Run for your life.

January 22, 2014 3:59pm Published by Jules Smith in The Art Philosopher 36 Comments

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.”

Kill me.


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I can’t help but think that Nick, the health mentor, may have designs on you since he’ll hunt you down at home if you don’t go to the gym. However, if you hang with it, eat nothing but turkey livers and drink four gallons of water each day, you will be a svelte runway model – and you’ll understand WHY they are all bitches.

God. I’d rather kill myself! One day of that and I’ll become a monstrous bitch! I don’t know how they do it.

This is great! I began laughing at “apology tourettes” and didn’t stop until the end. The MOT sounded awful but your description of how you felt about it made me roar with laughter. I’m with you on your conclusion of the event. I think if I had to live that way I would just as soon head on out to that big gym in the sky.

I’m happy to have brought raucous laughter to your day David. My life is very funny, unless of course you are me! 🙂
I concur. There’s no fun in living this way.

Yes but what did the bitch think when you got up and left? She probably thought she was stinking up the room or something 🙂 Well, she served her purpose: made a diversion so you could exist before you caught flame! 🙂

I can only hope, Dean 🙂
I have to give her that! She certainly helped me escape before I melted into a pool of squelch material!

Well, I like the New Year. I use it to forgive myself for every stupid decision I made over the previous 12 months. And there are always PLENTY. I start with a fresh slate, which I typical befoul by the third week of January. It never takes long.

I was asked what my goal was when I joined a gym and do you know what? Not only do I not have a goal for the gym, I’ve NEVER had any kind of goal whatsoever. I don’t have the insane, manic career drive of the Chinese or Indians. I’m happily infected with the laissez faire of the Italians.

No caffeine!? That’d be the end of that gym for me.

Ha! You get to the third week of January? You are saintly.
I think I’m definitely more Italian. I like their food, their wine, their country and their….”whenever” type attitude. Oh, and their caffeine!

For some reason, Nick reminds of a character called ‘Nick the Dick’, who appeared in a film called ‘Bachelor Party’. He only had a cameo part, but it was very memorable. To save you the trouble of googling, the URL below will tell you all you need to know about him.

I think you’d be a lot happier playing a role in that movie than torturing yourself in a gym, Jules.

OH MY SAUSAGES THAT’S HIM!! The out and out poodlefaker!
I’d be much happier in that movie role Mr. GB than being tortured at the gym. Far more interesting…:)


I LOVED this!! You have SUCH a way with words!!!

I’m already suspect of everyone there as well!!!


Why thank you Shoes 😀 I am keeping my eye very firmly on the goal which is the door marked ‘EXIT’

And someone bought you a year’s membership to this hell hole? Had you upset them in some way?

Either way, I’m sure we are all looking forward to the pictures of your Naomi Campbell sveltness, that you’ll be posting here in six months.

If you get that far.

Oh ye of little faith, Masher!
I upset everyone. No, it was one of those ‘Careful what you wish for’ situations. I used to say..” well if I went to that posh gym like you do I’d enjoy it, it’s like a spa. I’d sleep better and be fitter and yaddah, yaddah,, ooops..” So, I got one. Meh. Trust me, if I look like a runway model in 6 months I shall become the biggest narcissist the world has seen!

Juli, run! get out of there! i just found out MOT doesn’t stand for moment of truth, it stands for Ministry of Truth. that place is 1984 come true……..ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh……..though i do now love my mental health mentor Big Brother.

I’m running…Ignorance is strength!

Hahaha! I’m not a big fan of the New Year schlep either. I feel like all we do is Live to regret things on the 31st of December and then start all over again on the 1st of Jan. And what a way to go into the new year, I’m sure you can survive on bird and rabbit food for a while 😉

No Azra, I cannot. I hate nuts and seeds and stuff like that. Ewwww. I can only just about manage a banana. I’m just going to have to LIE! ;P

ah the cholesterol thing – did that for a while but it the rule of thumb is if it’s tasteless and causes major flatulence it’s good for your cholesterol. Can’t you find a downbeat gym where lifting a couple of tinnies of Boddingtons counts as a workout. Kewl post as always …

Now there’s a thought… hmmm.. how about Newcie Brown? It’s heavier! That in one hand and battered sausage, chips and gravy in the other! I like it!

Too funny. I know what you mean about the fake nicey nice greetings…gagsville. I could live on rabbit food but take away my alcohol and caffeine and you may as well kill me. Good luck to you!

Hello Pullupatoadstool. What a lovely name – I feel transported to Midsummer night’s dream 🙂
Yeah, I’m not going to make it on the food/alcohol/caffeine front. I’m way too tortured to behave so normally. It would crucify my creativity and make me proper nasty!
Thanks for the visit 🙂

LOL!!! Watch out. They’re here for your soul!

Oh my. I’ve missed you the last month. Then again, I may not have been coherently sane for about 3 weeks since I’m overdue on revisions, but hey, that’s a far less demanding crazy than the personal trainer who custom sizes your panties. =) Here’s hoping your reach a “movie-star” physique by next week. 😉

Thank you Crystal 🙂 I’m on the way to movie star…B movies at present but it’s a step forward!

I’m befused: so what does MOT stand for?

Hello Goatman 🙂 Well, it actually refers to vehicles. Any car over 3 years old has to have a yearly MOT (Ministry of Transport) test to make sure it’s roadworthy. If it isn’t then you have to get stuff repaired or your tax and insurance are invalid and you can’t drive. Basically they stole it from that! Ergo, I must become roadworthy or I can’t go out.

Can I lick your face or maybe have your babies? See, this is the sort of gym I have been looking for! I need someone to have my babies. Maybe not so much to lick my face, though. And to have a gym employee take my blood, I think, would be too much for me. That sounds a little creepy. I would like to know more about the beautiful girl in the steam room who made rude noises when she sat down though.

Hello Mr Tenessee 🙂 Oh I thought you were asking me then! I can get you a day pass?
The beautiful girl is now my nemesis. Every time I see her I swim an extra few lengths or run a bit faster. Everyone needs a nemesis to catch. She’s stunning. And squelches.

Yes, I was asking you. I was just curious about Squelch Girl because I am easily entertained by rude noises. Rude noises and shiny things, but mostly rude noises because they make me laugh. I’ve had a few gymesis in my time, people I avoid like the plague or simply want to defeat in fitness terms. It sounds like you want to defeat her. Perhaps if you introduce her to donuts you can fatten her up and make it easier to win the battle? or at least more fun.

Well OK then!!
I’m going to fill her water bottle with “GET FAT PROTEIN” and then tell her that I saw a documentary on how swimming makes you fat. See how that fairs first ;P

Now I am really befused! I thought MOT would be some sorrt of medical checkup to assure that your health was adequate to the rigors of exercise and gym-type stuff. How does that relate to the checkup of your car?

Well, I suppose when we hear the words “MOT” here, we think of body check. Whilst that applies to cars in it’s true sense, when it has the word health in front of it you can kind of guess what’s coming. Sorry to confuse, it’s the British way, we’ve done it for years. 😉

I apologize (apologise?) in advance; my Brit speak is cobbled together from Guy Ritchie movies, near-religious viewings of Trainspotting, and a nerdy youthful obsession with Monty Python. Your stories are offering me a master class in British slang, where I am coming from a background of being born in a town of 1000 all white, all Christian Alabamians. (I feel that I have the soul of an Englishman, born in the body of a “redneck.”) So if I step on any toes, it is not intentional! You seem to have a “mad” (crazy?) life! I’m glad that you have the grace to see the absurdity in it and share it with the rest of us!

Hello Nathaniel you English Redneck! Well, I’m more than happy to to get you up to speed on our lingo! Bring you back to your noble roots and all that malarkey! A fine poet should always have his vernacular deeply rooted in Old English, innit?!
My life is bonkers and I feel duty bound to share 🙂

Hello Nathaniel you English Redneck! Well, I’m more than happy to to get you up to speed on our lingo! Bring you back to your noble roots and all that malarkey! A fine poet should always have his vernacular deeply rooted in Old English, innit?!
My life is bonkers and I feel duty bound to share 🙂

I once had a college professor who would sometimes slip into Middle English while quoting Chaucer. We had a running joke that the two used to date. She was fairly ancient, so the truth was probably not far off. When September 11th happened, she counted us absent for watching the World Trade Center blowing up. I have never really forgiven her for that, but to be honest, it probably wasn’t that big of a deal to someone who had lost so many friends to the Black Death.

My life can be pretty bonkers too! 🙂

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