Thursday, 29 November 2012

Exercise, Train, Workout

Every January the swimming pools and gyms across the country fill up with people I've never seen before. For six weeks they take up equipment and class slots that the serious trainers need. Then between the middle of February and the first week of March, they vanish, leaving behind available equipment and classes.

Amateurs. Slackers. Pansies. No discipline, no application, no drive, no motivation, incapable of keeping even the simplest promise to themselves. No self-discipline. And it gets worse. How many of them stop because they can't tell their manager they aren't going to work late or over lunch? Or because the partner is complaining that it cuts into their time together (aka makes her feel insecure because he's actually looking better)? Or because they aren't seeing any results and don't want to accept it's because they aren't working hard enough? Or because they prefer "networking" (aka having a drink after work)?

Sheer moral failure. Well, actually, not quite.

What no-one will admit is that keeping up an exercise regime isn't about "remaining motivated": it's about all sorts of darker traits. Like mild OCD, vanity, lack of self-confidence, fear of going back to looking like one of the civilians... The Normals show up and in six weeks pick up on some of these odd negative motivations. It makes them feel uncomfortable, without ever knowing why, and they stop going.

This, however, is not you. You know that dark motives lie behind all human accomplishment. You understand that sacrifices must be made in the name of self-improvement. You understand that you feel better after exercising, your head feels clearer and there's a tautness to your muscles you're starting to like. There's something about submitting yourself to the discipline of a routine that you know is good for the soul. You know that training is not a party trick but part of a life. Maybe your partner is getting a little upset by your improving physique, but you see that as her problem. She can either quit whining, get with the program herself, or move out.

You don't need a gruelling one-hour workout, and you don't need to heft the huge weights those guys on the bench next to you are doing. For one thing, you simply might not have that kind of body. You do need to push yourself just a little more each week until you get to the point where even on a bad day you can do eighty per cent of what you do on a regular day.

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