It’s been an inevitable truth, stalking me for the past few, maybe five, years.
My childhood metabolism has left me. I’m now sat behind a desk for a living. You can’t make me eat anything sensible or portion-controlled.
I’m on a slow but clear path to getting rather fat. Heck, who am I kidding, I’m already podgy.
So let me give you the vital statistics. I’m approaching 28 years old, and I think the last time I did any sport was when I left high school at 16. And believe me, those five years of PE at high school were hours of expert avoidance.
I can’t do sport. I don’t even think “do” is the correct verb to apply to that sentence, that’s how disconnected from sport that I am. It’s all because of my childhood logic, I suppose. My parents did their bit, buying me footballs, basketballs, rackets, bats, clubs, you name it. Unfortunately, I’d try something once, fail miserably, and give up. Nobody told me that everybody started off crap, and eventually, by the time you hit junior school, you have some basic skills – the ability to catch and/or throw for example.
I can just about throw now. By that I mean I can throw a piece of garbage into a bin from a few feet away. And I can just about catch, but in that awkward, double-handed kind of way which is typically coupled with a look of dread on my face.
I can’t kick a ball. Well, yes I can kick it. But you remember kicking 101 – don’t toe-punt it? That’s pretty much where I’m stuck. I can’t play tennis or any other kind of ball and bat sort of sport. And don’t even get me started on snooker or pool.
I had three bikes during childhood. Unsurprisingly, I sort of enjoyed stabilisers. However, soon after they were yanked off by a proud and belief-filled father, I was defying the basic physics of cycling and usually falling sideways onto the pavement. I never did get as far as taking my proficiency test in the school playground, and when my friends rode bikes around the estate, I would haplessly jog alongside them and basically slow them down.
So yes, as I was saying, high school: disaster.
By this point, I was the stereotypical weird kid who understood and expected to be picked last. During football practice, I’d manage to play a defender, and then either saunter off onto the sideline at the opposite side of play, or even just sit at the side of the pitch when the teacher wandered off. Initially a joke, but eventually an outright fact, I became a rather good goalpost when there weren’t enough jumpers during lunchtime. Looking back, I could cringe. But that’s who I was. Who I am.
Since 16, I had a brief affair with a local gym – we’re talking four months’ worth of jogging on a treadmill, playing with some weights, and then the majority of an hour’s visit sat in a jacuzzi with some equally lethargic friends. And that would be that.
Up until I would guess the age of 25, a rather wondrous metabolic rate has digested my rather poor diet and kept me in 31″ waisted trousers, the same size I was upon starting college.
But, in the last twelve months, I’m buying 32″ trousers, and I’ve got what they call a “muffin top” on the increase. I’ve moved from a semi-active job (read: driving around in a Police car or filling in forms 90% of the time, 5% knocking on doors and 5% trying to chase kids), to a full-time desk job. Which, don’t get me wrong, I worked damn hard to get moved into, and I’m very happy. But, sitting on my derriere for as long as I now do at work, then swiftly exchanging a desk chair, for a car seat, and then my wonderful reclining sofa at home every evening doesn’t fill me with confidence that I’m doing myself any favours. I always said I’d like to die reasonably young and avoid the senile, drooling years, but seriously, I don’t want to end up on some Channel 5 fat documentary either.
A year ago, thinking the thoughts I’m thinking now, I splashed out on a treadmill and a cross trainer. Both of which now proudly occupy 30% of the floorspace of my open plan kitchen-diner, and occupy about 0% of my time. £500 later, and probably about 20 sessions on each, they are now very cool looking clothes lines.
God bless my willpower, eh?
But, things suddenly changed about a week ago from writing this blog entry – unfortunately this isn’t one of those blogs where I start the blog when I start “my journey”, but it’s as near as damn it.
Seemingly randomly, but in truth a consequence of the credit crunch, most of the local gyms – including my previous gym – have suddenly gone bump and shut up shop. To be frank, I don’t know why it hasn’t happened sooner. This is Stoke on Trent, and for pity’s sake, who can really justify £40 a month – per person – to join a gym?
Around the same time, I heard a new gym was opening its doors in September – “Pure Gym”. I read into it, and it turns out that (finally really) it’s one of a number of new “budget gym” chains popping up all over the place. You pay £10 a month and you get a no-frills gym. You do get plenty of gym equipment and a tidy environment, but you don’t get stupid things like a juice bar or a steam room (or for that matter, a tempting jacuzzi like last time). And that’s fine by me.
So, Sarah and I signed up to a no-commitment contract 2 weeks ago, and we sat back waiting for the gym to open…
…but then I got thinking, rather nervously, that I didn’t want to start a gym and look like a complete slob, panting and sweating everywhere, 10 minutes after getting changed into my shorts and trainers.
I have no idea why, but my brain somehow connected the dots, and suggested that I try and start running. And that was that. I was going to run and burst through the doors of that gym like a pro.
[To be continued…]