, God, just fuck off”; like the forty-something bloke in the tight vest top who seems to think he has more bulging muscle than bulging belly. Or the girl wearing a crop top and power walking at a feeble pace for 5 minutes then making a big show of mopping her brow (note the orange smudge on the blue paper towel),  taking a huge gulp from her pink gym bottle before she retires to the yoga mats where she spends the remainder of her ‘workout’ working out how best to stretch in order that the whole place can trace the outline of her thong through her tiny shorts. Whore. If you are not a red sweaty foul beast by the time you’re done, you are being a huge pussy. If you walk down the stairs with ease and saunter casually into the changing rooms, you are faking all of this gymness. You are a poser. We do not wear makeup for a workout. If we do, it gets everywhere, you sweat it all off, you clog your pores and end up looking like a pizza later on in the week. Not worth it. No one is there to look pretty while they put their bodies through hell.

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But hidden amongst the posers and the limp-wristed wannabes, the overly muscular and very vocal lifters are those hidden gems, like this lady I see there every time I go, who has to be in her 60s, who absolutely kills it on the rowing machine for forty mins, or the balding guy who runs along beside me on the treadmill listening to old school rock which I can hear him quietly singing along to. Even I have become my own hero, I force myself over there thrice a week, obviously the promise of half an hour sweaty and breathless with FPT helps. I even got an email telling me I was in the top 15% of users at my particular gym. MENTAL. Thus concludes today’s ramblings.

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Food for thought (punches self in face)

Picture the scene, its been a long day, you make it home, and the house is warm, you go to the fridge….and nothing. Bare. A bleak white landscape stares back at you, the once bountiful land of nourishment has been ravished of its goodies, and you know who did it…..it was you. Hence you’ve been to Tesco’s and stocked up on the essentials, which for me are becoming more and more lavish the more I come to accept the fact that food is my boyfriend. Oh sweet harrissa hummus, oh glorious kettle chips and you, oh you my one my only entire packet of caramel chocolate digestives, life would be so much less wonderful without you constantly reminding me that everything will be fine.

Now I’ll be honest, your girl here used to be something of a porker, a lady of lardaceous tendencies, I discovered fairly early in life that my feelings are utterly ambrosial, so I would constantly chow down on delicious inadequacy, necterous anger and my personal favorite,scrumptious self loathing. Food and I have had a tumultuous time, my first year of Uni I lived opposite a Chippy and a Chinese restaurant, and having spent most of that (and the following two years) in a baked haze of gluttony, thought nothing of getting several meals there a week. But all changed when I realized how unhappy I was, and how much what I was eating affected that. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a glass of water and a house salad girl by any means, no no no don’t be so ridiculous, but I have learnt that I can eat absolutely anything I like without it having to be horrendously bad for me!

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It used to be that cooking was a chore, a means to an end, a ball ache; but, with shows like Masterchef and Bake Off creating a nation of out and proud food lovers our eating habits are coming out of the dim secretive light of the pantry and into the bright limelight of Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Glory be to the Hairy Bikers for showing us that food is sexy no matter who bastes the turkey in its own juices, (excuse me whilst I take my clothes off).It has been known for me to groan in a very inappropriate manner whilst watching back to back episodes of Man Vs Food, in which Adam Richman would take on huge food challenges, like the 190lb burger (be still my beating heart!) Interestingly, Adam has, since the show last aired in April 2011, lost 60lbs and the ladies who once flocked to watch him stuff his face with endless tasty morsels have now discovered that he isn’t as cute now that he looks like everyone else. My heart bleeds for you, Adam, truly it does.

Hairy Dieters Hairy Bikers man v food

For the last few years I have discovered that my kitchen is the heart of my home, it isn’t just where we cook and eat, its where we laugh, cry, sing, dance, share and welcome people into our lives. It has always been said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, however I think that anyone anywhere can be won over with a good meal. The dinner table brings with it a chance to reflect, you share the buttery roast potatoes of life with you and yours, sure some people may prefer hot sauce to mayo, and arguments erupt at the table, but I know from experience, that any argument can be quelled by quietly putting on “I wanna know what love is” and letting the argument descend into the discussion thereof. Believe me, it has happened in my kitchen, talk went from “yes but you can’t tell me that you understand my financial circumstances” to “yes but what IS love” in about 45 seconds.

There is a saying in France (or so I’m told) ‘show me what you eat, I’ll tell you who you are’ and its so true. A question I have often asked new friends or potential love interests (which are virtually the same thing) is ‘what would you have for your last meal’ and its a question that everyone loves to answer. My personal favorite answer so far came from a man who said he would have a tomato salad, made with his mothers home grown tomatoes, which were always so delicious because she would frequently nourish them with her own piss.