The Seitzgeist

Posted by in March's Magazine

Last night I spoke to an old friend of mine who is a personal trainer and nutritionist. If you have ever read my column before you’ll know there are two things I’m really interested in: food and fitness. I’m no saint, but I like to eat well and with health very much in mind. Which isn’t to say I’m not prone to a piece of cake, and anyone who knows me knows only too well about my love for Nutella. But it’s this partiality to cake and Nutella that led me to my conversation with Simon last night.

I am in no way overweight, but I want to decrease my BMI. I work hard at toning my muscles and I’d like to see more of that tone. I want to strip the layer of fat from my stubborn areas (stomach and thighs) so that I’m able to see some definition and I knew if anyone could advise me on this Simon could. It’s easy to kid yourself that a little of what you fancy does you good, but not if you’re trying to tone up and that little of what you fancy is stopping you from seeing results.


Exercise is a big part of my life and without it I’d go mad. I can’t wait for the evenings to get lighter so I can start running home from work again – running along the canal in the dark and risking assault might be good for my speed work but I’d rather not take the risk thanks.

I train five or six times a week. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I get up at the crack of dawn to do resistance training with free weights, Tuesdays and Thursdays I do an hour-long power yoga class, and at the weekend I do a mixture of resistance and running. Why am I telling you this? Some of you probably balked when you read what I do, didn’t you? Some of you probably wondered how I can be arsed, some of you probably thought I should get a life, and some of you probably think it’s really boring. And I bet there are some of you who felt a little twitch, and secretly thought you should really do more yourself.

I know many people who eat nothing but crap and who are, to be frank, overweight, lazy, unhealthy and look like shit. Do I tell them they’re overweight, lazy, unhealthy and look like shit? No. That would be rude and it’s none of my business. Why is it then that these very same people think it’s ok to comment on what I do? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told I’m mad for taking the stairs instead of the lift. The number of times I’ve been told with real disdain that I’m so boring because I don’t want a biscuit. I’ll tell you what’s boring – listening to YOUR opinion on what I do with MY body. If I want your opinion I’ll ask for it, just like I did last night with Simon.

This culture which exists where women comment on other women’s bodies is unacceptable – particularly when it’s done with a massive dose of hypocrisy. Think her thighs are big? When’s the last time you exercised your own? And then there are the women who bring biscuits and cakes to work, and they’re not happy until you’ve eaten one in order to alleviate their own guilt for doing so. There is something seriously wrong with this picture.

This morning at work I was talking to a colleague and fellow-runner. I was telling her that I want to see some definition in my abs when another (female) colleague piped up: “That’s gross. And I’ve never met a man in my life who likes a woman with defined abs.”

1) I don’t give a shit what any man thinks. What I do with my body I do for myself and no-one else.

2) I’m talking about a little tone and definition, not about doing a Jodie Marsh and turning into a bodybuilder. But even if I was, what gives you the right to comment?

3) WHO THE HELL ASKED YOU? How dare she comment on my body? Do I comment on her muffin top? No.

It’s interesting that it’s always the unhealthy, sedentary types who do this. Are they trying to make themselves feel better? Because I can be bothered to be active and they can’t? Because I’ve got a flat stomach and they haven’t? Jealous, much?

So ask yourself, if you automatically decided I’m a dullard when you started reading this: when’s the last time you took the stairs or shunned a biscuit? Hit a nerve did I?

This month I’ve been mainly…
…seeing more art than you could shake a stick at: Damien Hirst, David Shrigley, Lucien Freud, David Hockney; mastering table tennis in my lunch break; making more use of the Royal Mail; doing a stellar job of staying very calm despite thoroughly disliking someone in my office; trying to wangle a free minibreak in Cornwall; embracing my ridiculously-big-but-most-excellent-new-headphones; feeling sad to hear of the closure of Cabaret Voltaire; loving a book called 84 Charing Cross Road (read it!); trying not to be frightened of the gap – not The Gap – but the GAP.

6 responses to “The Seitzgeist”

  1. Nick says:

    You strike me as a very insecure person.

  2. Jean Craven says:

    Hi Carine,

    How are you doing? Your name was mentioned at the weekend at Joe Nevilles by Caroline

    Jean (exc Cafco)

  3. Great stuff, i really enjoyed by reading your article, thanks for sharing!

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