Monday 27th May 2024

Anger management: how flipping tyres will help you chill

The new year is meant to signal the start of a “new you” but when Bacardi’s still crashing through your veins, and you’re sweating pure stollen, you feel less like trying Tai Chi and more like punching people in the back of the head as your waistband crushes your inner organs. 

So it’s perhaps perfect timing for the launch of Gymbox’s Anger Management class. They promise that flipping tractor tyres and hitting inanimate objects with a baseball bat will not only burn fat, but also release anger.

YASS! I’ll be able to do my jeans up and stop muttering “fuckwit” at anyone who stands on the wrong side of the escalator! This has got to stop because really, I’m getting louder, and it’s only a matter of time before I’m captured incoherently ranting, in a video that goes viral after being posted on You Tube.

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Gymbox’s dimly lit, basement level training area is littered with baseball bats and mallets. It’s like I’ve walked onto the set of Fight Club…With Weapons.

Of course, it takes me until late February to drag myself to a class. But it might not have taken so long if I’d already honed my anger management skills, as apparently these can increase productivity. So this class could make me fitter, better humoured, and more successful. I am here for it.

So I make my way to Gymbox’s dimly lit, basement level training area which is littered with baseball bats and mallets. It’s like I’ve walked onto the set of Fight Club: With Weapons, but fortunately, we will not be assaulting each other – instead we will be battering some tyres that look like they’ve been ripped off a monster truck.

We begin with chest-to-floor burpees, yep, this is the warm-up. We do quite a lot and I start to wish someone would knock me out, so I wouldn’t have to do any more. Then we pair up and make our way around the stations, “NONE OF WHICH IS A REST STATION!!!” like in a circuit class.

At this point, I aim to fully embrace each aggressive activity. When I slam the ball on the ground, I am Serena Williams destroying my tennis racket at the US Open. When I hit a hanging a tyre with a baseball bat, I am Elin Nordegren smashing the rear windows of Tiger Woods’ Cadillac with a golf club.

Money for old rope. You literally pay money to fiddle with some old rope. Photo: Gary Harrison

When I thrash a trucker’s tyre with a mallet, I am Britney Spears attacking a photographer’s Ford with an umbrella.

When I give the battle ropes a hammering, I am Solange battering Jay Z in the hotel lift. When I heave the tyre off the floor and propel it towards my partner, I am Gemma Collins in Celeb Big Brother, shouting: “Fuck off Gillian McKeith! GO AWAY!” And when I throw the ball at the wall, I’m, um, Justin Bieber, throwing eggs at my neighbour’s house.

“THERE ARE NO REST STATIONS!” roars the instructor repeatedly, but she is quite wrong about this, as I’ve earmarked the bike as a nice little sit down, and the treadmill type contraption is a definite doss too. Clearly these are fillers and a chance to recuperate!

The ball weighs as much as three crushed cars welded together, and there’s no way I’m shifting it over my shoulder.

Unfortunately, the instructor seems to have eyes in the back of her head, and insists on helping me, in a manner that makes everything harder. “YOU’VE GOT TO THROW THE BALL OVER YOUR SHOULDER!!” she bawls, when she sees me letting it drop from waist height.

The ball weighs as much as three crushed cars welded together, and there’s no way I’m shifting it over my shoulder. Not even when I imagine I’m Naomi Campbell in a phone-flinging frenzy, with my PA standing behind me.

“THE HARDER YOU WORK THE HARDER YOUR PARTNER WORKS!!” the instructor bellows, as the two of us weakly wave the battle ropes on our third time round the circuit.

At this point, I am no longer Solange in the lift – I’m more Mary Berry, gently adjusting a floral scarf. Presumably these words were meant to motivate us but I’m just jolly pleased I teamed up with someone who’s as floored by this as I am.

This time round, the tyre’s going nowhere. I’m now less like Gemma Collins telling Gillian McKeith to fuck off, and more like Gillian McKeith fainting (or “fainting”) on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.

The 45 minute class has wiped me out, and on my way home I wouldn’t have the energy to mutter “fuckwit” at anyone if I wanted to.

However, fortified by a nourishing lunch, I do have a productive afternoon, so I think I may continue with this anger management malarkey. I have a baseball bat, I just need some tyres… So if you see a desecrated car propped up on bricks and a broken paving slab, ssshhh! It wasn’t me!

With thanks to Shock Absorber and Decathlon for kitting me out.



Samantha Rea

Samantha Rea is a freelance journalist living in London. She studied at the London School of Economics but has since annihilated a fair few brain cells by watching too many episodes of Love Island. She likes doing yoga videos on You Tube and eating ice-cream in bed. If there is an after life, she would like to come back as Jill in Nighty Night.

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