02/03/2017 09:35 GMT | Updated 03/03/2018 05:12 GMT

Don't Do This On A Hangover

When I was at school, I did a GCSE in climbing. I'm not really sure why. I'd like to think it was for the love of the sport (is it a sport? Is it ok to ask?) but frankly I'm not a huge fan of heights and I've never looked good in a harness. So I am forced to conclude that I was shamelessly collecting A-grades like they were tokens in a cereal packet. On which note, isn't it a shame that food brands no longer reward our indulgence like they used to?


Photo: Blogger's Own

Fast forward a decade of army training, ski racing and marathon running, and a boy asked me to go climbing with him. Reflecting on my vertical prowess aged 16, I scoffed and took him up on it. Embarrassingly, I think I may even have promised I would "nail him at climbing". My fitness arrogance, it seems, really knows no bounds.

So we met on a Sunday morning. It was early. I was violently hungover, and furiously pretending to the boy that I was not. It seemed to be going well - I surely had this in the bag.

Rather late in the day (or early in the morning, I suppose), it had become clear to me that where we were meeting wasn't a climbing centre, and it didn't have a climbing wall. Instead, what we would be doing was hamster-wheeling on a climb machine which I can best describe as a vertical treadmill. We would be going precisely zero feet up.


Photo: Blogger's Own

My immediate reaction was to leave. There's been some sort of horrible mistake. I'd signed up for colourful hand grips and a fun, SATC-type date (remember the trapeze?) What I got was a room full of super-pumped people and an instructor intermittently shouting 'one two' and 'bounce bounce' to the beat. I mean, really. No hangover deserves that.

But then about half way through I had a bit of a break-through: it wasn't terrible. If I'm honest, any kind of bouncing was always going to suck in my self-induced state, but it could have been worse. And frankly, the 300-or-so calories I'd burnt in under 20 minutes was a bit of a selling point. So I stuck it out.


Photo: Blogger's Own

Apparently climbing is going to be the next big fitness trend. I'm semi-on-board - the lack of impact certainly trumps the treadmill for joint health, and the number of stacked men in my class assures me there is nothing cop-out about it. A word to the wise, though - leave the helmet at home.