Having chosen to swallow the red pill...

Monday, August 21, 2006

There are no shortcuts

Here is the first part of my coffee-break size snippets on exercise and I am sorry to start you off with a hard hitting one. There are no shortcuts (full stop)

Oprah Winfrey once said, "The biggest secret in life is that there is no secret - whatever your goal, you can get there if you are willing to do the work."

If you want to get the benefits, you have to be prepared to do the work, there is no way around that. There are no quick fixes and the '5 minutes and you will look like this' promises from commercial TV channels are designed to take your money and be neatly stored within your closet before the month is out.

Just take a moment to think about it, and it is logical. If you want to be a good lawyer for example, it takes time, dedication and hard work; a good gardener, chess player, painter, whatever you choose, you need to do the work in order to make progress and see the benefits. To build muscle, you need to make it work, to break it down, to let it re-build itself, to rest and then to begin over again, and again... The same with stamina, you can't go from sitting on the couch to running a marathon overnight.

To quote Lance Armstrong, the 7 times winner of the gruelling 3656 km long Tour de France, "Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on? I'm on my bike... 6 hours a day. That's what I am on." - and that is what it takes to be a champion and to succeed in your own exercise, whatever your goal... the willingness to simply do the work.


To reduce my ecological footprint this week, I have purchased 4 heavy-weave cotton carrier bags, which have now replaced the 5-7 plastic carrier bags that we normally consume in our weekly shopping trips.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Exercise in 5 easy instalments

Exercise in 5 easy instalments

Exercise is on of the many things in today’s hectic living that has been turned into a culture within itself. We are constantly bombarded by the media with how we should look, and this indoctrination begins from a very young age, with the likes of Barbie and Bratz and on the guy’s side Superman, He-Man and Batman. Millions and millions of pounds are spent each year in pursuit of this ideal, gym membership, personal trainers and nutritional supplements. Factor in training clothes, dieting and exercise equipment and you have a pretty hefty average household expenditure. We are all too easily lead to believe that the key to our personal happiness lies in six-pack abs or a tight butt, but that may not necessarily be the case.

On the one side you have the exercise industry, pushing body image with a 4 x per week heavy gym session and on the other side there is the medical establishment pushing a minimum 3 x 30 minutes per week for good health and longevity. This joint onslaught of enforced ideal body image and the health risk for non participation is responsible for an awful amount of guilt that matches people’s exercise spurts and dips and puts a negative spin on their sofa and chips, cake and donut moments.

As with a lot of things today, it is a case of reading between the lines and asking yourself a few questions in order to find out what is the right kind of exercise for you and hopefully to save you time and money. Questions such as:

• What is the purpose of you exercise?
• What do you need / want / what are you looking for?
• Why are you exercising in the first place?

When thinking through exercise myself, I have started and stopped; been longing for my next run and been completely lacking in motivation. I have joined the gym and left the gym, brought weights and let them get dusty, started some sports and dropped others. I all this time, I have learnt some home truths which I would like to share with you in 5 coffee-break size instalments, which I will publish over the coming weeks, so stay tuned…