Staying true to his hipster ways, my colleague Dylan beat me to the, erm… punch. At my old gig, we also used to joke about the Men’s Health fellas’ lunchtime chat’s (hint: the punchlines *dammit!* always involved chatting about bland lunches, protein shakes and workout regimes). Nothing like the fun of boobs, beer, pizza and general debauchery that we were into. And after yesterday’s lunchtime pow-wow, I realised that I’m one of them.
I can actually still feel my old self cringing whenever I tweet about my post-workout aches. Self-loathing comes in waves.
It swells with every poor decision I make; like the slice of pizza on a Sunday night, the speckled eggs and bar of chocolate on my bedside cupboard. The wave breaks just after the warm-up stretches, leaving me drenched in hate and shame.
I’m supposed to be training at the gym three days a week and running on the road for the other three (hey, even God rested on the seventh). But Thursday seems to be my cheat day. But this is because I have another life outside of MH, I’m a father and husband.
Let me paint a picture for you: when I leave work on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday, I get to spend a grand total of 15 minutes with my daughter before I need to get my lard to the dojo. And those 15 minutes coincide with bathtime. When I get home, she’s either sleeping or we have to drive her around the block to help her fall asleep.
Now besides for that, she’s also teething. So that deep sleep Jason was referring to gets broken at about 3 in the morning. A guy in my class was complaining about his energy drain… I told the class about my daughter and her current stage of development… My trainer was surprised I even make it to class.
But all of this are simply reasons why I shouldn’t be doing this challenge. But then I think about the benefits of my hard work (when I am putting it in) and I remind myself that there are other guys exactly like me who also have full schedules. I signed up because I reached the maximum capacity of all the clothing stores I shop at and so that I can give my daughter the best gift I can: the potential for more time with me.
And that’s the thing that keeps the self-loathing at paddling depth: all those poor decisions are made so that I can enjoy life with my family. What it means, though, is that when I pitch up for training, or put on my running shoes, I need to give everything I have – so that I can enjoy the luxury of quality down time.
So as a counter to Dylan’s (whop also happens to be a dad and husband) compelling Get Angry argument, I say that you don’t have to get angry. My philosophy is to be mindful of the barriers keeping you from a balanced life and break them. That’s something I learnt from running and parenting. How far you can run, getting up at 2am to clean an atomic poo; it’s all mental. You never imagine you can do it because you’ve never had to push yourself that far.
This brings me back to my pre-MH self. I used to lead those jokes because I had never imagined a balance between being a fitness-junkie and a debauched loon. But as you get older, you test the waters and push barriers. And now, I bathe in self-loathing when I cheat on my workouts. But it isn’t so bad because when I act like a loon (not a debauched one) it brings a massive smile and a rambunctious laugh from my daughter.
Check this vid of my old self stretching the boundaries of my stomach… I’m using it as motivation for my 5K race I’m running tomorrow – first 50 finishers get a goodiebag, my new self wants a goodiebag.