Last year, I did something unprecedented. I joined a gym.

I was convinced that gyms were lined with mirrors and stuffed full of Malibu Barbie types. That I would break a leg the second I stepped foot on a treadmill. But my brother, a man so relentless in his quest to eradicate any sort of sloppiness amongst his nearest and dearest that he once poured a full bottle of red wine down the sink (just before our dad was about to pour it down his neck) had other ideas. He bombarded me with texts, calls and menacing looks until breaking my leg on a treadmill seemed like the easy option.

And so, my friend Eva and I joined LA Fitness. My brother hadn't been threatening her btw, she joined of her own free will. Once Iíd vetoed the free weights area for fear that all the testosterone in the air might make me grow a moustache, and we figured out that it was entirely possible to gossip and exercise at the same time, a routine of sorts was established and my fear began to disperse.

However, 8 months later and Iím wondering exactly how much longer I can continue to work out in the presence of the entire cast of Hollyoaks without my self-esteem being irreparably damaged. Since my membership began, I have witnessed the following:

ē a woman wearing a neon pink bra and a string vest

ē a man wearing cut off jeans

ē a woman applying lip gloss whilst on an exercise bike

ē a woman holding a conversation on her mobile throughout her workout

ē a woman sporting the kind of jewellery one normally wears to the Oscars

ē many, many Gavin Henson lookalikes

Ridiculous as most of the clientele undoubtedly are, they are also worryingly attractive and self-assured. And vain! So ruddy bloody vain. The female changing rooms closely resemble an aviary, as women peck and preen and fight for space in front of the mirror. The pressure is unbearable and thatís before youíve even set foot on the treadmill. Which I havenít yet, as Iím worried about breaking a leg in front of Malibu Barbie. There is a definite gap in the market here, somebody needs to set up a gym for people who donít take it, or themselves too seriously. The pale, anaemic types who canít get away with lycra or making sex noises as they lift weights. Please.