Sunday, 5 January 2014


I've been pretty down and out for the past week. All the New Years Resolutions have passed me by as I lay in bed, deprived of my normal physicality.
By that, I mean I got some kind of stomach bug, bad enough to stop me from running, walking, cycling, even stopped me from eating. Lynne says she has never known me not eat, so it was pretty nasty stuff.

As it is, I'm kind of thankful that I didn't get mixed up in the usual hyperbole of saying that I'm going to do this, that and the other, I'm going to lose weight (heck, I'd lost another 3kg without even trying, so thats not going to be a resolution... if it is- here is my advice... get a stomach bug, food poisoning or lop off a limb). That's a quick and easy way to lose weight.
Its not a good way, I grant you, but it might be better than self-loathing.
How do I not get legs like this?
How about not training 7 hours a day for 9 months...
Reckon you can cope with that?

Changing tack slightly, but not at all really, because it is a continuation of thinking along the lines of exercise being the best medicine, I noticed that Young Pippa Middleton the almost non-royal has got on a bike today (or yesterday), whenever it was. Which is a great thing, to a point, as it has begun to raise the profile of cycling even more within London. Added to that, I suppose that if you're a lorry driver or a taxi driver, you really are going to check your mirrors more often, as you REALLY don't want to be the person who goes down in infamy for taking out the "Rear of the Year".
(mind you, not that it helped poor Bradley Wiggins a while back, but then he's not as famous... right? right?).

What drew my attention most in the article was Pippa's comment, which appears to sum up the vast amount of female expectation of any sort of exercise, which was reported as something along the lines of:
“how do you avoid developing massive thighs like many of the Tour de France chaps?”
This kind of thing makes me bash my head against a wall with frustration for a couple of reasons.

The first being that among a certain type of person, especially those that exercise would really really benefit, any type of physical activity is immediately met with the stalling block of "I don't want to be all muscley and everything",
and the second is the implied belief that getting to look "all muscley" is actually pretty easy.

My first piece of advice to someone who doesn't want "Massive Thighs" is not to train, or ride a bike for more than, oh, say, 5 hours a day, every day for the entire season of bike racing. I wonder if Ms Middleton will be able hold back her natural enthusiasm for training long hard hours in the saddle?
Ditto people, generally the gentler sex, it has to be said, though I'm not just getting at them here - who don't want to lift a weight in case they suddenly sprout muscles like a Miss Universe.

Basically that is a non-excuse. It's just not going to happen.Why not just say you don't want to do it because you are inherently lazy? The kind of weights people tend to use on a pump class, or a generic jumpy up and down type class weigh less than your average, common or garden child, yet there is no issue with picking up a baby, sitting it lopsidedly on a hip, moving it from side to side or anything like that - but pick up a weight? No No No. Thats far too much like hard work.
"I don't want to look muscley".

Well then. Fine. Continue to look exactly how you look now. Continue to believe that you can diet off the weight you hate, continue to misunderstand the very nature of how metabolism works, but please, just don't moan about it.

And to address the second point, If you truely, truely believe that you'll suddenly get massively "ripped", and reckon that you'll do better by getting "toned", do me a favour...

Spend a little bit of time having a look at just HOW MUCH EFFORT it takes to look like picture on the right. It's not just lifting weight 4 or 5 times a week, its also crazy, crazy dieting, its counting out the number of nuts you can eat for breakfast, and paying attention to what goes in, and how much energy is expended on an hour to hour and day to day basis. Real focus and hard work. This kind of body takes serious amounts of dedication, the kind of dedication that most simply do not have. (I certainly include myself in this category - even if I wanted to do a figure competition, I definitely wouldn't be able to cope with the huge reduction in calorific intake).

The lovely lady who let me use her picture looks like this for a couple of weeks a year, max, and spends the rest of her time looking less muscley, but still a very healthy, sassy lady. She is a normal person, and dedicates herself to looking like this.
Going and doing a couple of workouts in a gym, lifting a couple of weights every now and then WILL NOT enable you look like her. You won't get close, not by a long shot, let me assure you of that. Try it, I dare you.

However, going to a couple of classes a week, swinging a kettlebell, getting healthy, getting a little stronger, losing a bit of weight is a good thing. Yes it takes some work, but not nearly so much as you think. The amount of work that you put in certainly won't end up with you looking anywhere near as fantastic as Ildi in full competition mode, however, you might just feel better about yourself, and you might just start taking some responsibility for your body. Which can only be a good thing.

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