Let’s Get Naked

Sara Bran Running Free

I’m totally about to run naked and free… honest.

Let’s get naked.

These words, at one time, would not have caused me too much fuss. I have lived in California baby, oh yes, and experienced my fair share of communal hot tubs. (The story of the hot tub, the floating cucumber and the Elvis glasses is a whole other blog post). But these days, the way I feel about getting naked or even wearing a swim suit is quite similar to how I would feel if someone offered me some pins to stick in my eyes.

When, oh when did this happen?  Okay, so I resemble a clove-pitted ham in my M&S briefs, but I call myself a feminist for flip’s sake. Moi sans clothing just ain’t what it used to be, but mind you, nor is Radio One. Why aren’t I walking my big fat talk? My own poor sense of body image irritates the hell out of me, so I have been in search of a remedy for a condition I call Noddy Horror.

As a result of my extensive research, I can offer the following to you, my fellow dreader-of-the-beach:

1. Be honest, do you really want to work that hard?

It has been good to realise that most of my friends who look holy-moly-awesome-fab in the body department work hard at it. Like, really hard. Like, more than I would ever want to work hard at anything except perhaps my marriage to Ryan Gosling. They have also not had children, and are wealthy or time rich, or both.  They prioritise fitness, I prioritise observing the fitness of others (mainly the male tennis players at Wimbledon).

2. Make a note of the practical benefits

I now consider it useful that I can keep spare change in the cavernous crevices of my cellulite. I for one will never find myself without £1 for the parking meter, no siree!  Also, if I am on a large ship and we hit an iceberg and are plunged into unforgiving freezing waters, I’m far more likely to survive due to my padding. Also, my breasts will totes help me float. Others may even be able to use me as some sort of raft thus making me actually quite heroic.

3. Get some perspective

I have stopped looking at magazines/TV/adverts that suggest I need to ‘get my beach body ready’ and begun to appreciate the fact that I have two arms, two legs and a functioning brain. Seriously, what right do I have to bemoan my wibbles when I a) can’t be arsed to do more than a paltry sun salute every now and then and b) am lucky enough to still have all my bits and wits?

4. Take a look at the real people

The greatest antidote to Noddy Horror is to go to your local swimming pool and take a look around, take a long, cold, hard look around. See the normal people? See the pitted, chthonian, Jabba-mass of humanity and remember, it’s not us, it’s them. It’s the freak show going on in the halls of Conde Nast that is ugly; them with their airbrushes and their banquets of lettuce, cocaine and Camel Lights.

So, you know, let’s run free, run naked, let’s let it all hang out this summer people.  Please don’t leave me alone in this or I’ll be arrested.

How to Quit Your Gym

Vintage Keep Fit Equipment

The cross trainer was agony…

Dear Gym,

It’s over.

After nearly five years of flirting, sweating and a whole lot of grunting, I’ve realised we’re just not good for each other me and you.

Gym, oh gym,

you do not make me slim.

You make me bored and annoyed like the One Show and doing accounts.

I’ve tried it all; weights, cardio thingy, jumpy-uppy-downy class, tums, bums and thumbs, even that wibbly-wobbly power plate thing that makes your fillings fall out. (Weirdly, that doesn’t seem to happen to that older lady who just sits on the plate smiling for HOURS). Zumba, Zimba and also Zamba,  I loathe it all. Even the smell of you Gym; cheese, vinegar and despair all mixed into one just makes me want to gag up a kidney.

I’m sorry, but it’s over. I just don’t love you.

You want to know why I’m leaving? Well, I’ll tell you. The final straw was yesterday when I was in the shower  and an actual turd floated past me in the communal drainage from the next door cubical like something from the the conveyor belt on Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game.  “Some personalized luggage….a cuddly toy…a child’s poo please Bruce.”

I liked your pool though. It was nice to have more than 1 square foot to swim in London that didn’t involve accidentally swallowing floaty plasters or the risk of TB. But the last time I swam, I was chatted up by an 82-year-old man who left his teeth on the pool side before wading off to his aqua aerobics class. I just felt so CHEAP.

You promised me ‘fitness’ and ‘well-being’ and instead I have a belly full of shattered dreams (and undigested cakes) achy knees and an appreciation for the terrible stenographer at Sky TV whose hilarious misspellings have kept me sane while I’ve worked up a tidal wave of gusset sweat on the Cross Trainer (which actually does make me cross, really narked) for FIVE, LONG, PUNGENT, DISAPPOINTING years.

SO, I am cancelling my (misunder)Standing Order even though you will try to stop me by bringing out the Manager who is hotter than a young Denzil Washington crossed with Ryan Gosling who will ply me with offers of a 1 hour FREE session with a personal trainer called Gareth, a FREE guest pass or a FREE fluorescent cocktail at one of your ‘socials.’ I wont be taken in (yes, I know it worked the other 5 times I tried to leave, BUT IT WON’T THIS TIME).

Oh damn you Gym with your fluffy towels, sauna and steam. Sod you with your whooping, smiley, bouncy, erect-nippled staff who have clearly NEVER HAD KIDS. IT’S OVER!

OK… the truth is, I’ve met someone new. I haven’t actually been out with it yet, or spoken to it, but I have been admiring it from afar and stalking its Facebook page. I’m not even sure if we’ll get on but it looks and more importantly SMELLS amazing. Really amaaaazing. There’s lots of chanting and there are tattooed teachers from New Yoik who look like they could crush a Volvo with their gluteus maximii. What more could an unfit girl want? Look out Jivamukti, here I come.

I’m sorry Gym. It’s not you, it’s me.

Actually no, it IS you. No one REALLY likes you.

It’s been awful,