A Change for the Fitter

This is me about a week ago, on the 28th of December, 2015. No flattering angles and lighting, no definition-accentuating manipulation of the image, no flexing (except the last one) Just me. In my pants.

I mean, it’s pretty unremarkable. I’m in decent shape, but it’s not a Bodacious Bod as the kids say these days. (That is what they say, right? Bodacious is stil a thing, right?) Neither is it ugly, repugnant or any other negative word you might use. Well, maybe puny and wimpy? I guess? But then if you were to use those words, you had obviously not seen the same body ten years ago.

As always, I digress.

I post this neither to flaunt nor to shame myself. These images are a statement of fact of my body. This year has, as will come as news to those who only follow my blog, been really bloody difficult for me. My relationship of 13 years with my wife ended, I went through a difficult time with another relationship, I suffered a mental health setback and my acting career, though doing better than before, is still slow to start up. (Some exciting news about that will be shared in due time) And when things are tough, good habits often slide. Fitness did slide. Several times. I’ve had a few good bouts of activity, then fallen off again.

So. I’ve lost a lot of muscle. I still weigh more or less the same (I tend to hover between 73 and 76 kg) but my waist has increased as much as my chest has diminished (2 in/ 5cm). Numbers are just numbers, but the feeling of having let myself down is worse. The emotional strain of knowing that when I eventually get back to the gym I would be much weaker and have less endurance weighed on me to the point where I feared going back. I wanted to, but I dreaded having to pick up lighter weights, set the Crosstrainer to a lower setting, etc.

For the past several months, I’ve been considering getting certified as a Personal Trainer. I know, I know. It sounds crazy. I mean, look at that guy! Listen to him! Especially if you know me from way back when, it seems basically laughable. Regardless of all that, health and fitness are important to me, and I would love to learn more about it and be able to help others make a sustainable change for their own health and wellbeing. I’m not interested in helping people get their “beach body” or “work off that Christmas belly” because that’s all bullshit motivations designed to make you feel worse about yourself. (I’ll go into motivation in a later post) I want to help people make the same changes I started doing ten years ago when I realised I couldn’t keep treating my body the way I was.

And I’m pretty healthy right now! Through conscious change in my diet over the years, I now eat very healthy most of the time, and I genuinely love the healthy food that I eat. However, I don’t build muscle easily and that has made the fitness part of the equation a bit of an uphill struggle. But here I am. In three months, I aim to finally take that certification. And I want to feel ready. Not so important that I LOOK ready, but I want to feel mentally and physically ready for that challenge. So here I start my three-month body “transformation” program.

Enough chatter. What are my goals?

  • Regain and exceed my former strength.
  • Fix my posture (Look at those hunched shoulders!)
  • Balance my boobs (tiny baby boob on the left)
  • Improve my endurance.
  • Long-term: Gain 5 kg of muscle (we’re talking a 2 year + goal)

Notice how I’m not adding “get ripped” or “Get huge” there. I want to get bigger, and when my goals for muscle gain have been achieved, I do want to focus on toning. I might even do that before if a job comes up that requires it, but right now… I will leave aside my insecurities about a squishy midriff and focus on strength and endurance.

I won’t lie. I knew I had lost muscle when I took the photos, but seeing it laid out like that kind of shocked me. I thought I still had more size than that, and now I know that I have a hell of a lot of work in front of me. It’s not the kind of work that I would expect people generally to do. I know that a lot of people would be very happy to be where I am now, or where I was five years or even ten years ago. But this is for me, and these are the goals I have. I could go take a class every few days and be happy, and that would be enough to keep me fit. But I want to take it one step further for myself.

It feels important to state very clearly that I am not doing this for anyone but myself. Sure, my acting career, modelling and personal trainer goals all add extra incentive for me, but my primary motivator is how I want to look and feel. My friends and loved ones obviously like me as I am, and everyone else can go stuff it. And I think this should be true for all of us going into making a change for our health. Do not do it for anyone but yourself, otherwise the whole thing will be nothing but struggle and pain and self-denial. If you are happy where you are, wherever you are on the body/ health spectrum, that’s absolutely where I think you should be.

I will stop rambling now, but I will end on a positive note. I will tell you the things I do like from this end-of-year assessment:

  • I’m pretty happy about that underbutt!
  • My legs are surprisingly well developed still, which I credit daily walks with Balrog uphill towards (and sometimes scaling) Arthur’s Seat. The butt is probably also a product of this, which is proof that even just minor activities like walking are highly beneficial to your health, and you don’t NEED to throw yourself into a gym environment.
  • My shoulders still hold some of their shape from my efforts in early 2015. I made a lot of progress on them then, and I haven’t lost all of it.
  • Generally speaking, I find the man in those photos pretty attractive. I love my body.

And you should love yours.

Look for more posts as these months wear on, hopefully weekly!