Jaci Stephen: 'At my Beverly Hills gym there's only Victoria Beckham for company'

Way Out West

Share
Related Topics

Seven months after joining the Beverly Hills branch of Sports Club LA, I am no nearer to finding a group sport that I enjoy. My daily workouts are undoubtedly enhanced and encouraged by seeing the exquisite form of Victoria Beckham on a nearby treadmill, and even more so a couple of weeks ago, when Mr Beckham also turned up in the gym, a sight that induced in me so severe a case of Beckhamitis, I swear I had two birthdays in the time it took the paramedics to bring me round.

Exercising alone enables me to go at my own pace, and I have discovered that if I exercise to music rather than watching marathons of Law and Order or NCIS, I go a lot faster on the treadmill. Musicals are particularly effective, and this week alone I have exercised my way out of prison (Les Miserables), shot my twin brother (Blood Brothers), and had plastic surgery to enable me to sing "Tits and Ass" with sufficient verve (A Chorus Line).

But put me in a class and all my concentration and good intentions go to pieces. First, I tried boxing, because I have always been a huge fan of the sport. As a child, my brother and I were allowed to watch Mohammed Ali's fights, which always began at 8pm – but only if we first went to bed at six and slept for two hours. Punching somebody's lights out took on metaphorical as well as real significance in our household, and to this day I love boxing.

My first and only boxing class in LA ended in disaster. When I entered the empty gym, I just wasn't prepared for the rotating mechanical punchbags zipping their way round as I waited in line for the class to start. Zap! The first one arrived and smacked me square on the gob.

After that, I found the class a little stressful. "I give you 10 seconds, I give you nine seconds, I give you eight seconds ..." On and on and on. The teacher counted every damned second of the hour-long class to every single movement we made – all accompanied by ear-splitting disco music.

Having enquired at reception as to what might be a quieter, less dangerous class, I decided to try Anusara yoga. It was very, very calming. At the start, the teacher said she had been "talking" to a 16-month-old child, with whom she had been sharing the youngster's enthusiasm of the new world the little girl was experiencing. Enthusiasm. That was the "intention" she asked us to focus upon over the next 75 minutes; or, failing that, any other intention (mine was ensuring that I record the last episode of My Antonio, a show for which I have immense enthusiasm, so I felt I was killing two – actually, I don't think killing is a Yogic term, so let's say I was anaesthetising two – birds/intentions with one stone).

It was all going well up until the cobra position. It was an exercise I had done in the past, when I taught myself a bit of yoga and needed to release trapped gas. I tell you: the class was the entire wind section of the LA Philharmonic. If the point of yoga was to co-ordinate breathing with movement, I couldn't see that having to hold my breath for the next five minutes to avoid the smell was going to do me any good at all.

I tried Power yoga instead, in the hope that the speed of the thing might at least circulate any bad odours. This time I lasted just half an hour, when the teacher encouraged the class to make noises while they inhaled and exhaled – "like sea-shells". Somehow I found myself among the tidal wave contingent and just wanted to tell them all to shut the hell up.

My concentration also wasn't helped by the teacher again telling us to focus on any "intention" we liked – world hunger, if we so wanted: something that, he added, was always on his mind ... starving people the world over ... and yet nothing was ever done about it ... Look, mate: I know, but you've just said that this is MY time, MY space, and MY body to do with what I like with MY intention. Now you've gone and blown My Antonio right out of my psyche. I rolled up my mat and skulked out.

I have decided that I am just not a group exercise sort of person and am therefore returning to the treadmill and the stepper with just my earphones and the TV on the machine for company. And Dave and Vic, of course. Now there's a couple you won't hear breaking wind in public.



To read Jaci Stephen's blog LANotSoConfidential in full, go to Lanotsoconfidential.blogspot.com

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The law is too hard on sexting teenagers

Memphis Barker
 

Obama must speak out – Americans are worried no one is listening to them

David Usborne
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game