Jon Rhodes - A word in your ear - 20-01-11

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I am getting odd looks off neighbours. It’s my own stupid fault really, I knew I should have closed the curtains.

Now, I’m mad for putting myself into such a compromising position in full glare of the street outside.

I always prided myself on being one of those neighbours (and you read about them in The Gazette all the time) who “always says hello” but “kept himself to himself”.

Not anymore, now I’ve been spied stretching my pelvis in front of the TV. The reason for my strange behaviour – Wii Fit.

I bought the “must have” games console for the Put Upon Wife for Christmas. Not for the fitness package, but on the belief she would get bored after two weeks and I would have a new games console to take my lad on at Fifa 11.

But she appears to be hooked on the computerised fitness thing which puts you in a virtual reality gym. And now she has got me on it.

“No problem,” I announced, “I’ve run a marathon, don’t you know,” as if I haven’t bored my family enough with my little known athletic achievement of 2009.

For those who don’t know, Wii Fit starts by measuring your body’s balance and BMI (the stat they quote on TV when they name and shame the nation’s fat schoolkids). It also measures your Wii Fit Age, a computerised athletic assessment of your physical aptitude.

Now I know I’ve probably put half a stone on since my long distance days, but even my jaw dropped (even further than my second chin) when the Wii said I was “borderline overweight/obese”.

“Oh don’t worry about that,” said one of my sympathetic work colleagues, “those systems are set up for the lighter Japanese market.”

I felt a little better, but that soon wore off when I told him my ‘Wii Fit Age’ was 54 – 15 years north of where it should be.

“Oh, that is high,” the colleague responded. You could hear their standpoint suddenly shift into the ‘hey fatso’ camp before you could say “meat pie anyone?”

And this is where the pelvic thrusts came in, well, they did after I got home you understand.

The fitness programme includes such classics as jogging, step aerobics, core muscle stretches, but also virtual Hoola Hooping.

And this is the scene which greeted the neighbours. Me, ‘Greggs Customer of the Year 2010’ wiggling my hips at a TV screen with an imaginary hoola hoop around my midrift. I don’t even want to go near the leg extensions which had me take on the look of a startled Labrador with a water infection.

An old mate of mine does not hesitate in asking me, since our golden drinking days of the mid-90s, “what the hell happened to Jon Rhodes?”

I couldn’t agree more, so I have made it my New Year’s resolution to be seen more in manly places, such as the pub, and maybe hit the streets for a few more runs.

I care about my fitness, but not so much I want to look like a granddad breakdancing at a family wedding.

All right, my Wii age may be 54, I’ll just have to get used to it.

It’s safer for the street cred than the virtual reality alternative.