That’s right. I’m sorry. But not sorry in one of those ‘Please forgive me’ voices. I mean ‘Well SO-REEE!’ in one of those annoying angsty teenage voices, that is filled with sarcasm and really not apologetic at all. Yep. I’m SO-REE.
It’s becoming more and more apparent to me just how much of a touchy subject fitness, body shapes, eating well and all that jazz really is. Take THAT protein ad earlier this year for example. Apparently I missed the memo that I was meant to be offended if I didn’t look like Renee Somerfield, the model featured in the ad. For the record, I look NOTHING like Renee Somerfield. She’s all legs and arms and a cute, tiny butt. I’m 5ft 2. There’s nothing ‘legs and arms’ about me. And my butt is neither cute, nor tiny. I only need to lick the icing off a donut and I look like I’ve gained 10 pounds – short people definitely draw the ‘short’ straw when it comes to weight gain showing up at lightning speed. I thought the Protein World ad was just selling a protein powder, the poster looked no different to me than any other glossy women’s mag, featuring a lean model on the front cover, with a headline claiming I can lose 10 pounds in a week if I follow the diet on page 27.
Does this make me a bad person? That I wasn’t offended, I mean? Well I’m here to say SO-REE that I like to be healthy and I didn’t find that ad offensive, not even one little bit.
Yes readers, I am one of THOSE ‘irritating’ fitness people. And boy do I feel the irritation from people sometimes. I am that person that has a giant bag of protein powder sitting in my kitchen cupboard, I’m also that person that actually gets super excited going to Wholefoods just so I can look at the aisle teeming with chia, lucuma and maca – yes those are real life edible things and not names of employees that work at Wholefoods. I am guilty of exercise preaching, and sometimes I can go on and on about fitness related topics like the pro’s and con’s of HIIT (high intensity interval training, duh) versus slower, long distance runs. It’s seriously interesting stuff I swear!
I haven’t always been like this. Gosh no! Just do a little search on some previous blogs I’ve written on fitness, and you will see for yourself that in my twenties and even into my early thirties, there was more of me to love! I always went to the gym during those years, but the Indian take-out I occasionally awarded myself with afterwards, probably had something to do with the lack of thigh slimming progress, I think?
And I don’t know how it happened, but as time ticked by further into my thirties, I just slowly evolved into a fitness goer. Gone were the days of those 7 day wonder diets and post work-out Indian’s. I was getting serious about this stuff. I would stay up way past my bedtime, laying under the duvet, with all but the light of my iPhone, whilst watching the correct technique for Bulgarian Split Squats on YouTube. I’d make ‘healthy treats’ that were devoid of anything that resembled gluten, dairy, sugar or fun.
And people started to look at me like I was mad. Obsessive, I think they’d call it. I was getting excited about my progress, and everyone else was putting me in the ‘weird’ category for, dare I say it, regularly attending the gym.
I have a hero at the gym. She is 77 years old. My hero goes to the gym nearly every single day. She even wears work-out gloves for when she lifts weights. I want to be just like her when I’m 77 years old, because I admire this woman so much for her determination and motivation to walk to the gym everyday and be the best 77 year old she can be. A few weeks ago, she was doing some freaky upside down looking combo of an exercise on a swissball. I looked at the mother of a certain famous boy wizard actor, also a gym regular, and exclaimed wide eyed ‘She is A-MAZ-ING!’. Boy wizards mum replied ‘She is, and it makes you realise, that we’ll be doing this for the rest of our lives too’.
And that is the harsh reality. There’s no getting out of this one. If you want to be healthy, if you want to keep injuries and illnesses at bay, and stay limber, then it really, really sucks but you just have to exercise. I thought throughout my twenties that I could always cheat the system, exercise, have multiple cakes/burgers/pizza throughout the week, and not gain a pound. There is no cheating the system. Trust me. I tried and failed numerous times. If I don’t want my thighs to rub together I have to accept that this is my fate. Exercise, and eating well.
It’s a mammoth task keeping up with it all, and if there was a magic pill that tightened my butt and toned my arms, then I would take that pill, and instead wallow on the sofa probably playing Candy Crush or something else totally time wasting (yet easier than exercise). But there’s no magic pill. So I need to drag my sorry arse to the gym each morning. Because if I don’t, well then I just don’t feel that great, mentally or physically.
I am honestly no different to anyone else, I do not hit my snooze alarm each morning, punch the air and declare ‘TODAY IS A GOOD DAY! TIME FOR THE GYM!’ Hell No! I hit my alarm, I swear out loud (not even kidding), and I throw the duvet covers off and get out of bed. As I pull on my gym gear I think of every possible reason why I should not go to the gym, or why I should only run for 30 minutes instead of 45.
I get to the gym, and I’m still coming up with excuses. They don’t even stop 20 minutes into my run. They go something like this ‘I’m just too tired today, I should probably stop’. ‘It’s okay to stop, you can do a longer run later in the week’. ‘I hate this’. And so on. About 35 minutes into the run, when I can see the invisible finish line is just 10 minutes away, is around the time my attitude changes, and my internal monologue starts saying ‘Wow that wasn’t too bad, tomorrow I might run for an hour!’, ‘I should probably sign up to some sort of race’, ‘I’m never going to moan again about running, this wasn’t bad at all’ or the major motivator ‘You have two working legs girl, so be thankful and run!’. I leave the gym, I have a spring in my step, and I’m ready to start my day.
The inevitable is starting to happen at my gym right now. It’s mid-June, people are panicking because summer is around the corner. (Hello? Sunshine? It’s England. We need you). There are people squatting, crunching, curling and running in blind panic trying to tone and tighten whatever they can before they jet off to some European beach and have to pull on a bathing suit. I used to do this. Every damn year. The panic, the starvation, the crazy diets. They’d work too, and then I’d come back from my vacation, and there was no way I had the willpower to continue on with whichever mad diet I’d been punishing myself with! And then what happened? Ohhh hello jeans that were feeling okay two weeks ago, you’re suddenly feeling like you want to hug my legs just a little too tight! Back came the weight, gone went the motivation.
These days I take a much more simple approach. I have no unrealistic goals to whip my body into something that resembles a hybrid of Beyonce and Britney, before I jet off to a European beach. Do you know what I do instead? I just go to the gym every damn day, except Sunday where I do wallow on the sofa with Candy Crush and shove burgers down my throat, because, well, that’s my day off! But all those other days, yep even those ones in the middle of winter when I can’t feel my hands or feet by the time I’ve walked through those gym doors, I’m dragging my moaning, excuse-making, sorry behind up the road to work out. This way I don’t have to put in that horrendous extra effort before summer, I just do my regular work out and leave. So.Much.Easier.
And the other reason I keep going? Have you ever gone to the gym on a regular basis, stopped for awhile, only to return back weeks later and find yourself wondering if you’ll actually make it through your workout without requiring resuscitation? Eurgh, it’s the worst. I’d rather just keep going, no breaks, it just seems like the easier option.
So does this confession of being a gym regular really make me weird, a show off, egotistical? Sure, I may be THAT girl who’s eye’s light up when a friend says they’re signing up to their local fitness centre. But it’s because I’m excited for them. I want them to realise that it’s actually easier to moan your way through 45 minutes of working out than to not work out at all and then really moan when your clothes are threatening to strangle you.
So I’m saying SO-REE that I’m that weirdo that likes to squat, lunge and do burpee’s with tuck jumps. Yes, WITH tuck jumps. I’m also a sucker for punishment, perhaps. And yes, for the record, I do stand in front of the mirror and flex. I do not put myself through these punishing regimes, just to throw my clothes on and never see progress. Are you kidding me? I’m going to check out my guns and my ab’s every damn day, and then I’ll usually turn around, grab my thigh fat, roll my eyes, throw my clothes on and move on with my life. I’m too lazy to panic about the thigh fat. I’ll just keep going to the gym. Consistency may just eventually pay off.
One last thing, I recently saw someone I know on Facebook share a link about the pressure on women regarding weight, alongside the shared post was their status: “Eat ice cream with my kids. Have dinner with my husband. Spend time with my friends” This is way more important than any diet or spending time working out at the gym!’ And you know what I thought about this? I thought it was ludicrous! I eat ice cream, I eat dinner with my boyfriend, and I spend time with my friends. But I see nothing wrong with a wife or mother taking an hour out of her day to do something for herself. If I ever end up having children, I suggest someone calls the Child Helpline immediately, because I will be guilty as charged, if looking after myself and choosing to be heatlhy qualifies as being a less than average mother or wife. You may want to report my 77 year old hero too, the neglectful wife, mother, grandmother that she is! Her and I, guilty as sin.