The following is a guest article by the inimitable Man in a Bottle, as part of our blog-exchange programme; this is on the topic of his experiences with motivation for physical training. My heartfelt thanks go to the bottle-dweller for this material! Without further ado…
First I’ve got to say (and not because I was paid to say it, I wasn’t) I admire WithoutWriting and his dedication to his craft of martial arts. The man is exemplary in this dedication to honing his body and skills to make sure he is at the peak of physical fitness, and though I will never openly admit it, I am jealous. He’s definitely a go-getter; someone to whom you can give a task and know that he will do it to the best of his ability leaving no stone unturned. He pays attention to the details and it shows in his work and his training. Consequently he has one of those bodies where anything athletic looks good on him.
I on the other hand, I’m a different story. I can start a project and visualise the finished results. It’s perfect, in my mind I can seeing it happening….then reality hits. I didn’t look at the fine print. It’s my flaw that I’m a “forest not the trees” guy. I didn’t know getting fit meant I had to constantly exercise, eat right and change my lifestyle. I know what I want to achieve (a hot beach bod 🙂 ) It’s just, you know, the details of how to get it are a bit sketchy.
I’ve noticed that over a matter of months I can go from wearing small to medium and eventually (gulp) large. WithoutWriting eats likes a living hoover and still stays fit, me I just smell a creamy delight and a trouser button bursts. Literally. I was actually sitting one day enjoying a hard candy and my trouser button popped. I was flabbergasted. Was this the end? Is my future one that is destined to wearing maternity slacks with super stretchy elastic bands? Though I must admit, I hear they are rather comfortable.
When I’m not doing the 9-5, I write a blog about positivity and maintaining a positive outlook on life. However anyone who has made a commitment to be positive in life knows first hand that staying positive is a difficult thing to do when there is so much negativity in the world being thrown at us. Whether it’s the television, newspapers, or a negative colleague it’s important to learn to filter out the “noise” and centre oneself. Finding that inner calm and peace of mind goes a long way towards achieving a positive outlook and healthier mind. Any general practitioner will tell you that part of maintaining good mental health is exercise. I must confess that like many people I do get depressed at times and being out of shape was not doing me any favours. I knew something had to be done and I knew the gym was not the answer. I had been to the gym a couple of times in the past and all I seemed to do was injure myself and get fatter.
I was frustrated and feeling low when I discovered a little known programme call British Military Fitness. It was an exercise class with a difference. It was taught by guys and gals in our armed forces. It’s a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise in green spaces. Basically running around like a madman in the park, while getting mud, grass and the ever present spectre of dog shit on your hands. I was apprehensive to say the least. You see the whole military thing never appealed to me. I have a problem with authority. Actually it would be more truthful to say I have a problem with people who have authority over me. I was and most likely always will be very independent minded and question everything. It’s why- though my sadistic nature likes the idea of discipline in the military- I couldn’t get my mind around blindly following orders. Especially if they were given by someone for whom I had no respect. But I thought I would give it a go, I mean what’s the worst that could happen?
British Military Fitness is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I went to classes religiously and I felt great afterward and overtime I actually began to lose weight. I went from weighing 12 stones to 10.13 stones. I felt light and that I could do anything. I also began to feel a confidence in myself I had not felt before. I went out and brought myself new clothes. Small/slim. WOOHOO!! it was a glorious day. For four months I was trained hard and the results were astonishing. I was praising BMF all across the land. When people would say things like, “I don’t want them shouting at me.” I would say they don’t shout at anyone. People I spoke with sometimes came up with the most ridiculous excuses not to try something new. It was all fear. I knew it. I recognised it within myself. I began to see how fear could stop a person’s reasoning. But I had moved beyond that: I was master of my own destiny and I had conquered my fear. This was a new me. The future is bright. The future is BMF.
And then it happened.
You see that’s the thing about our phobias, follies and fear. They lie dormant and jump out at you in the most unusual places and inconvenient times. And they’re smart. They won’t come at you in a recognisable way. They make you feel as if you are still in control, but you’re not. I was sure I could spot it if I was manipulating myself. So why did I stop going to BMF? I can give you the excuses. First reason: The weather changed. It was summer when I started and it was now getting colder and I really didn’t want to be rolling around in the wet and cold mud. But I think that was the most guilt free of the excuses that were building overtime. Second reason: I thought getting up for a class at 9:00am on a Saturday was taking liberties. And I didn’t want to go for the 10:30 because I felt half my day was gone. Third reason: Then there’s the authority thing. Like I said I have an issue with authority and following the orders of people I don’t have respect for. Most of the trainers are great but there was this one trainer I hated with a passion. He would make comments that were totally off colour and I just had no respect for the man. I couldn’t stand breathing the same air as him. I realise now that these weren’t reasons I was spouting… they were excuses. One is logically based, the other an emotional bias. What may have pushed me over the edge though, was the healthy eating.
I was following this programme of healthy eating by cutting out all the “bad” stuff. You know the stuff I mean, the carbohydrates, the sugary stuff, the candies, pastas, pizzas, and KFC’s. I love “bad” food. Now I know what they mean when they sing “if loving you is bad I don’t wanna be good”. I had not had sugar, salt, pastas/pizzas or any food with taste, in over four months and it was taking its toll. Sure I looked good. Okay, I looked damn good. But everything had to be planned and measured and I had to think about what was a suitable substitute for a food group I didn’t have. Food was no longer spontaneous. Everything had to be thought about and timetabled days in advance. Breakfast, snack break, lunch, snack break, Dinner. It was all laid out seven days a week. I thought the exercise was bad, but this was torture. Eventually it was too much and I cracked. The first taste of a margarita pizza with ham and pineapple toppings was my undoing. Forgive me.
So here I am back to 11.10stones. In today’s world the pressure to look good is just as tough on boys as it is on girls. It’s just that boys aren’t supposed to talk about it. Am I resigned to slowing growing larger because of fear? No. I’m determined to give healthy living a try again. So I recently signed up for a new gym membership and I’ve gone out and brought healthy foods again. It’s going to be tough, but I’m determined to make it work for me. And that’s the point. It’s about never giving up at the first, second or even with the third lapse. If you believe in something and you have a vision, make it a goal. Pursue it ruthlessly. I’ve seen WithoutWriting come in with a scratch or strain, but he never gives up. He goes back again.
So as I look at my rotund stomach in the mirror and sigh, I think: yeah, I’m down but I’m not out. After all why do we fall down… but to learn to rise again?