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Work It

Posted on 5th March 2010. 3 Comments

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Jo Gandon may not be entering the Olympics any time soon, but that doesn’t mean physical activity is a bad thing…
My idea of exercise is ripping the wrapper off a Galaxy bar.
Are you like me and couldn’t give a rat’s ass about sport? Everybody has tried to bully me into taking the bloody thing up. Hockey, lacrosse, swimming, rowing – and if tiddly winks were on offer I’m sure somebody would try to convert me into a first-class winker.  Even my Grandad has managed to drag his concentration away from The Six Nations to point out that I should do some sit-ups. I’m not sure why I’ve never been interested in sport. Don’t get me wrong. When it comes to watching sport, I am there  (and there at  a pace marginally quicker  if  Wilko, Becks or Roddick are playing). The thought of actually participating, however, just doesn’t do it. I’d rather lick the toilets clean in Klute. My idea of exercise is ripping the wrapper off a Galaxy bar. Why is it a huge let down to everybody if I do not exercise? I may be unfit, but I don’t remember Darwin ever insisting that evolutionary fitness depends on charging around a field, dementedly chasing after a ball. Am I being silly here or is that the sort of thing my dog enjoys?
Gyms are my worst nightmare.  Gymnasium?  Gym-crazy-um, more like. Whose idea was it to install all those mirrors everywhere? I personally don’t like to look at myself sweating like a heart-attack victim.  I have seen John Prescott looking sexier. And, who enjoys exercising when you know that any DU superstar could turn up and outrun you on the treadmill? It’s not fun. And don’t even get me started on swimming pools.  What could be worse than exposing your half-naked torso whilst sharing a large bath with other half-naked people, while an absurdly good-looking lifeguard looks on from his tower at your rather uncoordinated breast stroke.  And then there are the communal showers afterwards where old ladies reveal themselves fully starkers as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. Somebody please tell them.
My idea of exercise is ripping the wrapper off a Galaxy bar.
So all of this nagging to take up sport got to me. At the turn of the New Year, I made a pact with the Devil to be moreactive. Apparently we are meant to do about 40 minutes of cardio exercise a day. I had to control myself from vomming when I read that.
So I told myself it was too late to take up lacrosse, and instead bought several work out DVDs. At New Year DVDs were everywhere, the shops exploiting mercilessly the nation’s most guilt-ridden resolution – getting fit. Taking my new purchases to the till in Smith’s was an ordeal in itself. It really did not help having a pencil-thin shop assistant eye me up and down as I handed over my hard-earned cash – I felt like bashing her over the head with all of those ‘buy one get one free’ chocolate bars they always have on offer at the counter.  Talk about BOGOF.
Getting into exercise was like Dawn French trying to squeeze into a size Zero . Eventually, though, Digital Video Disks, or Digital Video DEATHS – as these work out DVDs should really labelled – became my new obsession.  I am one of those people with an addictive personality. I have had a long-running love affair with chocolate. And Caffeine.  They are all the naughty naughty things that give a brief kick with which to reward yourself for the hours spent staring at your ridiculous essay about “primate faeces” (I wish I was joking).
The first one I tried out was Davina’s army style ‘Super Body’ work out. Initially I enjoyed this, although there was no way that I could keep up with her. Her “Super Six Pack”, as she modestly referred to her abs, was impressive.  So too was her sense of humour and ability to joke at times when most would be collapsed on the floor in pain. However, sadly, I started to look more and more like Arnold Schwarzenegger and it wasn‘t really a good look for me.
Instead I tried out a Pilates work out DVD called “10 Minute Solution”. The title was a bit misleading. No way could 10 minutes solve anything, so there wasn’t much hope for my bingo wings. And the woman on the DVD had some very interesting catchphrases like “Come on down” delivered in broad American accent – irritating when you want nothing more than to bury your head in a nice big chocolate cake. But the Pilates was great for making me feel long, lean and relaxed in a way that Davina’s made me feel squat and bulky. But it was all a bit boring.
It is tough taking orders from a woman with an annoying voice and an annoyingly perfect body
Eventually I got seduced by the Tracey Anderson Method. This was mostly because I’m a sucker. It had me at “the personal trainer to Madonna and Gwyneth” plastered all over the DVD. She is a big name amongst the Hollywood A-listers, with Shakira and Scarlett Johansson amongst other converts. I didn’t want to be persuaded by all of this, but it certainly made me intrigued. Her method is definitely unconventional. I mean, to be blunt, it is entirely embarrassing to do at home yourself – the sexy wiggling about which Tracey makes look effortless highlights exactly how uncoordinated and unsexy a normal person is. It is not nice to watch. There are times where she says “OK, so you should be starting to hurt now but keep going” and I sweatily think to myself that I’d been aching for years before she’d even mentioned that. She has two DVDs out at the moment.  One is a cardio work out and the other’s a mat workout. To me the cardio is pretty much glorified prancing about the room, so unfortunately for Tracey, I ended up using the cardio work out from Mel B’s ‘Totally Fit’ . Her Leeds accent has morphed into a weird new hybrid twang, the result of her spending too much time in LA, or “La La Land” as she calls it. She does like to drop in the fact that she is in LA all the bloody time when it really is not necessary seeing as the Hollywood sign is pretty much in her house. But once you get over that and the fact that her boobs are massive, then the work out is actually really enjoyable. She will even teach you to cook on her DVD. What a jack of all trades.
It is tough taking orders from a woman with an annoying voice and an annoyingly perfect body – and whose sweatglands never seem to function either. And it is a little embarrassing having to admit to friends that in the last hour you have been mimicking some celebrity in your garage.  But I’d rather look more fantastic than flab-tastic. It is a tough decision to make. It’s about sacrificing the time that you’d probably spend in a coffee shop with friends and instead spending time with an orange woman screaming orders at you to lift your leg at angles that defy normality. I still hate physical exercise, but it instils a feeling afterwards which is equal to that of ten chocolate bars.  What is more, you can reward yourself with eating as much as you like and not feel guilty. It is true what they say about exercise releasing the same endorphins that chocolate does. Chocolate will make an en-dolphin out of you though, let’s face it.
The bottom line (and a rather toned bottom line at that!) is that, believe it or not, exercising really does make you feel happier about yourself, more energetic and more healthy. People had been saying this to me for years. I would do anything to get out of having to listen to that rubbish – I would even prefer to run a marathon.  But sadly, they’re right. I really do feel upbeat and positive, and ironically, less tired.
I dedicate this to Davina, Tracey and Mel B – the three women I hate and admire most.
Jo Gandon


  • Peter Sutcliffe said:

    You sound like my type of girl.

  • Grim said:

    you sound like MY type of girl.

  • Josef Fritzl said:

    aye she reminds me of my daughter