The reopening of gyms on July 25 can’t come soon enough. When I heard the news I felt a surge of joy and relief. I am quivering with excitement about getting back to it and I have, obviously, been using every ounce of my celebrity privilege to try to get the exact date and time of the first Barry’s Bootcamp class and book myself in.
I’m don’t know whether it’s safe. though I’m sure gyms will do all they can. But I know it’s not less safe than getting a perm and the benefits of fitness far outweigh the upsides of getting your highlights done or having an “I love Judge Rinder” tattoo.
Of course, I can’t wait to see my instructors and sweaty classmates (offering silent prayers for another glimpse of Harry Styles) but, most of all, it’ll mean I can start getting back to being me. My exercise routine is an important part of my life. The quality of my body and the firmness of my buttocks were very much incidental to the very real benefits it brought to my mental health. Before lockdown, every morning at 8.20am would find me in my spot at Barry’s, ready to throw myself into the day’s class with glee. No matter what else the day would bring, I was secure in the knowledge that I’d achieved something valuable right at the start. It provided much-needed structure and gave me a daily endorphin mega-tsunami that would last me through to bedtime. Now, as I watch my body become as squashy as my routine, I have become less and less recognisable to myself. Over the last few weeks, it has seemed wildly inconsistent to me that having opened up the pubs and bars the Government has taken quite so long to get gyms open. The harm to national mental and physical health while gyms have been shut must have been immense.
During lockdown I’ve tried other forms of exercise. The gloriously jumpered “Mad” Lizzie Webb broke me with her TV-am morning exercises from 1992. I am certain she didn’t mean to. I was trying to work out to one of her old fitness routines on YouTube, putting my faith in retro-campery to get me buff.
Most of all, going back to my bootcamp will mean I can get back to being me
But I lost concentration (thinking about Anne Diamond), several limbs proceeded in different directions, and I threw out my back. It led to two expensive Covid-trips to the osteopath and some very dubious cupping from a Russian. So it seems not even Nineties nostalgia could get me fit.
I had a go jogging at night but it’s just unpleasant. Don’t get me wrong, my local drug dealers are always kind, stopping me to ask for a selfie or for legal advice, but I soon found I could barely get to the end of my street. I’ve tried cycling, but if I am going to do an exercise involving sore bottoms, I don’t want it caused by a bike saddle. I’ve tried the latest in online bootcamp classes, but those don’t work either. It’s just as bad as online dating. Being surrounded by real people cheering and sweating is such a vital element (in exercise, that is, not dating); the adrenaline that comes with a group can’t be reproduced. Not only that, but there’s no one there to correct you (hence my disaster with Lizzie).
Worst of all, the only place in my house where I can set up the equipment put me less than two metres from my fridge. This adds a layer of temptation that frankly I am not equipped to deal with. It just feels wrong to be exercising at home… it’s like having an orgy in a bookshop or a roller disco in a synagogue. Everything has its place. And soon I can’t wait until I’m back in the best place to work off the strain of lockdown.