A very dear friend of mine has it on very good authority that every year, during the mammoth TV prance-athon that is BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing there’s always a sleb who ‘turns.’ After a mere three weeks of ball-heel, shimmy, spin, they suddenly realise they are, in fact, a ‘dancer.’
Reading autocues, representing the UK at sport, singing at Wembley, or being endlessly photographed while endlessly shopping, can all go hang! What they really are is a Margot-manqué and they were destined to be in a leotard, on stage, high-kicking and hand clapping to the delight of the nation. They buy the Freed bag, they wear a leg warmer without irony and they can only really converse while in a gentle stretch.
Well I am sorry to say, I have become one of them. I am that sleb. Step aside Pamela Stephenson, Natalie Cassidy, Fern Britton - I’m coming through! After 10 days of attending W10 Fitness, I have been pulling, pushing and stepping up and down on a wooden block a lot and I’m quite keen. Really quite keen. I’ve got blueberries in my fridge, a big golden pot of protein shake in the kitchen that puns ‘Whey To Go” and I am always in my gym kit. I do the school run in the kit, I go to lunch in the kit, I sit at my desk in the kit. Simply wearing it makes me feel breezy and fit and like I’m having it all – whatever that is. Hell. Just call me Bunny!
And I am not cheating. Well, not that much. For along with all the lifting of weights and listening to hardcore rap music while admiring a lot of young men in singlets who always seem to be there on a Friday morning: you have to keep a food diary. Perhaps the one thing likely to stop a Twix-attack is having to write it down.
So, you are given a list of foods that you are encouraged to eat and those that are verboten. Needless to say my life-long companions, crisps, don’t quite make the cut; neither do a whole load of other carbohydrates. Fruit and vegetables are positively encouraged, as is protein at every meal. In fact it is all about protein and, weirdly, butter. Cook in butter, allow yourself butter, slather on the butter, don’t hold back on the stuff. Rich in iodine, it helps to up your metabolic rate which, in turn, helps you burn fat and - cleverly - all that butter.
But the truth is, the process is not hideous. Jean Claude Vacassin and his team, Adam Jones and Rob Coles, are all encouraging and kick-arse enough to know how far to go. They also refuse to do that irritating training thing of counting out loud. I can count, you can count, we can all count! There is no need for ANYONE to EVER count out loud - unless they are under three years old.
So after 10 days of this, I was brimming with confidence. I’d been to a wedding and managed to slip into a black sequin dress that I’d had a bit of an incident with at the last nuptials. I’d split the dress down the side, and had had to spend the whole party with my left hand glued to my ribs like I’d suffered some sort of terrible, debilitating stroke. But this time it (zip-repaired) fit like a glove.
I leapt on their special scales, where you hold some handles that send an electric pulse through your body and literally tell you exactly what you are made of.
“You’ve put on weight. Two pounds,” smiled Jean Claude, nodding away like that was the general idea.
“What?!” My jaw hit the deck.
“You’ve put on eight pounds of muscle.”
“Eight pounds now?!”
“And you’ve lost six pounds of pure fat. Pure. Fat.” He nods again. “Just imagine what that looks like.”
“Fat?” I hoot with laughter. “Fat! I can’t imagine what you’re talking about?!”
To be continued...
W10 Fitness, Unit 3, 69 St Marks Road, London W10 6JG. Tel: 020 3489 5428