Unbelievably, and trust me when I state how disappointed I am in myself, it’s been almost six weeks since I actually managed to sit down in front of my laptop and whittle some nonsense out. SIX WEEKS. That’s absolutely ridiculous. It certainly hasn’t felt like that long but when I consider what I’ve been doing in that time I’m still a little undecided if it’s justified or not.
I mean, during that time I’ve been to two weddings, experienced a rather underwhelming food festival, enjoyed a nostalgic BBQ, beers and rounders with some work colleagues at the park, acquired and healed horrific toothache, learnt of the passing of one of my mother’s cats (R.I.P. you little ginger git…) and, by the looks of it, endured something of a sabbatical in terms of fitness.
In my defence I have been playing some football in that time and had to withstand a few injury niggles but the ominosity of another summer passing me by without so much as a visit to the beach due to, well… I guess you could define it as “body confidence issues” has seemed to hit me hard right at what I define as the “back-end” of summer.
Clearly that’s not true as realistically we’re looking at around another month of summer but there’s nothing I can do in the next three weeks or so that’s going to make up for the lack of effort I should’ve put in months ago. It’s all well and good blogging about it but, and I’ll be honest here, I’ve certainly not done anywhere near as much as I would’ve liked and should’ve done.
Much of the reasoning behind starting a blog and posting to Instagram is that I was intending on motivating myself to pull my finger out and push myself to get back into the shape that I was once, and then progress to heights that I’ve never reached before; heights that I didn’t even know I could reach. I’ve always believed that I’m exempted from the whole body-conscious generation of youths who are being disillusioned by Instagram models and fitness freaks but the truth of the matter is that I’m just as vulnerable as they are.
The logic that I’ve always maintained is that you are in control of your own destiny – nobody else should be able to take that away from you, within reason. And so by following these people on Instagram you are doing so at your own will but they do not own you. They do not control you. If you want to be like them, start working hard. If you can’t contain your own jealousy, stop following them. It sounds beautifully simple but the reality is far from that.
The reality is that the majority of today’s generation, and I include myself in that at twenty-seven, are not mentally strong enough to be capable of that wonderfully 40s mind-set of “just getting on with it.” Something happened along the way and unfortunately it’s that little thing called Life.
To an extent.
It’s important not to blame Life entirely. Life didn’t cause you to skip the gym every day this week. Life didn’t cause you to eat those cakes. Life didn’t force you to get drunk at the weekend. No, that’s actually the fault of Society but Life will always take part of the blame because it’s primarily down to you. You, not making sacrifices. You, not being committed. You, caving to the rigmarole of social acceptance.
Admit it; we’re too scared of not fitting in. We’re scared of missing out on something in an age where everything is readily available except for our time on this earth. We’re scared of feeling a little pain once in a while. Simply put, we’re too comfortable and it’s time for change.
I reached a point today where I became fed up of this persistent mediocrity in my life. I’m twenty-seven years old and, all in all, I don’t feel like I’ve got an awful lot to show for it. I’ve meandered through life without challenging myself – giving up at the first signs of pressure and quite frankly, that’s not good enough. If my school teachers saw me now, they’d be giving me no more than a C- and writing a letter home to my parents expressing serious concerns over my performance.
I’ve become far too materialistic and reclusive, content with living within my own introverted company and telling the world where to go whenever it gets close enough to question me.
On a side note, I’ve made serious considerations into selling or giving away most of my possessions, including my 55” TV in my room (just, why?) and my king size Ottoman bed that I’ve had since 2013. There are just so many things in my life that I’m perennially afraid to dispose of and yet I can’t for the life of me fathom quite why. I have an abundance of football kits, hoodies that I haven’t worn for years, unnecessary amounts of cables and plugs, stationery that will never be used, etc.
It’s all getting a bit ridiculous. So this weekend begins the cull. The official “no going back”, “stop making excuses”, “you don’t have a choice in the matter” transition. No more smoking, no more skipping the gym, no more half-arsed efforts. Do it, and do it properly.
But, you know, in true fashion in-keeping with my lifelong personage, I had to be a bit sensible today as I’m currently nursing an ankle injury. Classic me.
But I still pushed hard. I cleared enough space to work out in my room using the floor and the bed, so let’s run through today’s exercises, annotations included.
Step 1: Back stretches
These are a pretty self-explanatory. The reason I did these was because I woke up on Friday morning, did a couple of stretches, and pulled a muscle in the top of my back.
I have absolutely no doubt that if I had at all bothered to even slightly look after myself that I wouldn’t do anything anywhere near as embarrassing as that. It’s absolutely ridiculous and I’m completely ashamed of myself.
So, I just wanted to stretch it out a little bit as I was still a bit sore from that. Just the one set of these though, I didn’t really need any more than that.
Step 2: Gladiator
One of my biggest issues is that I hate doing multiple sets of the same thing. I know, I know, that’s meant to be the point of exercising and getting fit and pushing your body beyond the limits but I just get… well… bored. I get extremely bored after a set. The biggest reason behind this is that I have no qualms with the first round as it’s new and different but once I complete the set I’ve already worked out which bits I hated (usually all of it) and then I don’t psychologically gee myself up to do it again. And why would I? It was rubbish the first time round, a second time isn’t going to make it better.
So I chop and change. First up though, the Gladiator workout.
50 Jumping Jacks (aka Star Jumps, AFAIC) – easy enough, although with a sore ankle, these could’ve gone a lot worse.
20 Tricep Dips – easy enough, did them off my bed so good height.
40 Squats – again, simple.
50 Mountain Climbers – am I the only one that hates people who don’t check for typos before posting content? 25 of each here.
20 Modified V-Sits – very painful, you have to be careful not to rush these despite the pain because the technique is so important.
20 Push-ups with Rotation: This is fine on my left wrist but I’ve had a lot of issues with my right wrist (including tenosynovitis) so I had to strap my wrist up with my old support to complete this. Woe is me.
20 Up & Down planks – these seem easy until you get to the end and then the pain hits.
Step 3: Ninja Silent Workout
Truth be told, I actually had no intention of picking this workout but for the name. Then I started contemplating the usefulness of a quiet, potentially late night workout and then accepted it as part of today’s routine. It certainly gave me a different perspective on certain things like muscle groups, ligaments and tendons.
30 Ninja Squats – strangely enjoyable, just make sure your hands are flat to the floor.
20 Chest Expansions: More typos. I wasn’t sure what this exercise did but it felt okay. I naturally found myself on my tip-toes for these first two exercises so maybe they’re secret stretches for calves?!
45sec Wall Sit – hate, hate, hate.
40 Leg Raises – big shout out to martial arts competitors, I could barely do this without feeling like my ligaments and/or tendons were ripping apart. Must get better at this.
20 Turning Kicks – I didn’t do this because, quite frankly, there’s not enough room in my bedroom currently to even attempt them. Move on.
40 Punches – straightforward, 20 on each side, keep the defending hand up by the face.
10 Push-Ups – push-ups on their own are boring so i did these at a 45 degree angle up against my bed to put a different perspective on them.
45sec Elbow Plank – I mean, find me someone who actually enjoys the plank…
15 Plank Arm Lifts – I think I brought this down to 10 each because my arms ached…
I think the pre-workout mix I downed after the back stretches had really kicked in by this point because I decided to click on a link that led to “Bruce Lee Abs”. As events transpired I’m disappointed to inform you that I didn’t not participate in Bruce Lee Abs, but instead divulged in Total Abs which I can only suppose is a suitable substitute.
Step 4: Total Abs
10 Knee Crunches – Pre-workout had definitely kicked in, I did 20 of these. Put my feet up against the wall so I could really focus on the abs burn this time.
12 Leg Raises – Again, doubled up to 24 with a 15second rest inbetween 12s. I’m in overdrive by own standards now.
20 Flutter Kicks – Back to plan, I stuck to 20 flutter kicks – 1 flutter kick is 1 on each side, to clarify.
10 Cross Crunches – I tend to do these slightly differently by crossing my legs over. I’m not sure if that abs difficulty or not but forces me in one direction only so I guess it works.
20 Cycling Crunches – can never decide if I love or hate these but they’re a staple for Abs.
10 Heel Touches – should be easy enough but you definitely feel a decent burn here.
60sec Elbow Plank – I totally wimped out here, I was so bored of doing planks…
That may not seem like a great deal of exercises, and also a rather odd variety, but I feel a little bit of everything going today and it was nice. I finished off with some hamstring and quadricep stretches as well as 50 high knees (each leg), 50 star jumps and 30 bum flicks just to try and get a little extra on the fat burn side of things.
I was also keen not to overdue it as I’m playing golf tomorrow and need to feel as flexible as possible. We’re trying out a new course and I hit the range last night – my swing is feeling a million dollars right now, so to speak. Can’t wait to frighten the guys!
All in all, I felt comfortable today, and today was all about starting again: pre-workout drink, mid-workout sports drink, post-workout protein shake and supplements inclusive. I will endeavour to sit down again and begin work on a meal guide too. I don’t want something overly complex (I have to be realistic with working in an office) but I know that a healthy body is part-gym and bigger part-kitchen.
But, until then, it’s all baby steps. I just need to stop letting life get in the way. Again.
NB: All images taken from Pinterest. No copyright infringement intended.