At the beginning of December, I was contemplating giving up the battle of the bulge and resorting to elasticated waistbands. In a fair world, brisk walking for a couple of hours each day should give me a figure like Kate Moss, but in reality, the spare tyre around my middle was causing a sartorial crisis. Once winter set in and I had to abandon my comfortable linen trousers, I found I couldn't get into any of my warm clothes. I'm too mean to contemplate buying a new wardrobe so something had to be done. "Eat less" you say, and I agree with you, but I'm a bit of a foodie and get miserable the minute I restrict my calories so the only answer was to get fitter. A quick look around the peninsula offered a plethora of fitness choices. This is very different to my first foray into keep-fit. In the 1980s, one woman was almost exclusively responsible for femail fitness in Bodrum. Betül Hanım, a trained gymnast, had us going for the burn a la Jane Fonda, then cooling down with half an hour of yoga, (she'd end the lesson with a perfect headstand while we'd be grateful to be horizontal). With no dedicated sports hall, Betül's sessions took place in the "Public Education Building" (Halk Eğitim) in the centre of town, where we would routinely sweep away the fag ends before we started and occasionally be interrupted by groups of taxi drivers or students looking for a public health lecture or English exam. By the early 90s, Betül had moved to Sporium, Bodrum's first fitness centre, where we had the luxury of changing rooms and those who looked good in leotards and leg warmers could enjoy the mirror-walled exercise studio, but maybe not the attention of the five-a-side footballers who would be waiting their turn to play on the astro-turf.
Betül and my daughter 1996
With these past experiences in mind, what a joy it was to walk into the spotless Bodrum Gym and Jam fitness centre in the middle of Bodrum. I signed up for 4 months of b-fit; a 30 minute work-out consisting of short bursts of aerobic exercise interspersed with muscle toning machines. The bi- or tri-lingual instructors are "in the circle" constantly to give guidance and encouragement and everyone can work at their own pace. I've just completed my first 5 weeks and I can already fit into several pairs of jeans with a bit of room to spare. Next week I'm going to try out some of the other exercises on offer; starting with ballroom fitness. As I've got two left feet, I don't think I'm the ideal candidate for this but I'll report back, with photos, on Tuesday.