Tuesday, 13 June 2017

12. The Guinness World Records

Do you know what’s happening on 5th July in London’s Hyde Park?

I do.

Thousands of people are gathering in an attempt to beat the Guinness World Record for the largest high-intensity interval training class (otherwise known as a HIIT class). Hoorah!

The current record stands at 2,387 people and the aim is to reach 5,000. The class, led by “The Body Coach”, Joe Wicks, must combine “alternating high-level intense exercise with lower-level recovery exercises, and each participant will have to exercise continuously for an entire 30 minutes”.

Now, I don’t seek to comment in a derogatory way about any individual because, as everyone will tell you, I am a kind and warm-hearted person. Joe Wicks may do as he pleases - may he never eat carbs before exercise again.

My issue here is on behalf of that proud and upstanding institution - the Guinness World Records. Quite frankly, records as dull as this one give the Guinness World Records a bad name and anyone attending this event should think long and hard about their contribution to society. If I worked for the Guinness World Records (and who knows why I don’t, come to think of it), I’d say, “Buck up your ideas chaps”.

I used to love the Guinness books when I was little. Those huge, hardback, shiny covers promised so many weirdos and amusing animal stories. I’ll never forget the man with the most piercings on his face or the man with the longest fingernails, they were a creepy but much-loved part of my childhood. No one can say those guys weren’t dedicated to their art; no can say they didn’t suffer. OK, so I wouldn't want to be trapped in a lift with either of them if I’m brutally honest, but that’s not the point. The greatest stories are always slightly disturbing.

The plus side of all this annoyance is that I have discovered the website of the Guinness World Records and now my life has meaning. You will be relieved to hear that they are still fighting the good fight, even if they do have to resort to boring, fitness-themed events to drum up a bit of publicity. I have just spent a happy hour reading about the longest ever noodle (548.7m), the fastest tortoise (0.28m per second), the longest moustache (4.29m - say whaaaaaat), the most ice-cream scoops balanced on a cone (121!), the most cosmetic procedures (47 - held by Cindy from the US, obviously) and the largest pizza (1261.65m). Unfortunately the pizza was gluten free, which goes against my beliefs, but it was bloody massive. These are proper records.

P.s. All participants at the HIIT event will receive a “branded water bottle”. Let no one say I don’t pass on all the alluring details.

P.p.s. I spent a far less entertaining few minutes on The Body Coach website - turns out there’s something about before-and-after pictures of people in their underwear that disagrees with me. It might be because none of the photos include the people’s heads; it’s just so many nude torsos in varying states of fat-loss. But then, I’ve never been a huge fan of other people’s flesh, be it skinny or rotund. Also, some of them look quite good in the “before” photos to me, but what do I know.

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