Jodie Marsh, Madonna, Janice Dickinson and now, newest recruit Sarah Harding show us why we shouldn’t over-do it when it comes to exercise, and why their new lifestyle is giving us a guilt-free pass to justifiably laze on the sofa with any takeaway of our choice.
Making dens when I was a child was probably one of the most memorable parts of my childhood. Like clockwork every Saturday, as my mum would begin vacuuming, I’d cajole the seat cushions from their places and begin my base of fortitude. The chest of drawers were my walls and the curtains were the roof. I would sit for hours, just chilling out in there like the odd simpleton that I am, my groovy new Walkman playing a selection of about six songs before I needed to change CDs – ahh, the unadvanced time that was the 90s. And then I’d come out into the light again, and everything was how it was before, and that was it again for another week. But the point behind this rather pointless seeming anecdote is that it was a safe place, a hovel of control that I could craft and discern to suit my needs. And, in finishing at the gym the other day, it was a similar feeling of exultation.
To most, the gym is a frightening concept… the idea of working out, sitting on equipment inhabiting puddles of recycled sweat, finding the motivation to not sit in the corner, clutching your ankles, with a Curly-Wurly silkily dangling from your great gob, whilst simultaneously screaming through the mush ‘I AM NOT AN ANIMAL’. But to others, it is a place of security. One that becomes a part of daily routine that becomes almost as second nature as reading the newspaper over a cup of tea in the morning. Nowadays it’s difficult to find anyone who doesn’t have a gym membership, or find a man that doesn’t down powdered protein shakes like a snorting, guffawing battery hen. We are a nation obsessed with health, how we look, how we are perceived and how we perceive ourselves. We seek happiness within ourselves and, if that’s not quite up to scratch, seek solace in the gym for a newer, happier You. But with everything, to be ‘in moderation’ is key. See that big galumphing blokey over there, arms so pumped he walks like he’s holding an invisible rubber dinghy? See that woman with the neck muscles that seem to cry out everytime she gulps? Yes, these are the people we have become accustomed to, all because of that one fine station of solicitude. And, with any rising epidemic, a crazed crop of celebrities have done a damned good job of leading the way. And, with anything entirely unnecessary, Madonna is the acclaimed front runner.
Yes, as much as I’d love to ignore her presence, or whatever it is that she has left to account for – a spirit? Does she even still have a soul or is she just dust? – it is imperative she is drawn upon as the most extreme example. In keeping within the music industry, where appearance and a good physique are essential, Madonna probably thinks she’s just giving the music industry exactly what they want. But no. Not today, thanks. Take your depleting skin cells and walk away. Her muscular, yet paradoxically gaunt figure is something no youngster, yet 53 year-old, should ever work towards. And what makes it worse is how her influence is affecting the younger stars, as she passes the GAUNTlet – sorry, had to – onto women who are stealthily ruining themselves with over-exercising. One of these being the beautiful ex-Girls Aloud singer, Sarah Harding.
Sarah was the bubbly and brash blonde member who, from the looks of things, seemed to have the whole ‘looking good’ thing down. But in recent news, tabloids have stated how she has become obsessed with the gym, with the line ‘gone too far’ cropping up time and time again. She has recently even spoke out about wanting to get as toned as Madonna, saying how all she wants is to have arms and abs like her idol, and with statements such as this it seems Sarah is in a state of great disillusion as to the implications of her new regime.
In a world where we are constantly flip-flopping between the new fashions and what’s good, what’s not, what’s too big, what’s too skinny, it seems no wonder we find it difficult to come to terms with what ‘in moderation’ ever means. Hopefully this is not a sustainable lifestyle for Sarah and that she sorts her head out sharpish, before she wakes up one day like a bag of leathery belts with a death wish. Let’s just hope, for her sake, that that day doesn’t come by any time soon.
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