Issue 1 – Couch Potato to Gym Junkie: A Physical Journey

It was Thursday afternoon around 6:00pm on the 24th June in the year 2010. I was snuggled in my bed, where I had been snuggled since 4:00pm, with my aunt’s laptop watching DVDs and surfing the WWW whilst scoffing Margaret River Chocolate Factory chocolate acquired earlier that day at their Swan Valley store on my way home from an interview that I had rescheduled from Tuesday because of the Melancholic Black Dog that had been afflicting me for some two weeks and rendered me incapable of removing myself from the couch let alone the house.

I was browsing the website of The Master, aka Stephen Fry and I caught site of his new banner featuring his new slim-line self.

The New Slim Line Fry Posing in his Website Banner

(Read his story here – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1194024/STEPHEN-FRY-How-I-lost-stones-just-months.html )

Stephen Fry Before Becoming A Gym Junkie

Seeing and reading about his efforts again inspired me to finally, after months of contemplation and putting-it-off, to surf onto the Contours Women’s Gym website and investigate costs.

I surfed at the right time. Their home page announced a $29 joining fee offer for the month of June.

Bollocks and bugger actually. I was now in the position where the ‘I am a poor student and cannot afford the joining fee’ excuse could not be employed to put off the sorry business for another prolonged period of contemplation.

Before the impetus left me and my slothful side overcame me, I dialled.

“Hello. My name is Lisa and I am calling you from my bed where I am watching DVDs and scoffing chocolate. I need to sign up with you before it’s too late.”

I was popped in the schedule for the next morning.

(It was amazing how much better my chocolate tasted after I had committed myself to the gym!)

I drove to the gym next morning freshly showered and brimming with enthusiasm. I met with Julie and she signed me up and booked me in for my first weigh-in and session the following Tuesday.

The weigh-in was no surprise. Well, except for the fact it was not as bad as I thought it would be considering the quantities of ‘medicinal’ chocolate I have been scoffing since my unfortunate return from London in December 2008.

My first circuit was painful, but thankfully only went for one round instead of two as it took some time to work out the doable-weight for each machine and to figure out which manual exercises my uncoordinated body could handle without causing injury to myself, or others.

I struggled my way through the last half; muscles I was not aware existed were screaming and burning from the unwelcome exertion. However, it was quickly over and another session was booked in for Friday morning to do the circuit properly.

If I thought my first circuit was bad, Friday’s session was close to tortuous. Julie was there to guide me through my paces. Julie with the voice of an angel and the heart and soul of an army Drill Sergeant!

The agony! The burn! Behind the feigned smile – “Yes, I am enjoying this very much” – were tears of regret and sorrow. My heart and straining body were crying out for the inertia of life involving a couch and television.

Unfortunately, I could not cheat and be a little lax on some machines as Julie was watching over me, as all good Drill Sergeants do.

The second time around the circuit seemed endless. I was close to passing out on a couple of occasions. I struggled to get my legs to do what they needed to do, my arms were close to falling out of their sockets, my face was red and I had rivers of lady-like ‘glistening’ running all over my poor abused body.

But I made it. Finally! It was one of the longest and most painful thirty-seven minutes of my life.

Unfortunately the hard physical work of that week was completely ruined by the old Black Dog and the weekend was spent being miserable and scoffing chocolate and slurping chocolate milk.

However, the constant ache of the back and neck muscles is reminding me of the mission I am on. I am thinking that gym junkism is probably an unlikely goal/outcome given my history, however, if I manage to sustain a minimum of three sessions a week for one year, well this is as close to gym junkie status that this Prone-to-Sloth creature is likely to get. And I am ok with that, as long as I am a slightly fitter and slimmer Prone-to-Sloth-Almost-Gym-Junkie who can enjoy the occasional small chocolate indulgence and not gain 20 kilos!

Joy Bringer: My New Happy Drink

Focus VitaminWater aka Happy Drink

When it’s not appropriate or too early to be cheering oneself with a g&t or champers, I have discovered that one can get the same satisfaction, without the salty chippy cravings, from this delightfully-coloured kiwi and strawberry flavoured water.

I should say that like Lady Daffy Tottering, I am not of the belief that it is ever too early or too inappropriate for a snifter. However, one does not want to offend others with more conservative sensibilities.

One can never have too much champers!

Je ne comprehend pas la Football/Soccer

Australia is currently Wally Ball mad. (Wally Ball being Soccer, or for those in the UK and Europe, football.) Apparently there is some World Mug event going on in some far flung place.

I do not enjoy this sport. I cannot understand the point of it. I have sat through a few matches in my time and not even in a convivial environment such as the Saracen’s Head Pub in Bath, surrounded by crazed Man U fans (I was the sole Liverpool supporter, albeit a half-hearted one) and a pint of Guinness in my head, could any enthusiasm for this game be aroused in me.

The first match I ever watched ended in a 0-0 draw! The second resulted in a frustrating 1-0 loss for Chelsea. (It could have been Newcastle. Blue was the predominant colour, which is why I was barracking for them, blue being my favourite colour.)

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying these Wally Ball players are not excellent athletes and that spectators are not treated to rather joyous moments of skilled ball play. It’s just that I cannot see the point of expending all that energy (both as a player or a spectator) for so few points.

The match I referred to above ended with a 2-1 score; that is ninety minutes of ball play for a 2-1 score. (Unfortunately, Liverpool were not the victors.) I used to watch news reports on football violence in complete disbelief and incomprehension. However, I can now understand how these crazed eruptions occur. After ninety minutes of spectator-frustration I was absolutely beside myself with anxiety and disappointment. And I did not give a toss who won! I can only imagine what was going on inside the hearts and minds of those who really did understand and care what was happening; whose “AWH!”s and “YEAH!”s had much more passion and devotion behind them than mine.

And I know this is a particularly girly thing to say, but as a girl, there is not much enjoyment to be had during boring moments from players wearing such loose-fitting shorts? At least in Australian Rules there are some tightly-clad butts to gaze at when things get a little boring.

West Coast Eagles 1992 Premiership Team in their lovely tight shorts

Now I find myself in a position where as devoted aunt, I must show an interest in this insanity-arousing sport because my nephews ‘A’ & ‘T’ are both soccer mad. ‘A’ has just returned home from his soccer trials where he was battling against other 9 year olds for a place on the school holiday soccer training camp. Before he begins his career in archaeology, ‘T’ wants to play for Australia and be like some bloke called Tim Kewell or Harry Cahill.

And no doubt my other nephew ‘J’ will be soccer mad. It is inevitable what with him being a resident of the UK where football is the national obsession and with a mother who is a mad Liverpool supporter (hence my half-hearted affiliation). Add to this his Mum’s soccer-obsessed boyfriend and Kev’s 9 year-old son ‘B’, who will probably play for Newcastle United one day, the chances of ‘J’ not being a soccer nut are rather remote.

So I suppose, as a devoted aunt, I had better start getting to grips with this crazy game to show support for the young soccer/football nuts in my life. The things we aunts must do! I thought having to watch Hannah Montana Miley Cyrus with my niece was bad!