John Leonard an audience of one.

About Projects Now Archive

Fitness

I have never been terribly fit. I managed to build a garden office and cycle from London to Brighton without being what I would consider to be particularly fit. In a few days time I’m about to join a gym, which will restore my inner sense of fitness - I’ll be able to justify that extra muffin.

I’m a man in his forties and so I’ve learnt that inexplicable truth of health - as we get older, we expend more energy lifting weights. Sadly, the weights we lift are the tyres that gather around stomachs; attempting to move excess weight from middle to upper body. This is a life long exercise as I’ve just discovered - I have been able to achieve the feat of moving the weight from my middle to my arms and shoulders, only to find that within six months of me stopping, the weight slumps back down again.

It’s an odd sensation; I’m the same weight I was when I was at the gym, but my waist is two inches bigger and the slim fit shirts I used to wear down’t fit me so easily any more.

Like many other men my age I have a strange relationship with fitness. At one point I was committed to doing the road race and rehearsed for months to get ready for it, and now I couldn’t cycle that bike more than a mile around the park without getting out of breath. I used to be addicted to going to the gym and now I haven’t been for more than six months, hence the restarting of the membership this week. I’m one of those blokes who looks in the mirror and more regularly sees a fat stranger looking back at him, so I’ve decided it’s time to do something about it.

I’ve been through this cycle regularly. I will take up a gym membership and think I’m well on the way to the perfect body and well toned abs that any man would like to possess, but after six months a reason to stop arrives and I give up, let my health slide, and start up again elsewhere.

I have several apps on my phone that would give me the exercise that I need to achieve, but I can’t seem to find the time to complete them - despite that fact that I will willingly go all the way to a gym, work hard in there for 45 minutes, and then go into the office. I suppose it’s down to the motivation. If I put on gym gear and get in the car I have made a commitment to go that is not easy to break. If I go downstairs, I have a wealth of things to distract me that will stop me working out. Besides, the tools I use in the gym are far more sophisticated than the ones I could ever have access to at home, so I have a better sense of achievement when I’m flogging myself to death.

So, the gym beckons. Six months to fitness.