It’s That Time of (New) Year Again

A long, long time ago I used to dread Thursday nights at the gym.


Because that was Boring Couples night.

The protagonists would dress up in gym gear (so far so good) – and sometimes they’d even use the equipment! But most of the time they’d just sit on it chatting.

The whole impression was that of a Cocktail Hour in Lycra.


Had any one of these wretched single units that comprised the whole entity of the Thursday night invasion at any one point thought for itself and formulated the dreaded New Year Resolution?


I’ll never know. But I’m pretty sure that now, yes right now* – years later at the very start of 2017 – gyms, keep-fit classes and the like across the UK will be simply bulging with the predictable influx of people who simply wouldn’t be interested at any other time.


I am fully expecting to be struck down in the most Karma-like way imaginable for what I’m about to say next.

But in January my aim is always to avoid these New Year Resolution types if at all possible – if only to protect my sanity.


Anyone who reads this blog knows fitness is one of my coping strategies,  a way of controlling the bits of my body I’m no so keen on.

And those wobbly bits  need tackling 365 days a year – they don’t just suddenly appear on New Year’s Day like a late delivery from Santa!pejo3hh7nq2dsjlkgmhpImagine then, what it’s like to suddenly have to compete for time/space in what’s often a very personal fight.

So let’s say you do normally do an evening class and you rock up as usual….


Welllll, in January  suddenly you can’t because it’s full – OR you’ve wised-up to the fact that too many sets of flailing arms in a limited space where you’re all holding hand-weights is just a tad dangerous.

(Trust me I have experience of both – and I hope the latter stays back in the nineties!)


As already said, I expect to be sent blazing to Hell for my arguably uncharitable opinions regarding what almost feels like a fight for territory but if YOU exercise regularly here are some tips to handle the New Year Resolution brigade:

10 New Year’s Resolution-ers To Avoid At The Gym including “Smart phone dummies”, “wannabe fitness models”, my pet-hate “the couples” and the inevitable “temps” (though hopefully all these characters will be temporary!)zoolander-the_look_you_have

And then there’s Men’s Health’s Crowded Gym Survival Guide – maybe a bit more brutal than I’d be but then hey, I’m not a body-builder…

I have no problems with anyone wanting to get fit (and I’m pretty sure the vast majority are not stereotypical pains-in-the-backside)  but, when it’s a significant amount of people at the same time, then – well, I’m just going to have to shut up, aren’t I?!

My tactics?this-guy-at-the-gym-just-did-four-sets-of-selfies

Remember that, for most, the keep fit good intentions are as seasonal – and as short-lived, as the Festive Period itself

Plan around it – go to the earlier, less popular classes. Do more solo running

Be philosophical – it’s not that bad

Remember the reason I started this blog in the first place – I broke my foot. It’s mended!

For any people trying to avoid the gym hoards in the Bronx, NY, there’s GoJimgo on Twitter – which states: “Know before you go. We tell you how many machines are available at your gym. In real time.”

I’d love to know if this can work in practice – or in the UK!

*”Now”? Yes now! There are gyms that open 24/7!


Smashing it up North

The cartoon Jon is ALWAYS on the move!

My last post was a play-around on the word “South” – so this one’s shooting up North – to Greater Manchester!

Tower FM Breakfast presenter Jon Holling has around two stone so far – and is bravely charting his progress on the station’s website.


Now trust me, it takes real self-discipline to work out after an early shift!

Take a look at him in action in the vid below at his gym in Bury.

To Yell or Not To Yell

Is it acceptable to grunt or even yell during a workout?

Rebel yell - but is it necessary?
Rebel yell – but is it necessary?

I know there’s some controversy over whether or not letting out some vocal response actually helps during exercise.

I think we British are a bit restrained – although I have, in my time, welcomed an outbreak of whooping when an aerobics class got particularly tough.

And I plead guilty, Your Honour, to vocal venting.

Meg Ryan lets go in the deli
Meg Ryan lets go in the deli

Just today during a particularly arduous abs session following “insane” Guerrillas I let out a yowl which had the instructor turning round and commenting “I wondered what what was going on there for a moment!”

Had I left my inhibitions at the door?

It reminded me of that notorious deli scene in the late 80’s romcom “When Harry Met Sally”.e27e543cea0754ca1e834665d9a0f2d60bdcd3c35e288bf8346098172d7b7227

Again, I’m going to apply some British restraint here and suffice it to say the female lead “fakes” a response arguably more appropriate to the bedroom than in a busy restaurant – to prove a point.

She “finishes” – and resumes eating her lunch, whereupon an older woman on the next table tells the waiter “I’ll have what she’s having”.

Did Monica Seles invent the 'tennis grunt'?
Did Monica Seles invent the ‘tennis grunt’?

Apparently it took several takes to film that scene.

Was Meg Ryan, then, as mortified as I?

Let’s get out of the New York deli – and back into the gym.

Or the dojo, and even the tennis court.

Everyone’s familiar with Miss Piggy’s “Hi-yah!” as she wallops Kermit.

Kiai is the Japanese term for the yell or shout used during an attacking move – but in addition to the impact on your opponent, it’s also thought to teach a proper breathing technique.

Miss Piggy is familiar with the Kiai
Miss Piggy is familiar with the Kiai

Nine-time Gland Slam winner Monica Seles has been dubbed the creator of the “tennis grunt” (and you can see her in action here).

Yet Russia’s Maria Sharapova topped a Daily Telegraph grunting poll in 2011 – deploying a climactic shriek of the blue-movie variety at 101 decibels.

There have been calls for a crackdown regarding on-court grunting – but leading pundits point out that, just as in martial arts, it can help players focus on their performance.

But if you’re not a world class athlete and just working-out, there’s always going to be the idea that there’s simply no need to make a noise and if you do, well, then you’re simply showing off.

At this point I decided I needed a bl**dy good laugh – and courtesy of BroScienceLife, I found it.

In the YouTube video There Will Be Grunts, our guide explains: “Your grunt explains who you are. It’s your identity at the gym.

“Grunting is in our nature, it was the first language – followed shortly after by Emojis”

He then goes on to analyse variations ranging from the “lion-breath” to the “squirt-bottle”. Take a look below, but be advised – there’s swearing (“oooh language!”) .

“Grunting should be reserved for weight that’s impossible to move silently”.

A concept an English woman can relate to – my friend trained perfectly happily amid body-builders but a switch to another gym got her disapproving looks from other female gym users – for her “unladylike” grunting.

Yet as a trained fitness instructor she found this helped her achieve her targets “especially with the leg press”.

So whether you yell, scream or grunt – it would appear you’re in good company.

Just pick your moment wisely!

Getting It Done

It really is this simple!
It really is this simple!

A work colleague who lived two doors up from where I was lodging once treated me to a cup of tea, an in-depth discussion of our company’s diversity policy and then a full guided tour of his house (from cellar to the converted attic bedroom).

He then asked: “Emma, do you think I should go to the gym?”

Oh boy can I relate to this!

I’ve heard people refer to the obligation of going to the gym as the modern equivalent of going to church on Sundays. (Please note: I mean no offence here).procrastination - retro

The thing is – after every work-out or run – am I now duty-bound to write a blog post?

And which is harder – drumming up the motivation to exercise, or drumming up the motivation to write?

At uni I had real trouble with my essays – just getting them done. I would put it off and put it off until a frantic all-night session before the deadline.

Well do I remember my student daze
Well do I remember my student daze

But getting my running gear on and taking off for a few circuits of the perimeter of my hall of residence was no trouble whatsoever.

Commenting on one of my posts on Facebook, fellow blogger and writer of fiction Misha Herwin said: “I think the drumming up of motivation is the same for whatever you’re doing.

“Partly inertia, partly fear that you won’t be able to achieve whatever it is you’ve set yourself. The trouble is you know you’ll feel much better when you’ve done it, if only you can get yourself going.

As good an excuse as any for showing a guy with a six-pack!
As good an excuse as any for showing a guy with a six-pack!

“And you don’t have the guilt which comes from not doing it.”

I plead guilty to procrastination.

Which leads me to my next confession.

There are no problems with exercise motivation – I have, indeed, just been for my first run since breaking my foot (more to follow!).

No, you need to know this, tomorrow is the deadline for my submission of a detailed, ideas-ridden, high creativity work project.

Back to work it is then LOL


Exercising with an injured foot is a challenge – but here are some vids which prove it needn’t get in the way of your workout if you’re determined enough.

Heather Frey of Smashfit won’t let injury stop her regime despite being footless! Note how she incorporates an element of cardio by doing her reps quite fast.

The workout does focus on the arms and shoulders but yes you do get the metabolism heart-lung emphasis too – reminds me of when I hurt my knee quite a few years back, I used an upright rowing machine at the gym to keep that side of my fitness regime going.

And while we’re on the subject of cardio, here’s a chair-based workout from Trish Blackwell – she’s even got a heart-rate monitor on under her sports bra to prove it works (Actual workout begins about 2.15 into the vid after the preamble).

My Google search for Trish Blackwell revealed she’s a confidence trainer – as well as a fitness coach – interesting, really, when you think about it – not being able to exercise the way I want to has affected me in more ways than just physically.

Anyway! Here’s another vid of how to exercise with a broken foot – please accept my apologies for the music – there is no commentary but you’ll see a woman called Katie Hartman (can’t find any web links to her outside of YouTube) doing a lot of the exercises I’m looking forward to getting back to in Guerrilla Training (I think the US equivalent is crossfit).

Yet again – it’s great to see people working out, in full exercise gear despite the relevant bandaging!

Admittedly there's one exercise I haven't tried
Admittedly there’s one exercise I haven’t tried

I have just over a week to go until I can legitimately run again, do all yoga again, go to a normal Guerrillas class again.

But the week in question is going to be packed-full of crazy work commitments so that’s what I’ll be concentrating on.

However, I can’t wait to be back in the saddle and there’s still going to be plenty to go at in this blog, so watch this space!