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Hey Fatty Boom Boom

April 15, 2013

I’ve been trying to deny it for a while now, but it’s time I faced up to harsh reality – my trousers are getting increasingly tight, and not in a good way.  Yup, I’m getting a bit chubby again. Who’d have thought that sitting on my arse doing nothing except shoving fatty food into my face could have led to me putting on weight?  Who could possibly have seen that coming?  I wouldn’t say I was obese or anything – not unless you believe that BMI rubbish anyway. BMI is a system that seems to take zero account of anyone having the slightest bit of muscle on their frame as based on that scale I’d need to be about 70kg to be OK. I’m pretty sure I’ve not weighed that much  since I was about 14 – I’d probably have to cut a let off to get that low now. And if I was that thin these days I’d snap in a strong breeze.  But I can’t deny I am presently overweight, so now I need to do something about it.

The solution is remarkably simple. I need to eat better and exercise more. But while the principles are staggeringly simple, the practice is, of course, less so. Take the food issue for starters (pun intended).  In this modern day-and-age I don’t think anyone can plead ignorance on that front. We’re bombarded with enough healthy eating campaigns these days that anyone who hasn’t clicked on to the whole pie=bad/leafy greens=good thing must either be dense or a master of self-delusion. The problem lies not in knowing what we should or shouldn’t chow down on, but in making the right choices.

I could blame my eating habits on all sorts of things, such as my busy lifestyle. After all, I work full-time, have two kids to wrangle and a thought-provoking, cutting edge blog to maintain (what do you mean ‘what blog is that?’- it’s this one, you cheeky bugger). But these excuses are flimsier than an anorexic supermodel’s legs. The bottom line is that Peanut Butter Kit-Kat Chunkys, Indian takeaways, meat pies, cake, sweets and all the other stuff that’s going straight to my thighs is just  too damn tasty.  It certainly is possibleto get lovely  healthy stuff too, I just choose not to do so like a pillock. And such things don’t tend to lurk in my offices vending machines, beckoning me over with their chocolatey evil. From here on the excuses are out the window. It’s time to say no to the sugar-coated siren, no to the take away temptress. It’s time to eat properly and not supplement my diet with extra cake.

Exercise is a bit of a trickier thing to address however, as I find things like jogging, swimming or just working out in a gym terminally boring.  The only kind of exercise that has ever really held my interest for any length of time is martial arts.  I’ve been training in various styles on and off for over twenty years now including Wing Chun, Jujitsu, Judo, Karate, Aikido, Muay Thai, Kickboxing and Lau Gar.  Over the last five years or so though I’ve moved on a bit from the traditional styles and become a convert to the joys of modern mixed martial arts, generally referred to as MMA. A fun blend of striking and grappling popularised by shows like the UFC, MMA is the bees knees of the marital arts world as far as I’m concerned – intense, challenging and refreshingly free of mystical pseudo far-eastern bullshit. And it’s great for staying in shape too – at my peak of MMA training I took part in a submission grappling contest, and due to good diet and hard training weighed in for that at a positively svelte (by my standards) 80kg (I think that’s 12 stone 10 in old money or 178lbs for our colonial cousins), when these days I’m probably closer to a positively portly 95-98kg.

Not every martial art keeps you trim

It’s worth bearing in mind that not every martial art keeps you trim

Now the problem with the MMA training is that I’m no spring chicken these days. I appreciate that at thirty-five I’m not exactly ancient just yet, but with the sports growing popularity it seems to be becoming more and more of a young man’s game.  The club I trained at housed some great athletes aged between sixteen and twenty or so (as well as a few excellent pro fighters), who are so into it they are training most days – one of the advantages of being young, free and single I guess.  This means when it comes to sparring and such I find my self getting my arse kicked by kids half my age who are faster, stronger, fitter and just plain better than me.  Some of them are even bigger than me, and I’m not a very small chap. One incident that sticks in my mind was a wrestling training session last year when I was matched up with a six-foot four seventeen year old who was merrily throwing me around like a sack of potatoes. After he’d picked me up and bounced me off the floor for about the eighth time in our five-minute round of sparring I was quite slow in getting up. Obviously concerned that I might have injured myself he kindly took a moment to inquire after my well-being before continuing to manhandle me.

‘You all right mate? You hurt?’ he asked.

‘No,’ I replied with a sigh. ‘Just getting on a bit. I am thirty-four you know.’  This, it seems, he found quite surprising.

‘Thirty four?’ he said. ‘My dad’s thirty-four as well.’

As you can imagine, this didn’t do wonders for my self-confidence. It’s one thing to get your arse kicked by someone bigger, stronger, faster, fitter and just plain better than you, but to find out your old enough to be his bloody dad as well isn’t something you really want to hear. What with my creaky knees, wonky elbows, dodgy ankles and all the other little niggles picked up from all that time of paying money to get punched, kicked, choked and locked by other people I suppose I just can’t keep up with the young dogs anymore. Maybe I should try to take up something a bit more sedate to stay in shape, or maybe stick to the MMA but try to take things a bit easier in training, but I can’t see that happening. If it’s not intense, if it doesn’t hurt and if it doesn’t involve getting hit in the face then it just isn’t fun as far as I’m concerned. Golf or long walks on a Sunday afternoon ain’t gonna cut it.

Actually, when I actually write it down like that it makes me sound like some kind of weirdo that gets off on being beaten up. Ah well, I yam what I yam as Popeye would say. Anyway, I’m off to get my diet off to a great start with me tea, and I’m fancying a nice cheese n’ onion pasty and chips.  Chips are just potatoes, and they’re vegetables, right? As are the onions in the pasty. And surely the cheese pasty is a healthier option than say a meat pie?  After all cheese is high in calcium innit?

Ah, good old self-delusion… now that’s something I’m still able to do at a high level, even with my creaky knees.


From → Musings

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