My quest for the perfect body continues. Or, if not the perfect body, the body that I possessed five years ago. Five years: it perhaps represents my lack of ambition in this endeavour; I could have said twenty years.
Still restricted by an angst, which I have outlined previously, I have not joined a gym. Instead, I am looking at home exercise alternatives.
The home offers a multitude of opportunities for exercising. In the past, taking the stairs two at a time would have represented all the additional effort I required to maintain a reasonably trim body shape. But times change.
I had always believed that a fast metabolism combined with a certain amount of nervous fidgeting would keep me at my optimum fighting weight, but I had not reckoned with the aggressiveness of middle-aged spread. I thought it was something that happened to other people. I was wrong.
I now realise that the svelte figure of my youth can only be regained by the implementation of a serious calorie-burning regime. But what kind of exercise?
I have toyed with splashing out on some elaborate exercise kit. The abdominal trainer promises Marvin Hagler-style abs from ten minutes of daily use. It had sounded encouraging. I watched videos on YouTube of the apparatus in action: various He-men––several He-women, too––shuttled themselves energetically back and forth on the 21st century equivalent of a medieval torture instrument with varying degrees of fake-smile ease. I tried to imagine myself in their position. It was not easy. Where they shuttled, I feared that I would just cling. Cling until I dropped. With very little calorie-burning involved.
I decided to reduce my ambitions. I down-sized the scale of my potential purchases from a machine to a mat; in the end, decided that I could do without a mat as well. What is the shag pile for, if not squat thrusts?
I now perform a modest daily routine of press-ups and sit-ups. The sit-ups are not proper ones––I keep my legs straight rather than bent, but it is good to have a goal to aim for.
Do I feel fitter?
Honestly? No. If anything, I feel a bit worse. My head aches slightly from lack of oxygen while I am press-upping––I am no doctor; this is my own self-diagnosis––and my back aches slightly from my poor sit-up technique.
So, do I continue? Push through the pain barrier to ultimate fitness? I don’t know.
This is the home exercise dilemma.
© Simon Turner-Tree
Simon Turner-Tree is at a self-improvement crossroads.