My jeans shrunk in the wash.

The winter in the Netherlands was like the end of the world. The below-zero temperatures, the 4ft deep snow, the raging hair-destroying-side-winds – it was enough to make you stay indoors and eat. That is exactly what I did and this inevitably resulted in an extra few kilos to my arse. No longer could I keep feeding myself the cake-shaped lie that the reason that my jeans were tight was because I had washed them on a hot cycle. Time to face the truth. I had put on weight. Aside from the chub issue occurring, the extent of my social life was discussing the cleaning rota with my 3 house mates and I was one more peanut m&m away from giving myself an anaphylactic shock. It was time to join the gym.

After some extensive research of the local gyms in the area, I was able to make an informed decision. By ‘informed decision’, I do of course mean that, from the information I had gathered, I was able to select the cheapest gym that was giving away the best free gift once you had signed up. I made an appointment and was to meet a friendly chap named ‘Marslam’ at 9am the following Saturday. Unfortunately as I spent the Friday evening binge drinking and skyping (this was also another reason to join the gym and start to interact with actual people in 3D) , this had meant that Saturday morning was occupied with talking on the Big White Telephone and so had to rearrange my gym induction.

It did not go unnoticed that when I rang the gym to speak with Marslam, he actually snorted into the receiver when I told him that I had come down with an unexpected bug and would not be able to make our appointment. As a potential customer, I expected him to swallow the lies that I was feeding him. Anyway, appointment re-arranged for Tuesday night. He said I should have recovered by then unless I was one of those people who suffered long hangovers. Hangover, Marslam? I have a bug. A BUG.

So, Tuesday comes, I go, meet Marslam the Judger and following fifteen minutes of weighing, prodding and handing over bank account numbers, I was a member of the gym as well as the owner of a brand new toaster. I don’t know what I was more pleased about – the gym membership or the toaster. The toaster obviously. And so began my life at a Dutch gym.

In the 5 months since I joined, I have learned the following:

1. Spinning classes are the same over here as in the UK. Brutal, unforgiving and taken by a man in tight lycra named Satan
2. There are no shower curtains or doors in the changing room. There is no privacy. If anything, people WANT you to look
3. Brazil and Hollywood are absolutely places that some parts of some of the female members should visit

That’s it.

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