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You be the judge: should my bodybuilder housemate stop hogging the kitchen? | Life and style

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The prosecution: Rick

Tolu’s diet takes over the whole kitchen – and it’s having a negative effect on my own

Tolu, my housemate and friend, takes his fitness very seriously. Some might say he’s a bit obsessed. He goes to the gym six or seven days a week and is extremely vigilant about his diet.

This is fine as long as it doesn’t affect the people around him, but in our flat it sometimes does. Tolu orders his food from bodybuilder sites – huge boxes of bland protein wraps, bags of flavourless carb-free noodles and loads of other things I don’t understand. These are all stored in our kitchen or, if space runs out, the living room. There are about seven bags of whey protein stashed beside the fridge.

Cooking is really difficult because I can’t find my stuff. Previously, each housemate had an allocated space for our food, but now Tolu has taken most of it up. You have to move all the bodybuilder items around to get to your own section of the cupboard or fridge.

Tolu also cooks a lot. At weekends he’ll batch-cook meals for the week. This can take hours and involves an elaborate process of boiling chickens, peeling and roasting loads of vegetables and placing everything in 15 plastic containers, which then take up half the fridge. It’s all very dull, but each to their own I guess.

If we want to cook at the weekend we have to wait for him to finish. The kitchen is small, so we can’t share it, and he’ll be in there for hours. One time Tolu and I had a row because I wanted to cook my dinner and he said “sorry the oven is full for the next few hours. I’m slow-roasting a chicken.”

I thought it was a bit selfish. He realised the error of his ways and made room for me that night, thankfully, but it was a bit annoying. I also had to postpone a dinner party once because Tolu was still cooking. He can be in there for six hours sometimes, and if he starts at 4pm, that’s blocking prime cooking time for the rest of us.

I’ve ended up eating more takeaways at the weekend than I’d like, because I can’t be bothered to wait for Tolu. He’s a sound housemate but he could give us a bit of warning when he plans to take up the kitchen for hours – or move on from his batch-cooked life.

The defence: Tolu

I use the kitchen once a week to batch-cook – Rick could learn a thing or two about healthy eating

My housemates Rick and Jack know I’m pretty big into my fitness. I always have been. I go to the gym almost every day and I used to compete in bodybuilding competitions, which meant I had to go through a rigorous cycle of bulking (gaining muscle) and cutting (losing fat).

My diet would change all the time, and to stay organised and focused, I just learned to cook in bulk and prep for the week. I don’t compete in competitions any more, but I still enjoy maintaining my physique.

I buy most of my food in bulk from bodybuilding sites because they include extra protein and nutrients. Rick complains that the boxes of food take up a lot of space but I don’t think it’s too bad. I stack boxes on top of each other, and if there’s space on the shelves or in the fridge then of course I’ll put stuff there too. Rick and Jack never seem to cook in bulk or watch what they eat. There’s always free space in their allocated storage places. Why shouldn’t I use it? It goes to waste otherwise.

The lads laugh at me for spending six hours cooking my food on a Sunday, but it keeps me focused and disciplined. You don’t make bad food choices in the week if you have a box of nutritionally balanced food ready to eat. Removing the temptation to buy a processed lunch when I’m out is good for me.

The boys should try it. Rick especially eats a lot of takeaways. He blames it on me and says it is because he can’t get in the kitchen, but no one forces him to place the order. The boys also know that I always cook at a certain time on a Sunday, so I don’t think they can complain too much – it’s only once a week and the rest of the time the kitchen is free. I always clean up after myself.

Sometimes I can be there for half a day, and Rick and I did have a little tiff one time because I was taking up the whole oven to cook a chicken, but I made room for him and it was fine. The guys should take a leaf out of my book and get organised and disciplined with their eating habits, because I’m not going to tone down mine.

The jury of Guardian readers

Should Tolu change his cooking habits?

Perhaps Tolu would better suited to living alone. Consideration for Rick and Jack’s needs and compromising on space and time seem to have been discarded before ever being ventured.
Laurel, 26

It’s unfair to take over a shared kitchen for such a long time. Compromise is crucial: a simple solution would be for Tolu to cook smaller batches a few times a week, allowing his housemates fairer use of the space.
Jake, 33

While both housemates could be less judgemental of each other’s food choices, Tolu needs to understand that his choices are inconsiderate and affect others. And if he thinks the boxes in communal rooms aren’t “too bad”, why not store them in his bedroom?
Jade, 33

Tolu needs to show more consideration for his mates. Why not commandeer the kitchen outside of normal meal-prep times? How would he feel if others filled the empty fridge on a Saturday? Rick seems willing to compromise, Tolu not.
John, 68

It’s completely selfish to take up that much room and hog the kitchen for that long. It’s unreasonable to say it’s OK just because his housemates know he does it. Tolu needs to store his excess food in his own bedroom. He could buy a slow cooker, and use that in his room, too. And be less judgy!
Elaine, 56

You be the judge

So now you can be the judge. In our online poll below, tell us: should Tolu get out of the kitchen?

The poll will close Thursday 20 October at 9am BST

Last week’s result

We asked whether Akash should listen to his girlfriend Priya and tone down his eccentric dress sense.

18% of you said yes – Akash is guilty

82% of you said no – Akash is innocent


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