Rosie Millard: Thrifty Living

Losing money is far easier than losing pounds of the flab

Marion, a fitness instructor, kindly e-mails me with information about cheap workout strategies. I clearly come over as someone who is a bit flabby. Indeed, in all areas. This morning, I received an Athena Pelvic Muscle Trainer in the post. This little gizmo is rather dynamic, in that it does all the muscle training itself. Switch it on, pop it in and off it goes. But every fitness strategy requires more effort than an automatic Pelvic Muscle Trainer.

So what is Marion's big idea? The humble hula-hoop, apparently. The American weighted one is what you need. "Quite a few of my class members have gone out and bought hoops for about £30 to £40. It's cheaper than a gym membership and something that you can do any time from 10 to 45 minutes," she says. Reasonably inspired by this, I go along to the gym with Spendthrift Janie and check into a hula-hooping class.

The first thing to note about this ancient sport is that it feels like it was a former bit-part in Happy Days. Furthermore, when you try it, you feel as if you are part of the pedal-pusher and high-ponytail brigade at Rydell High. It's very ... ebullient. It's also bloody difficult. "Try limbo-dancing!" sings out our instructor. "While swooping your hoop around your abs! How low can you go?!" Oh, do us a favour, Rizzo, and shut up. She does a few limbos and a few swoops to show how effortlessly this is achieved.

Meanwhile my Weighted American Hoop keeps on clattering to the ground, taking off half the skin from my shins as it does so. Maybe I've got an overly weighted one. "If your hoop keeps falling, speed up your hips!" shouts our leader, hysterically. I glance over at St Janie, who is doing the pelvic thrust with venom. That's the Rocky Horror Show, love. Wrong showbiz reference. After 50 minutes, we've had enough.

Sure enough, the next morning we are both holding our sides and groaning, so hula-hooping is obviously effective enough. Would I continue to do it on my own, however? Out in the garden, with Mr Millard and the Juniors all shouting support? I don't think so. I know myself too well.

I once went through a space hopper craze. Confidently envisaging that I would do at least 30 minutes' hopping per day, up and down the kitchen, I spent £100 on two of the brutes. So good for your glutes, you see The reality lasted about 30 minutes, since whenever I clambered on, everyone collapsed in tears of mirth. Step classes? I've done a few. Swimming? Yup, that as well. I've even been suckered into the big wallet-busting daddy of them all, The Personal Trainer.

Now, a personal trainer is eye-watering. And not just because of the 50kg weights you are expected to hoist. The hourly rate of my trainer, a delightful Serbian giant, is about £40. However, I fell for the "buy now before prices go up" routine at Virgin Active, and therefore I am on a discounted rate of about £32 an hour for about the next 40 weeks. I went a bit mad, and bought almost the whole of 2007, because I thought it was such a great deal.

My Serbian does demand total loyalty, however. And at £32 an hour, he's certainly got it from me. My hour with him is about the only thing I am never, ever late for. Funny how the mental image of three crisp £10 notes heading for the bin focuses the brain.

His latest wheeze is personal training, remote-control style. "I need to you to go for a run each morning, Rosie," he said last week, "30 minutes every morning." Then, in April, it will go up to 35 minutes. May, 40 minutes. By July, an hour." Now, hiring a personal trainer might be akin to opening your bank account and shouting out "oh, go on then, drizzle away into the gutter, Last dregs of my income!", but running around the streets is a fantastically thrifty fitness option. All you need is a pair of shoes. And daylight. By the time July comes, says my PT, it will be as if four junior Millards had never sloshed around in my belly.

Extraordinary visions of La Millard as a mother of four hardbody clad in a tiny bikini swim before my brain. Thank you, personal trainer, I sob as I round Highbury Fields for the nth time. So what if I am so financially drained by him that we are going on an ultra-economic holiday in Cornwall (again) this year? Global warming, remember. Cornwall's going to be baking.

cashl@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

    £50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

    Loren Hughes: Financial Accountant

    £45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...

    Sheridan Maine: Finance Analyst

    Circa £45,000-£50,000 + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ac...

    Sheridan Maine: Financial Accountant

    £150 - £190 Daily Rate: Sheridan Maine: One of London's leading water supplier...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor