There are many things that need fixing in my life. For a change, none of them are disastrous. We’ve done the whole ‘eat well’ epiphany this time last year, I get how that works now very well indeed, which is why I’m eating an apple and not a chocolate biscuit right now. Sometimes, choice is the problem. However, it’s not today’s problem.

I have begun to understand that making your own luck is a thing, where luck is defined as making sure you are in the right place, at the right time, and can be seen to be engaging in behaviour that suggests you are interesting. It is not hard at present to know where these things are taking place. The trick now is to capitalise, without making it look needy.

Those who believe that you are somehow destined to be a certain thing are, inevitably, aware of an ability to keep focus and impetus placed in a certain direction. Working hard, every day, at the same thing, will result over time in limited success. If all you care about is the world knowing your name… well, that might need a few more hours.

Then it’s all about how much you want the thing you’re aiming for.

What is becoming increasingly apparent, at least from this chair, is the difference between deciding the Universe is somehow overseeing all of this and that maybe, possibly, you have more influence than first appears the case. Neither fate nor destiny will cure me of the tyranny of choice, that’s for damn sure. If there is ever going to be progress within exercise to a standard I am happy with, then there have to be sacrifices.

The same, undoubtedly, is true with writing. However much ‘luck’ other people may claim there is, it can all be easily negated by bypassing the need to be validated by other people. Rewards are great, don’t get me wrong, but personal satisfaction beats all of that hands down. Yesterday’s 10% increase in fitness, confirmed by my own hard work, is a reward I am insanely proud of.

That wasn’t luck that got me that far. It isn’t destiny that I was supposed to make it here, it was fucking hard work and no compromise. Standing and hoping for a sign that I’m going in the right direction from someone else is great and everything, but if I pin my hopes on that as my only means of gauging progress… well, that’s bollocks, there needs to be a better way.

The question now is what that is and where to find it.

When I work it out, you’ll know.

Come Live With Me

There will be no cycling today but I will walk this muscle fatigue off before doing resistance bands and floor work. Today is upper body and core day as a result of yesterday’s suffer-fest. The heart data from that is a throwback to my 45 minute Blaze classes. Solid effort, nothing skimped. I even managed to keep up with cadence demands for the first time.

I realise now that the point of Blaze was to do this, only across your whole body: cardio, strength with boxing to combine the two. It makes a lot of sense in context to provide people with ‘a bit of everything’ and as a tool to lose weight and improve fitness it undoubtedly works, or I wouldn’t see people I know going back to it so readily.

However, for me as a tool it was, in the end, more social than functional, which is a sentence I never thought would be typed in this context. Once the red minute addiction was dealt with (there was for a while a real need to prove I was pushing via making a colour appear on screen) there was an understanding I didn’t go for the workouts, but to talk to people.

There, I’ve admitted it. I killed myself twice a week to be sociable.

What Lockdown was able to grant me was understanding of that motivation: without anyone else to encourage and support me, there was a choice: learn autonomy with weights and exercises or be unable to break the class dependence. Using the bike training workouts as I have for seven weeks now has been part of the rehab: you still get to work, but nobody congratulates you at the end. The only satisfaction is yours.

Undoubtedly mentally this has been part of the reason why my relationship with writing has changed in the last couple of months too: validation happens both in the saddle and on the page. Getting compliments for both are great, don’t get me wrong, but relying on them to stay motivated is never going to be sustainable long-term, which is why I find myself here, learning new exercises myself to keep motivated.

Your happiness should never be dependent on other people.

It should never be a contest either, and yet here we are, doing just that. I’ve seen the justifiable protests from those with sensible, rational objections to this. The idea that 21 days should be enough to form habits is great, but diets aren’t sustainable if you believe in the end you can just go back to the way life was before. Unless EVERYTHING about your life changes, you never do. Weight loss is one part of an INCREDIBLY complex puzzle.

As someone who’s very happy to have put on weight during lockdown, but who understand why that is and how I could still lose quite a lot of weight as a result, this is not the way. It’s a way, certainly, but without sustaining the concepts, and reconsidering what is considered as unfit and accepting too little and too much weight are also dangerous… nobody said this would be easy, and yet we’re selling it like it is.

After a lifetime of hating it, only now am I beginning to love my body. Claiming to be able to fix everybody in three weeks does not respect ANYONE in the process. Fitness should be a lifetime objective, not a vanity project or a hastily-constructed campaign.

There are better ways, and this is not one of them.