In the gym
“I can help you lose that weight.” said Dan, my new-found personal training buddy. Good. I thought, because that’s what I want to do. That’s not all I want to do. I really want a body like Brad Pitt’s in Fight Club, but I’m not going to tell him that. He might laugh.
I have to get up at 3.45am for a living, six days a week. Then I put everything into my breakfast show on BBC Surrey. When I get home, all I want to do is eat, or sleep. The motivation to spend what little free time I have fannying about in a running kit has gone south, as has most of my physique.
So I joined a gym. Just like that. Didn’t realise how easy it was. Tick a few boxes, hand over your direct debit details and you’re away. It was Dan who showed me round, and it was Dan’s polite enquiries which led to the awkward personal discussion about my spare tyre.
I have a problem with gyms. Why pay money to bounce up and down on a machine alongside a bunch of people you don’t know when you can do real exercise - running - for free, in a vast and convenient gym situated directly outside your front door?
And seriously, does anyone actually enjoy wearing lycra? Or flailing about in a room stacked full of medieval torture machines? Or being subjected to appalling music videos played at ear-splitting volume?
Yes, apparently. And it turns out I can cope with it too. Well, nearly. I am still no fan of the collective inhabitants of the free weights room.
If they could stay in the free weights room, that would be fine - but no, having bench-pressed themselves into a raging storm of testosterone, these fellows will insist on prowling the main gym floor, staring down pudgy, sweaty, normal gymmos like me.
I can just about deal with looking like an exhausted, red-faced hippo in public, but I don't like my tubby frame being used to reinforce a muscle-bore's alpha male self-image.
Secretly, of course, I’m jealous. And it hasn’t put me off. Since joining up two months ago, I have been going three times a week to gasp my way through evil Dan’s routines. I’ve learned how to do it properly too, with my little gym towel and water bottle, my sport earphones and stretchy clothing fibres woven by space mice from the future.
It works too. My stomach has flattened, my biceps have hardened and my manboobs are fading. But I still haven’t lost any weight.
I mention this to Dan. “Of course you haven’t!” he exclaims. “Muscle weighs more than fat. You’ve just replaced your fat with muscle.”
But I said I wanted to lose weight.
“I thought you meant you wanted to lose that weight” he says, helpfully pointing at my midriff.
We still, clearly, have a long way to go.