Nude by Christmas

38 years old, 102kg. One of those numbers is about to change.

Archive for the tag “fit”

Eating Disorderly Conduct

There’s not much funny about eating disorders.  I’ve known bulimics (men and women) and at least one anorexic.  I’ve suspected a few more.  A lot more.  Once I even wished I had one – bulimia – but I just wasn’t brought up that way.  Oops.

The bulimics I knew at university all hung out together – between the cafeteria and the toilets.  They seemed to be otherwise quite normal people (well, they were otherwise normal – whatever that is), though most of them smoked and spent a fortune on breath mints.  The anorexic hung out in hospital, mainly, or at home when things were better for her.    I can remember shaking my head, trying to understand what was going through theirs, then just accepted that I couldn’t.  The life moved on, I went to work in the corporate world, and people got much better at hiding their disorders.

Then I entered this strange online universe, where people are either disturbingly honest, deceptively devious, or devastatingly disturbed.  I suspect many are all three.  And I accept that the real world is just the same.  But somehow, when it’s in print, it haunts.

There are some people I have followed on Instagram or Tumblr, because I’ve liked the look of their pics.  Ok, I’ve liked the look of the pics of their bums.  They are all impossibly thin.  Some of them have been born with them, some of them have worked for them, some of them have done both.  But some of them have spent their nights on hands and knees, fingers at the back of their throats, purging themselves of whatever they stuffed down there only minutes earlier.  When I work out that the slender bottom, in the seductive pose, with the fingers suggestively draped beneath the elastic of some skimpy black lace, belong to someone with an obvious eating disorder, I ‘dislike’  or ‘unfriend’.  I just can’t perve at purgers.

Same goes when a cry for help pops up on my screen.  A hand-scrawled note craving for someone to ‘like’ them, or they’ll slit their wrists; ‘comment’ or I’ll cry; ‘friend me’ or I’ll flip out.  It’s tragic.  I don’t know you!  I don’t ‘like’ you – I like your pic.  I comment on your pic, not you.  I’m not your ‘friend’, I’m just browsing…  If you need me, or people like me, you’re in trouble.  Big trouble.  And you should probably get off online and get on with things offline.

But don’t listen to me.  Get help.  Real help.  From a real person.

I wish my gym could make me come

Raw honesty.

I’m not in love with my gym. Not at all. Sure, we’ve only be dating for less than two months – perhaps she’ll grow on me – but for now, she’s a bore. Dull. Repetitive. Do I really want to get all hot and sweaty, and use the same equipment, every night? I’ll be honest: sometimes gym just doesn’t do it for me. Sometimes I don’t even come. Er, go.

We had a two week break there in the middle – I had a commitment to a holiday that I couldn’t back out of. While away, I cheated on my gym (and yes, fitness Nazis: on myself) with wine and cheese. But I ran. And hiked. And even did body weight exercises (which is really the fitness equivalent to masturbating, isn’t it?). Then I got home, ran straight into the arms of my gym, and… nothing. Absence failed to make the heart grow fonder… In fact, it probably just clogged it up a bit more.

That was ten days ago.

Since then, we’ve seen each other every day. Some days we’ve gone quick and hard, some days it’s been a more sustained sweat-up. Just the way she likes it. Tonight I’m pumping her like a… gym. But still: just no doing it.

I know, I know, I should give it time. Not rush into this thinking I’m going to be swept off my feet straight away. But something needs to give soon. Some result. Some magical feeling. Some glimpse of being… more. Better.

Anything.

But I’m no quitter.

(Actually, I am. But this time, I’m so determined not to be).

Train dirty… but wipe up your wet spots

If you find yourself in a room full of people wearing very little, grunting, moaning and sweating profusely, either pray you’re in a gym, or be prepared to throw your keys in a bowl and use protection. Apart from a swingers’ club – or the vinyl floors and walls of a very ‘open’ couples’ bedroom – there are very few places as rawly and fleshy as the floor of gym.

Over the past week or two, my gym has become increasingly popular. While I could put this down to my attendance attracting people, that would be just plain wrong. It’s just a small little place, out in the ‘burbs, nestled between apartments, a drive-thru coffee joint and a fast food store. The irony is not lost on me. I go there at night, usually after ten, and usually after everyone else has gone home to bed – perhaps to get sweaty in another way.

But lately there are more people there. Like lots more. What are these people doing at the gym at ten o’clock at night? (And, incidentally, what’s that guy doing wearing a sun-visor in a gym at ten o’clock at night?). Don’t they get that this is my space, my time and I don’t particularly want to share with them?

I’ve always been cool with sharing. I played marbles as a kid and managed to share my tom thumbs and snake eyes with Dean and Eddy and Daniel and Mark – my playground buddies. I’ve lived in a share house. I’ve bought shares. I’ve even listened to Cher. But sharing at the gym… well, that’s different.

When you go to a hotel, you expect that the couple in the room before you had likely used the king-sized bed as their workbench for however long they occupied the room. Likewise the shower, possibly the bathroom vanity, the bedside table, the lounge chair in the corner, the desk with the internet port and, potentially the window sill. You also expect that housekeeping has come along and changed the sheets, wiped down all these surfaces and provided fresh flowers to disguise the smell. Don’t you?

In a gym – while it is hoped people only secrete sweat from their pores, not other fluids from other oriffices – it comes (if you’ll pardon the pun) about as close to a B&D dungeon as a public space can become. So what do people do to mop up their mess once they’ve splashed all over the place? Wipe it with a towel. WTF? You want me to trust that a quick wipe of a bench with your (stinky looking) towel is enough to make me feel comfortable about going to lie in your wet spot? Forget it. No, not even if you’re the hot chick with the butt expertly squeezed in to the virtually see-thru yoga pants. Although…

I am kidding. I think.

I live less than two minutes from my gym. I finish my cool down, pick up my stuff and head straight home to the shower. I haven’t even set foot in the shower at the gym. It looks clean in there, but for showers – just like humans – if you spend a lot of time with a lot of different naked people… you’re likely to be carrying some kind of bug.

Anyway, the only athelete’s foot I want to play tootsies with is one at the very end of a long, tanned leg belonging to a brazilian beach volleyballer.

Look Boss! I’m plain, I’m plain!

I remember when tattoos were found only on sailors or Fantasy Island.  Most of you are probably too young to get the reference, and most of you will probably have ink somewhere on your gym-honed bodies. I don’t. It just wouldn’t suit me. I couldn’t carry it off. But I kinda like the people who can carry it off. Good on them, I reckon.

Problem is: not everyone can.  And not everyone’s a good judge of whether or not they can. And yet everyone seems to be getting inked these days.  Everyone.  Even those of us who shouldn’t.

If you know who you are, know what you stand for and want to express that by pricking your body with ink – go for it. I’m all for.  You’ll find some cool, Tim Burton kind of way of way of making your calves or clavicle  look ridiculously hot, and I will envy you from afar.  Or wish I got to touch it.  If you’re a bloke, then that sleeve (as long as it doesn’t look like an Archie comic, or include a portrait of your mum) or thing across your back (sans religious symbolism) will impress me.  But I won’t be so hot on touching it.  Admire from afar will do just fine, thank you.

But If you’re a messed up wreck, stumbling around in the dark night of your own life, desperate to find something about yourself to cling to: think again.  Tattoos are not a good way to find yourself.  The Pink Panther peering over the top of your undies could clash wildly with the tribal tramp stamp guiding your parter to your nether regions from behind.  The quote from Dawson’s Creek?  Sadly, I have come across each of these things on the flesh of an otherwise seemingly normal human being in the course of my relatively short lifetime.

Fit people carry it off better than most.  Not surprisingly, tight skin can wear a tatt better than blubbery, pasty skin. Taut and tatted? Terrific.  Inflated and inked? Icky.  And likely to get worse over time – as you swell, your skin stretches and… ugh… suddenly your Pink Panther starts looking like the mangy feral cat that stalks rats in the city sewer.

As for the hotties?  Well, I like something with meaning. A good quote (no Dawson’s Creek) or a symbol of some significance. If you a fourth generation Caucasian Australian who’s never set foot outside of Sydney – forget Aboriginal markings. Never been to the South Pacific? Then that swirly thing’s not for you.  Chinese calligraphy? Sure – if you’re Chinese. Or at least you know what it says. What it really says.  Just don’t get it done in Bali.  Just… don’t.

Tonight was an unusually tatt free night at the gym.  The young hotties must have all been out on the town (it’s Saturday), and it was left to the dowdies like me to hold the fort.  We who missed the tatt boat, and who navigated our late teens and twenties predominantly with pubic hair…

But then that’s another whole blog post right there…

Tatt’s all folks.

Friday Night Lighter

Blogging live from the gym tonight. First time here for two weeks, and expecting to hurt a little tomorrow. I weighed myself on arrival, which was a dumb thing to do after a two week holiday in cheese and wine country. Time to play catch up now.

There are only three other people here tonight. All guys. It’s Friday – I’m a father of three kids under 7 years of age, what’s their excuse for spending Friday night at the gym?

There’s a hairier, fatter, older bloke than me huffing and puffing his way through a weights circuit, like he’s going to blow this house down; a guy with a boy-band hair-cut splashing sweat all over the screen of his exercise bike; a tiny little guy doing HIIT on a treadmill – grunting like one of the little pigs the hairy guy might quite like to devour, and; oh, and a fourth, some guy staring into the mirror, willing it to tell him who’s the fairest of them all.

Well it’s not me. Not tonight. 14 days out of the sweatshop has left me saggier and baggier than a little elephant.

But I’m here. Like these other guys. Hairy, sweaty, big, small, pretty, neatly groomed or otherwise. We’re here.

For me, that’s a win.

Sit-ups and put-downs.

I must have been bullied as a kid. I don’t remember it, and given that I was 6′ tall at 12 years of age, I struggled to imagine how it came about. But I must have been. How else could my body image be so bad?

Oh, I’m not hideous, I know that. I don’t think that. I’m not one of these fifteen year old girls you see on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram blogging their recovery from an eating disorder (poor loves). It’s not that bad. But it’s not good, and something I want to climb on top of as I lead myself through this health recovery journey.

I’m calling it health recovery, because there must have been a time when I was healthy. At school I played basketball a million times a week, almost – but not quite – having the vertical spring to be able to slam dunk (I peaked out at 6’2″, for those who are following closely). I swam in the summer – quite well, actually – and (shock horror) even enjoyed it. I don’t remember what my body looked like, or even how it felt, but there’s probably no doubt it looked fine and felt even better. Which is about what I’m aiming for now.

But my body now is not like those of the free-weights boys at the gym, and I have to admit, they intimidate me. Not because they’re scary, or dangerous. Not because they have tatts of their murdered first wives, or the warring South Pacific island their ancestors fought for. No, they intimidate me by their capability. Their strength.

Currently, I am a weakling. I cannot do ten push-ups. When I went for my induction at my gym, they took all the weight off a barbell for me to bench press, and I only managed three lifts with the empty barbell itself. I was doing sit ups with a medicine ball that might as well have been a ping pong ball. Maybe two.

While I’m slowly (very slowly) building strength, I admit that I feel awkward at the gym. Sure, I’m not Mr Puniverse, but for the other Masters of the Universe, they must see this dumpy old guy and wonder… WTF? How do you get to 38 and not be able to do ten push ups. Indeed, how do you?

It’s times like this… as you write these things for all the world to see… that you realise that it’s actually not about your physical fitness at all, is it? It’s all in your mind. All in my mind.

Why the hell should I feel intimidated by the Masters of the Universe? My war is not with them: it’s with me. With my own body. And, clearly, with my own mind.

That’s the war I think I need to win first.

Getting out, getting fit and getting wood

I’m out of the city and away from the gym. It’s the best place to be. The air is fresh – almost freezing, in fact – and the sky is big and bright. Today I walked along a beach, through a forest and across rocks. Did I work up a sweat? No. Actually, I worked up nothing. I de-stressed.

For a bit of cardio and upper body strengthening, I chopped and stacked wood. That also helped to keep me warm as the sun went down, and the air got perfectly crisp.

A recurring them on this blog is likely to be ‘getting back to nature’. I get so disheartened by just how disconnected we have all become from our natural world. I’ve said it before: gyms shouldn’t need to exist (but I get that they serve a purpose).

Out there today with my feet deep in the sand, my strengthening core stabilising my walk across the dunes, it helped to reinforce just why we humans are meant to be fit: because we are meant to move, a lot more than we do right now.

It feels so good.

Tonight I find myself by a fire I split the wood for, and lit. I’m entranced by the flame. My kids are sleeping peacefully – more peacefully than they do at home – having spent the day outdoors running and climbing and digging and collecting. Doing what every kid should do: playing.

No gym in sight… and we’re all better off because if it.

The girls and boys on Instagram, and a bit about treadmills

Right now, I’m on a treadmill. Walking, blogging and Instagramming. So damned 2012 it’s not funny. I’ve already done a cardio session this morning, just following up with some weights tonight. It’s 10pm in the part of the world I inhabit.

If you haven’t spotted me on Instagram, it’s not hard @nudebychristmas is the name, photos of me, exercise and food is the game. I’m also dropping down some thoughts there too.

If you follow me and check out my likes, you’ll notice I like girls butts, mens torsos and the legs of both. No, I’m not bi, I’m just an admirer of quality. If you work hard, and look good, I’m gonna tick like. No hidden agenda. Sure, it might mean I think you’re attractive, but hell, isn’t that the whole point? Your butt is hot. Like!

I staggers me a little how many kids there are on Instagram with such low self-esteem. Look, I’m no Anthony Robbins (the guy’s over the top in my opinion), but seriously people, get a grip. Today some girl posted a threat to shutdown her account if more people didn’t like her, or make more comments. Sheesh – just shut her down already. If you’re on Instagram to make friends, it’s time you joined the real world. And made real friends.

There are 15 year old girls desperate to lose pounds to squeeze into a bikini, 16 year old boys obsessed with their abs, some that admit to self harming, many that admit to just being miserable.

How do we get it through to these kids that the hottest body is a healthy body, and nothing – nothing! – is sexier than confidence.

I wasn’t going to put my face on Instagram. This was both a privacy and self-esteem thing, but then I thought fuck it. I’m me. Fat, but thinning. Middle aged, but not middling. Weak, but getting stronger. If these messed up kids can see that it’s okay to make it to 38, have all of these so-called ‘faults’, and still be prepared to put yourself out there, there may be some hope for them yet.

And for me.

I gotta go sweat some more.

Beating Obesity with Beethoven, not Bieber

I’m the heavy middle-aged guy on the treadmill, sweating like a prisoner on death row, as my legs thump, thump, thump against the rubber below. I have my headphones stuck firmly into my ears, partly to block out the incessant noise of Channel V blaring across the room, and partly to I can tune into my training music of choice: Beethoven.

Yeah, how old am I? Instead of Boyfriend, I’ve got Beethoven belting into me. No baby faced Bieber, just my immortal beloved.

I’ve always found the deaf old prick to do find the best in me. When I was writing films and plays, Beethoven was always the one who would reach deep into my soul and bring out the real stuff that I needed to put on the page. Now he’s my sweat master. And my timer. If I can row for a full Choral Fantasy (between 19 and 20 minutes, depending on the conductor), then cycle for a Triple Concerto (say, 35 minutes), I’m pretty satisfied with my cardio.

For weights, it makes sense to go with the Emperor Concerto, or one of the Symphonies. It works every time!

If the cool kids puffing their way through Beyonce or Usher or whoever it is that they listen to while they work up their own slipper sweat knew what I was listening to, I’m sure they’d laugh even harder than they do already.

Bugger them.

Now, if only I could get someone to shoot some music videos of LvB with some booty shaking and plunging necklines, I reckon I’d be set for my gym-going-life.

What do you guys listen to?

The Heaviest Place on Earth!

I couldn’t believe the number of fat people at Disneyland. I’m talking mega-fat, not just your average American fat. Blubberous. Bulbous from head to toe. Sweaty, lardy, swollen, grotesque fat. Forget “The happiest place on earth!” it’s “The heaviest place on earth!”.

And there they all were, rolling around on those little golf cart thingos, speeding from place to place, in and out of all the other people who were – astoundingly – WALKING. Yes, at Disneyland, if you are whopping great ball of a person, you get an advantage. You speed straight past the lines of normal, healthier people (who can stand on their own two feet and walk from place to place), and barge into the rides. All because you’re a chubber. You get treated like a person with a disability (I have no issue with these people speeding around on scooters, or whatever it takes), but you do not have a disability. Last time I checked, lazy was not a disability.

I saw one guy get stuck on Splash Mountain. They had to stop the ride because he couldn’t lift his gigantic body out of the funny little log boat. Now that’s fat. There was family of four – kids no older than 16, who could have been mistaken for some kind of inflatable bouncy ride if they’d sat down on the grass for too long together. The dad and the son proudly scoffed down their enormous turkey legs and sucked back a gallon of soda (well hey, you know sitting on the “It’s a small world” boat for 15 minutes can really take it out of a guy).

By the end of my first day there I was angry. Angry that a country so smart, that leads the world in so many things, could have so many stupid fat people. Attack me all you like for my strong language, but if you are that fat, you are stupid. You know you shouldn’t be, know you can do something about it, know how to go about it – if you don’t… you are stupid.

I sat in the twilight right on the tip of Main Street waiting for the night-time parade to begin, bewildered at the long, broad shadows cast by the wobbling bellies of people heading out the gates – probably to Downtown Disney where they would guzzle more sugar and scoff another dozen ribs or more.

It was the saddest thing I saw at the happiest place on earth.

Is it just me, or does this align with your experience of the crowds at Disneyland?

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