Hey Gut Bucket. Let me guess what you’ve been up to recently: you’ve been out swilling sugar and ethanol solution all day while dull games of soul-sappingly cautious football play out on the big screen; your unfunny sub-Chiles observations delivered at a sanity-shredding volume matched only by the omnipresent vuvuzela hell drone. Beautiful People glance fleetingly at your crimson face, swollen sallow face, and shirt that creaks desperately at the buttons, an inch of slap-red fat visible through each opening, and shudder. They shudder at the thought that they might have been you, or, and this almost brings them to vomit on you right there and then, at the thought that they might, in an unguarded moment, have sex with you. Some of their friends have fucked a fatso; they may even laugh about it now, but its a hollow laugh. They hate you, you massive turd in a poloshirt and flip flops. You huge blancmangey beige alsatian turd with sunglasses on your head, laughing at something pitifully unfunny and recycled that another one of your turd friends said about the game of football you half watch.


If so, I have the solution. Its called The Gym. At base level, it is a place where you go to exchange portions of self-inflicted agony for decreases in the size of your waistline, and increases in your self-esteem. Its a decent trade-off if you get it right, but the pitfalls are many. Allow me to take your hand and guide you through this secretive limbo of reps, presses, crunches and squats, so that you may emerge the other side cleansed of the blubbered, jowly demons that inhabit you, and live in health and beauty for ever more.

The Changing Room
The first place you encounter will be the changing room where you cast off the shackles of normality (clothes, shoes, phone, wallet, keys) and put on your chosen ceremonial robes of fitness. For me that means old Guns n Roses t-shirt, swimming shorts and Nike Airs Its important to not look too keen with your apparel so as to not raise peoples expectations of your prowess. Sweat bands, heart rate monitors and weight-lifting belts are all total no-nos.

Early on you will have to tackle (LOL) the dilemma of whether you fellow changers should see your genitals or not. Some guys spend far more time than is needed with their junk on show, giving every part of their body a laborious towelling before finally recaging the beast. The other school of thought is to have it out and in as quick as possible, or, for the shorts under your trousers crew, not at all. My advice is to be discrete but unashamed and casual. No gratuitous nudity while drying behind your ears.  If someone’s looking they’ll glimpse it, but the schlong is essentially easy to ignore. Additionally, it may be tempting, but never ever blow-dry your pubic hair. It feels great but looks awful; save it for when you get home.

The first time you visit you’ll be offered an induction. Don’t take it. If a lunkheaded rugby moron can operate a machine, so can you. The inductioneer (inducer?) will take one look at your flabby frame and vague goals (“I want to y’know, get a bit fitter, lose a bit of weight” ; no-one’s in here get less fit), sigh, and get you doing endless reps of humiliatingly silly-looking floor exercises, while they shout their inane encouragement. I was told I had to walk four lengths of the room with exaggeratedly bent crab legs, looking like a geriatric Groucho Marx. Add in some Davina-endorsed ball excercises and an invitation to a Pilates class, and it all amounts to a chemical castration level of emasculation.

Instead just freestyle it, but freestyle hard. Crank up the rowing machine to maximum resistance and blaze it as hard as you can for 6 minutes (check the safe way to do this on the internet). Set the running machine to as fast you can handle,  and run for 12 minutes. Make sure you’re completely out of breath and staggering around begging yourself for mercy, and you will get fitter. Do some weights too, but concentrate on doing things that you find difficult; straight arm lifts are a classic one.  If it looks much easier than it actually is, and after 15 your arms are burning and shaking with the effort as you strain “fouurteeen, FIFTEEEN (gasp, splutter)” you’re on the right track.

If you graduate to doing vaguely impressive weights like a bench press, men will begin to offer you a ‘spot’. That’s where they stand next to you and support the weight so you’re lifting it in the correct manner. All too frequently this turns into a all-sweating all-encouraging two-guys-against the weight bro-fest, conjuring up unpleasant ideas of what it would be like to share a threesome with said spotter. As with most social interactions in the gym, avoid.

You’d think that the explosive combination of insecurity and endorphins that gyms house is perfect for people wanting to get it on. This is mostly untrue unless you’re a personal trainer. Everyone fancies their personal trainer; they have the body  you aspire to, a level of willpower you can only dream of,  and their shouts of encouragement  (“c’mon you’re almost there! you must be really feeling it”) can easily be woven into sexual fantasies. I’m not really basing this on anything, but I’d leave personal trainers well alone. They may be fit, but their gym addiction could turn into crack addiction or crystal meth and then not only would you have a toothless and ravaged sexual partner, your personal trainer would be robbing your locker while you did your crunches.

Otherwise other people in the gym should generally be used as mental strawmen to motivate you. For instance an attractive man or lady’s bottom might be seen as bait for continuing a bout of painful squat thrusts (ie “that is the standard of rump I’ll be sharing a bed with if I just continue doing this humiliating excercise”), or an odious character can be used as the reverse (“that’s exactly the kind of douchnozzle I’m gonna be punching in the back of the head when I’m fit enough to run away successfully”).  I sometimes like to imagine I’m defending the former’s honour in a fight to the death with the latter. That’s double the motivation, and therefore double the calories burned. Take that, douchnozzle!

If you’re going to try and impress someone, don’t attempt it by exaggerating your prowess (for instance by screaming “98! 99!…” while you grind out your seventh press-up), do it by showing you are not the uber-mensch you appear to be. A little eye-contact and cheek-blow to say “Jesus, that was difficult, the things we do for fitness eh nice lady?” is a perfect ice-breaking gesture. Follow it up by shouting “1! 2!” as she walks past and you’re on you 30th press-up. Either she’ll get the joke and you’ll be in, or she’s a hard nosed psycho and you did yourself a favour by wheedling her out of your potentials.

And that’s about it. The gym’s a chance to lose yourself in your own painful world of body image psychology, while performing pointless, agonising tasks to the glory of your own vanity. Follow my advice, go 3 three times a week, and you’ll be Arnie meets Vin Diesel meets Serena Williams within 6 months. Alternatively, go 7 times in one week and then never again like most people, and you’ll be paying a pointless monthly subscription fee until you have the balls to go in and tell them you’ve failed.