TOWIE - (The Only Way is Exercise)

I love the gym. I love it. Correction. No I don't. I love working out; the agony of it. Sadistically speaking, I love the feeling of sweat dripping down my back, the tension in my legs buckling under pressure from a barbell and the pain in my lungs as I gasp for breath. Why? Because it's the only way I get to eat what I want (I eat a lot) without morphing into a rotund, shapeless ball of lard like Rik Waller. There are many things in life which require willpower: quitting smoking, abstinence and dieting, neither of which I'm any good at. The only willpower I have is being able to get myself to the gym- it's the means to an end, the only way to counteract my daily calorific intake.

The trouble is although I love working out, I in fact hate the gym. There are simply too many distractions which prevent me from keeping me focused on my goal. First off, upon entering, you'll be sure to find a conveniently placed cafe which you have to walk past in order to get to the fitness suite. If your will power succeeds and you overcome the temptation for a coffee and croissant before you workout, the desire is still there and even more apparent on your way out when you're twice as hungry. Many times I see women fall prey to the trap; one minute they're slaving away on cross-trainer, the next they're downstairs scoffing a piece of cake. I usually get around this obstacle by marching straight past the cafe reluctant to stop for anyone who wishes to say hello. The next enticement which provokes you into abandoning your self-discipline is of course the spa. Occasionally such establishments are considerate enough to keep the leisure facilities out of eye-shot from the actual gym itself.  Unfortunately for me at my gym, the spa is thoughtlessly situated directly below, and in full view of the cardio and weight machinery. While I'm sprinting away on the treadmill like a bat out of hell, the seduction of seeing others lounge about and relax leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, so much so I'm often tempted to press 'stop', pack it in and slip into my bikini. It's taunting, and yet I refuse to stop my workout because I can't stand the thought of myself looking fat in my swimwear- and belly flopping into the pool. It's always exercise first, spa later. I guess that's down to my fear of laziness. I have a constant morbid fear of becoming one of those people who loiters around by the pool but never uses the gym. You know, the kind of person that makes themselves feel better by joining a gym but ends up using it for indulgent relaxation purposes only.

I never understand why people join the gym purely for pleasure. The gym is not meant to be fun, it's meant to be gruelling, so why is it all I ever seem to see are women nattering away to each other walking 1mph on the treadmill? Do they think that by exercising their jowls they'll miraculously burn fat off their hips? That's not a workout. And lovingly gazing at your muscles in the mirror isn't either. The amount of bulky, testosterone fuelled men I see shamelessly admiring their appearance astounds me. It's as if they think the gym is a catwalk where they can showcase their pride to an attentively jealous audience. If they never actually lift weights how do they get so big? Somebody pray do to tell me the secrets to their success. Protein shakes? Maybe. Steroids? Likely. After multiple strenuous workouts I tend to feel deflated if I don't see any immediate visible results and so usually revert to striking up a conversation with a personal trainer to reassure my ego. The trouble is personal trainers normally fall into three categories: they're either too nice, too brutal, or they want to get in your pants. This leads me to believe the best way to retain my willpower is to keep myself to myself, precluding yet another distraction.

The gym poses an unavoidable quagmire. The first hurdle is joining one. The second is declining its fruitful amenities if you ever manage to actually set foot in it. It's as if gym's do everything they can to prevent their members from reaching their goals, taking your money then placing every possible temptation before them as if a test. Sometimes I think it'd be easier to just go for a run outside, at least then I wouldn't have to deal with the extras and I can keep my integrity intact.


Shuffling to the club last weekend I could barely walk straight; you could almost call it a limp. This wasn't because of my painful and unnecessary high-heeled shoes nor was it because I was prematurely inebriated, it was because I had a miniature 50ml bottle of Smirnoff strategically shoved down my pants. At 25, I do realise this is the sort of extremely scrimpish thing you do when you're 17, but my girlfriends and I were on a mission to get drunk. On a budget.

Less than an hour after entering the club my mission proved to be undeniably successful. After drinking the smuggled vodka followed by a double JD coke and two shots, the evidence of my insobriety was plain to see on the dance floor. Bouncing my afro around like Sideshow Bob, whipping it into peoples faces and momentarily blinding them, I'd lost all spatial awareness. I stumbled exuberantly into thin air whilst my friends who'd somehow remained sober, acted as robust ballasts helping me remain on two feet. I'm sure they were highly embarrassed at my behaviour, especially when I thought it a marvellous idea to start parting the crowd so I could do some invisible limbo to some dancehall music. I did nothing to quell their humiliation. As soon as Drake blared through the speakers I went into overdrive, raucously  screeching "I'm doin' meeeeeeee, I'm doin' meeeeeee- this what imma do 'til it's OVERRRR!" whilst jerking my chest spasmodically. My friends were then laughing; at me or with me I didn't care, I was in a world of my own. Drunk, unaware and having lost all social morals, I was a sober person's nightmare, but somewhere, deep down, I felt I was entitled to act this way.

Before that night I'd had a five month hiatus from drinking and clubbing, though not intentionally. For some unbeknown reason I hadn't felt any desire for nights of debauched crapulence. Perhaps it was because I became used to the fact that 9 out of 10 times I went out I was the designated driver. And being the designated driver means one thing. Sobriety. Many people would ask what's a good night out without a drink- where's the fun in that? Personally, I don't really mind not drinking for the sake of knowing that I can find my way home and not be abandoned, puking on a street corner at 3am with a tenner in my purse and a lecherous rapist posing as an innocent taxi-driver offering to take me home. Aside from this reason, my reward for being the designated driver is the thorough enjoyment I get from watching my friends get off their faces.

Contrary to popular belief there are advantages to being the only sober person on a night out. Rather than guzzling down extortionately overpriced drinks you don't even stop to taste or remember drinking, you will save money. Secondly, you don't have to worry about beer goggles. You can smugly sip your diet-coke knowing that your standards won't go out the window, you won't suffer visual impairment and you won't end up copping off with a leper. Meanwhile you can amuse yourself watching friends lust opprobriously after cretins they wouldn't usually touch with a barge pole- or hop into bed with. Adding to this, in your sober state, you can take notice of just how sleazy  people, *ahem* men can be when they're drunk; lurking in dark corners ready to pounce on the first girl  that comes their way. Furthermore, you are entitled to be abhorrently rude and imperiously blunt to any drunk idiot who approaches you with a licentious proposition. The drunken individual wouldn't even be able to string a sentence together let alone a witty retort. They willl walk away downtrodden whilst you gleefully congratulate yourself at their riddance. Most notably though, being the only sober person gives you a solid sense of awareness and authority. Your dignified behaviour against the complete unawareness of every individual around you  gives you some semblance of control. Ever played "I never ever..." with a bunch of drunk people? You're the one smart enough to keep your trap shut- they're the ones stupid enough to give their sordid secrets away.  You win.

My views come as somebody who drinks though sometimes makes the choice not to. I have many friends whose personal preference it is not to drink at all, whether that's due to religion or their desired lifestyle; unfortunately I don't have that kind of unyielding restraint. As much as it's good to remain sober from time to time to cleanse your liver and all that,  I'm certainly not impartial to the odd tipple...or five. Sometimes it's good to let your hair down and make a fool of yourself.