Welcome to the Jungle

Yesterday was my first organised session of Personal Training for some time. Needless to say it was hugely productive and very enjoyable and did the task it was set up to achieve. I now have a definitive focus and a goal beyond simply walking. What I’m beginning to realise is that a lot of people simply don’t get the equation which involves you wanting to be fitter/stronger to begin with. In fact, the issue with achievement and progress isn’t just restricted to the virtual world. I only have to look at the new ‘gym’ installation that my Health Club’s splashed out on the realise just how ridiculous fitness is becoming in its attempts to become attractive to people as a means to be healthier.

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This is the new ‘system’ that now forms the centrepiece of my Gym: it’s effectively a Grown Up’s version of an Adventure Playground, right down to the markings on the ground to tell you how to do your times tables where to stand when doing an exercise. What staggers me is that all this is required to begin with: the only way to make things more attractive to grown ups is to make them ‘fun’ and ‘quirky’ as if that will actually help the long term process of improvement. It’s the same argument that dictates that the only way you stop people getting addicted to sugar is to restrict it in their diets. That’s not true either, as addiction is never the same between two people and the only effective way to treat any addiction effectively is to stop it yourself. Willpower and individual strength are what this comes down to, from smoking to alcohol to video games to gambling and all points in between. Obesity, one could argue,can be the result of an addiction in many cases (but clearly not all, so don’t start.)

However, in my sphere at least, holding these kinds of opinions can be dangerous.

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Mostly, if I’m honest, I’d like more people to not just accept life as it is presented and attempt from time to time to challenge their existence. For me that means being healthier, working hard, using my brain even on days when that hurts and generally pushing the envelope that ‘they’ (you know, normal people) accept as ‘conventional.’ Of course for many that means inertia, laziness and general procrastination, and it is incredibly hard find a way to interpret this in a manner other than someone really not grasping the fundamentals of life: it’s for living, you only get one chance and if you don’t act now? Tomorrow may never come. That whole ‘live each day as if it were your last’ thing has a lot going for it, because if you can’t grasp the significance of only being here for a limited time? Well, how do you expect to get everything done if you’re not prepared to stand up and change things?

I understand that many people don’t have as much choice as I do. I grasp that for many there are real, unassailable barriers to progression and improvement. Heaven forbid that I suggest someone could think beyond themselves and then it become apparent they themselves don’t want to even consider the possibility. Every time I see this happen, and it does far more often than I like to remember, a small part of me wonders what it is people actually live their lives for to begin with, because at some point ultimately, everybody has a reckoning. Your life can be one thing, or another. Often there is no choice, and that that’s why when you DO get to have a say in where things go? Grab on and don’t let go. That’s why I’m here getting healthy and staying there. Nobody says it is easy, but the consequences if you don’t are really too terrible to speak of.

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Most of all? Happy is what matters to me. This is happier than I’ve been for many, MANY years. I can’t understand why more people won’t try this approach, and I still fundamentally don’t grasp in a lot of cases what’s holding others back, except themselves. That’s the key. YOU. If you want something to happen? You’d be surprised what can be done if you want it enough. I see the success stories every day, and these people are exactly the same as I am. They’re the same basic flesh and blood. The only difference, when you get down to it, is how they use their brains for good and not for evil.

Your brain is the most important thing you’ll ever own. Don’t squander it.