Unabashedly honest, surprisingly insightful, and endlessly funny, Behind Gym Doors is a unique peek into the dark, mucky, and downright absurd aspects of the fitness industry.
Just opening my Facebook account, I received offers for two intermittent fasting apps, a program to go keto, and a yoga challenge. And I’m not alone. Living in western society makes it almost impossible to escape endless “fitspo,” gimmicks, and tools that promise to make us look like Beyonce, have the stamina of the Energizer bunny, and the mental clarity of the Dalai Lama. We also know it takes more than an app to achieve that. For us regular folk, getting in shape is usually a long, messy, sweaty endeavor. But it must be different for celebrities, right? I’ve always been sure celebrity training is the most glamorous affair involving athleisure that costs the same as my rent, alkaline water, high-end equipment, and an all-around dazzling experience. I mean, celebrities don’t sweat; they glisten!
Matt Hodges is here to prove us wrong. He has the insider scoop about what it’s like to be a PT for London’s rich and famous. Behind Gym Doors: The Weird and Wonderful World of Fitness as Told by One of London’s Most Exclusive Trainers is a hilarious memoir that takes us through a series of anecdotes of Matt as an elite personal trainer while also reflecting on the life lessons the author has learned and the social issues that plague the fitness industry.
The narrative is incredibly cohesive. It’s divided into eight parts, each with a specific topic, for example, social media’s role in the fitness industry. All the short chapters of that part are related to that subject. This combination makes for the perfect reading flow, and we are able to enjoy a couple of pages here and there without getting lost.
Perhaps what surprised me the most was that Matt’s no meathead. He can talk about ab trainers and quote George Orwell on the next page. He’s also quite levelheaded, and he makes it clear that it takes work to achieve certain physical goals. Another brilliant asset was Matt’s honesty. The guy admits he likes to stir up trouble, that his curiosity can be morbid, and that sometimes his ego gets the better of him. He also doesn’t shy away from admitting when he was in the wrong, making his narrative relatable even for those who have never stepped foot in a gym. He included a “F***” you section along with the acknowledgments. I especially loved the mention of the inventor of burpees. We all do hate them, Matt.
Matt’s humor stands out for its variety: there are a lot of crass, scatological jokes and tons of profanity, a lot of pop culture references that bring the narrative to life, and also clever wordplay and witty remarks. The language used doesn’t just make us laugh; it makes for incredibly quotable phrases. I, for once, think the following line makes for a terrific life motto: “You can only be young once, but you can be infantile forever.” (p. 178).
Behind Gym Doors is not all kicks and giggles. The book is full of insightful remarks on the people the author encounters and on society as a whole. For instance, Matt shows outstanding empathy towards female PTs who must strike a perfect balance between chiseled and feminine. The narrative, at some point, gets incredibly real, and the author addresses darker but crucial topics, such as mental health.
Hodges’ book is a must-read for all who have some form of fitness-related New Year’s resolution. It can help you see through the smoke and mirrors of the industry while providing much-needed laughter for what’s sure to be a messy undertaking, no matter your status. And if fitness is not on your radar, you can always laugh at us instead of laughing with us. Matt will make sure you’ll have a great time, anyway.
- Title: “Behind Gym Doors: The Weird and Wonderful World of Fitness as Told by One of London’s Most Exclusive Trainers”
- Author: Matt Hodges
- Genre: Nonfiction
- Theme: Fitness
- Publication Date: November 14 2022
- ISBN or ASIN: B0BGJRKGZ6
- Number of Pages: 274
- Minimum Audience Age: 18
(Note: 0=none, 1=a few, 2=considerable, 3=pronounced, 4=excessive)
- Sexual themes: 2
- Religious themes: 0
- Violence, self-harm, etc.: 1
- Crude language, expletives, swearing, etc.: 4
- Other adult themes: 2
- Content: 5 stars
- Writing Style: 5 stars
- Appeal to Target Audience: 5 stars
- Uniqueness: 5 stars
- Editing: 4 stars
- Other factors: 5 stars
- Overall: 4.8 out of 5
Featured Book: “Behind Gym Doors” by Matt Hodges
PRESS RELEASE BEHIND GYM DOORS The secret world of the rich and famous, as lived by one of London’s most exclusive personal trainers Based at the heart of London’s sophisticated Fritzrovia, Matt Hodges welcomes some of the world’s best-known celebrities, VIP’s and billionaires into his state-of-the-art and highly exclusive studio which provides a private, chic…
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