‘Mad gains’ no substitute for healthy lifestyle - Argus Friday 6th May 2016

Posted Monday 9th May 2016   By Ericka Waller

I’ve just bought myself a Mongoose BMX off eBay. A few years ago, this would have made me instantly cool, but not any more. When I was at school, all a boy had to possess to impress was a bike, a floppy fringe and the ability to score a goal, then skid on his knees with his jumper over his head. I fancied Jacob, because he had a Coors jacket from Camden Market and smelt of Patchouli (so exotic in 1994). He was shorter than me, and we were the same shoe size. All these years later, despite all the hunks and handsome men I’ve met, I’ve never forgotten Jacob, or his letters, and the way he made me feel.

Now, boys as young as 13 are going to the gym to get ‘mad gain’ muscles, which they photo and filter for Instagram likes.

Six packs are essential for attention from chicks. What has the world come to?

A new wave of American-style gyms has created a ‘nothing is enough’ vibe. It’s all about lifting harder, heavier, quicker, and it’s addictive.

The bigger they get, the bigger they want to get, and they want it quickly.

There are needle exchanges in Cardiff and Glasgow which say they have seen a 600 per cent increase in steroid use over the last ten years. The actual figure of users is probably much higher due to the large majority of users doing so at gyms.

We talk so much about the pressure on girls to look a certain way, but it seems boys are having it even harder.

My husband and I got caught up with this phenomenon for a while.

As a result he is about to have an arthroscopy on his battered knee, and none of my jeans fit due to the ‘swoles’ (swollen muscles) in my thighs.

We have had to heavily invest in Radox salts and Tiger balm.

When we got up the day after a ‘hypertrophy session’ we could not walk down the stairs. We had to bum shuffle (which used to be an exercise in the ‘80s).

In fact, I think we should bring back keep fit classes. You know the sort – a couple of ‘grape-vines’, that thing where you point your arm over your head to wall opposite, and some good old high-knees in between marching on the spot whilst doing the funky chicken with your arms.

Mr Motivator looked good enough on it when I joined in with him on ‘Good Morning TV’. What a workout!

Now body parts are not even called the same things anymore. Your solar plexus is now called your ‘gains button’, your biceps are your ‘guns’, your shoulders are ‘boulders’ and your quads are your ‘gods’.

Once boys have achieved the small head/big body look, they then seek a waxed female with fake eyebrows and a ‘squat booty’ to hang off their Billy bicep.

Think Kim Kardashian. Think how damaging this is. While initially I was pleased to see a role model who had some ‘junk in her trunk’ it’s now gotten ridiculous. Her body is no longer a human shape.

 Saddest of all, cardio is being sneered at by the younger generation, as mindless and boring.

It’s all about lifting weights, rolling tyres and killing lifts. No one seems to even exercise outside. Maybe the rain washes off fake tan.

Running or cycling in the great outdoors is far more mindful than lifting weights whilst looking at oneself in an uplit mirror in a basement whilst shouting: ‘Is there a vet round here, because my pythons are sick!’ There’s more to life than looking good, more to boys than muscles and machismo.

Fall in love with someone because they introduce you to The Cure, or because you share the same favourite book, and agree Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars film.

 Fall in love with someone’s laugh, or the way they make scrambled eggs.

Fall in love with your eyes closed, because physicality fades, muscles waste and wrinkles happen.

Trust me, I’m approaching the wrong side of 35 and I look it. I have to rely on wit and charm to get by.

AND FINALLY I’m super-chuffed to announce I’ve been nominated for ‘Columnist of the year’ in the Regional Press Awards.

I’m delighted, but slightly worried – I write my column in my dressing gown.

The other day the cord fell down the loo and I weed on it, but still continued to wear it. That is how much I care about clothes. The ceremony is ‘Black Tie’. I’m going to have to go dress shopping.

I’ll enjoy it even less than my husband, who’ll have to trail round Brighton after me saying ‘you look nice’ while I tell him I look like a pig in a frock.

Comments