I’m not what you would call an ideal candidate to appear on a TV show, if there actually is one, called ‘The World’s Greatest Exercise Role Model’. When you think of such a show you would imagine it featuring perfectly toned people with fantastic bodies, clothes, hair and smiles, together with a collection of ‘before’ photos.
I have plenty of ‘before’ photos. I think some of my recent photos are now ‘before’ photos too. In fact, every photo is a before photo if it makes you want to change something about yourself.
My body is constantly changing. I’m constantly changing for that matter. Every day is a new day, and I think I’d get pretty bored trying to keep myself in the WGERM body state to ensure that I stay on the show. And to be honest, I couldn’t do it. I may have the body of a Greek God, but my hair has a mind all of its own, and it decides on how good it wants me to look.
And some days, I don’t have the body of a Greek God.
Being part of the super-hero community, you’d think that a toned, muscular physique with a rippling six-pack and bulging sinews would be easy to maintain, but believe you me, it is hard work. Convincing the mirror you look fabulous 24/7 is near impossible, and as I’m not of the exercising mind-set, it is very easy to notice the odd stone or two creep on you when you least expect it. And once the extra weight is on, it takes a while to lose it without exercise. Not that I look in the mirror too often nowadays, I am urged to add…
I may not be of the exercising mind-set, but, when needs must, I have to do it. I visualise my body looking better for the exercise I am doing. I imagine my clothes fitting as they should, and not looking as though everything has shrunk in the wash. And I see people in my mind’s eye congratulating me on how great I look once I have lost that couple of pounds (…).
However, me and exercise are like arch-enemies. I try not to ‘do’ arch-enemies, and I try not to do exercise either. So already I’m competing with myself before I even begin. Do I want to stay the same, or do I want to look good?
After this tennis match has gone on for a while, I win and start exercising. I lose the weight. I look good. I get congratulated. My clothes fit perfectly. My hair behaves (it always does when you know you look good). And my muscles do their muscly thing.
It can be done if you put in the work; however this post isn’t about the exercises needed to look good, it is about the downfalls to avoid when exercising. They don’t tell you about these things when you see that ‘must buy’ product on the shopping channels to help you lose pounds in five days, or whatever. Oh no. And I’ve tried a few things over the years.
I don’t know if these items are still available, but they probably are. I call them ‘electrocution pads’ and that really is what they are. Little pads that you strap on to certain parts of your body, and you then run an electrical current through them. This current stimulates the muscles in your stomach, chest, arms, legs or wherever else you use them, so that they contract and relax. It feels as though they are doing something, especially if you have the power on too strong, but be careful using them. I had placed them too close together on my stomach and the contracting muscles caused my skin to pinch, and I was in agony. Also, I think the pads burned me because the power was too high. And I fell asleep wearing them. Needless to say I could hardly move the next day. Luckily they come with an automatic switch off after an hour or so, otherwise I don’t know how I’d have looked the next day. Use them if you must, but be warned… I don’t think I lost weight using these. The only pounds I lost were of the spending kind.
I bought myself one of those high-tension bending bars to build up my arms, shoulders and chest, because I thought that if they looked bigger, my stomach and waist would look smaller. No, that isn’t true. I thought that I would look like the man in the shorts in the photos on the poorly translated A4 exercise manual that came with the bendy bar. I followed the instructions to the letter. I was determined that by bending this bar, my waist size would be reduced by half of it’s size by the following week (Well, I’m a dreamer!). I finished work at 2.30 in the morning, dashed home, and started a-bending. Everyone else in the house were asleep, so I had to keep all of my breathing and grunting to an absolute minimum. I also had to stifle my scream as the bar slipped out of my left hand, whacked me under the chin as it careered across the room and smashed into my wardrobe. In my numbed state, I fell backwards, and knocked my TV set off it’s stand – but luckily, I managed to catch it before it fell – just as the bendy bar came back at me like a boomerang and clobbered me in the leg. Nobody heard a thing. I never used the bendy bar again afterwards. Well, never without wearing a pair of woollen gloves… nobody was ever going to see me doing that particular exercise.
I went to a gym a few times. I couldn’t use the equipment properly as I didn’t know exactly what I was doing, but tried my best. I went to this gym with my cousin, so we could encourage each other along. Usually we just laughed at each other. You pull some funny faces when weight training! One day, I was using a device for strengthening the legs. I knew the position I had to get into for this exercise. I lay on my back, and brought my feet up onto a bar above me. I had to hold the weight with my feet, and then push the weight upwards again, and repeat for three lots of twenty pushes. I couldn’t do one push. The weight was too heavy, which resulted in my knees resting on either side of my head. Luckily, the weight machine was supported, so it wouldn’t have come completely down on me, but I was still stuck. Eventually I was helped out of the machine. I used it without weights after that. Well, once more anyway…
I joined a boxing gym as well when I was younger. I was too old to actually start boxing, but the exercise is good to help with losing weight. Only I was a bit overweight for the circuit training that was involved. And being in a hot, steamy gym with a whole host of boxers all running around the place, I was soon out of breath. I couldn’t keep up. In order to continue with that exercise, I needed to lose weight before I actually began! Still, I persevered, and felt some benefits.
The best exercise I find that helps me to lose weight is swimming. I love swimming, I love water. The weight literally drops off me as I really push myself when I go. I think that if you really enjoy doing something it isn’t a chore, and you can do it all the more.
It’s a pity that I don’t find losing weight as enjoyable during the process. The end result is fantastic. The compliments are a great boost to the ego. And the money you have to spend on thin clothes isn’t going to be mentioned. Not in this post anyway. But feeling good after it all is well worth it.
However, I’d really like to try to avoid the bruises and things… should I ever do it again, that is…