The Home Exercise Dilemma

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.

400 abdominal trainer 1

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.


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