My adventures with a weighted hula hoop
I get sent a lot of stuff in the post. Albums, cinema tickets, the occasional bottle of booze, bills (lots of bills) and letters from my bank telling me that I have no money and I really should get a proper job. I’ve tried to pay my rent in CDs, but it turns out my landlord just isn’t as big a fan of Death Grips as I am.
Anyhoo, last week a courier turned up at my house with the strangest gift of all. Considering the previous one brought me a crate holding a big bottle of Smirnoff, a disco ball and a map of Italy, that really is saying something. This crash-helmetted delivery dude put an oblong box in my hand which turned out to contain six curved tubes that slotted together to make – get this – a weighted hula hoop. For reals. Apparently it is going to be the next fitness craze.
As an aside to this, my membership at my university gym had just run out and I had been shopping around for a new, more local one. There is one just up the road from me, so I went in to ask for a price-list. Now, I don’t know if you have ever tried going in to a gym and asking for a price-list but it is one of the most frustrating experiences you could imagine. Most receptionists are as reluctant to give you their prices as they would be if you went in and said “I have a massive drug habit and was hoping to borrow your debit card and pin number please.” No, they want to give you the tour, sit you in a locked room and then crush your head with their massive muscular thighs until you purchase a yearly premium membership at 200 big ones a month. It went like this. Me: “No I don’t have 20 minutes for an appointment, why don’t you give me a rough idea of the prices and I’ll let you know if it’s worth me coming for an appointment?” Them: “But there are so many price options.” Me: “Tell me the cheapest.” Them: “It really would be better if you came in for an interview. Can I have your email address for our files?” Me: “Yes, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org (said while running out of the front doors).
Disheartened, I returned home to find the aforementioned fithoop staring at me. So, determined to do some exercise, I slotted it together, went out to the garden and gave it my best. My best was about five seconds. I’ve always been shit at hula-hooping because, well, I’m not a young girl or a fabulous male. I put it down and went and ate some crisps. Later, I logged on to the fithoop site’s page. It boasted that the weighted hula-hoop could burn up to 100 calories in 10 minutes, strengthen my core, whittle my waist and give me visible definition. So, at my current rate, I’d have to do it 120 times to achieve ten minutes. Instead I finished my bag of crisps.
The next morning I went to put my washing out and there in the garden was my 1.2 kg hoop of torment, laughing at me for yesterday’s pathetic effort. So I had another go. Six seconds, then ten, then twenty, then thirty. Soon, I was a goddam expert, wiggling my hips like Beyonce. A skinny, male, indie, beardy, English version of Beyonce. But, and here’s the honest truth, I could actually feel it working. The combination of the weight of the thing, my movement and the shape of the hoop (it’s kinda bumpy) was really working the hell out of my abs. I was soon a convert and, while accepting that I look like a total twat when doing it (I refer you back to my previous description of myself, or just compare the picture of me to the one at the top of the page), I have been using it every day since.
According to the American Council on Exercise, working out with a hula hoop burns about as many calories per minute as step aerobics or boot camp, and I’m sure you’ll be seeing hot young ladies using them in the local park in no time. I am not a hot young lady though, so, like some hula-hoop elephant man, I shall have to keep doing mine within the privacy of the backyard. The world is not ready for a hula-hooping Jarvis Cocker-a-like gyrating his hips in the local park of an afternoon. But when the world is ready, I’ll be there in my hot pants, hulaing like the best of them.
I was gonna give the weighted hula hoop away on the site as a prize, but, fuck it, I’m keeping it. So you’ll just have to buy your own. You can do so here.
Words by Bobby Townsend.