Why getting into shape is important to me
By Taylor Charlebois, Staff Writer
When I was a kid, I imagined my future self as an in-shape adult who had his life together. I’d see movies and TV shows of these pseudo-buff actors doing awesome things and I just figured that that’s where I was headed. I guess I had high hopes for myself.
Oh boy, was I in for a shocking surprise. As my early twenties quickly came, my body was in no state to reflect my pre-determined physique.
My diet consisted of Twisted Teas, cigarettes and a handsome Wendy’s order that would make any fast-food-enjoyer blush.
I felt like I had the body of a prepubescent boy, but with the face of a mid-20s adult man with a beard that added years to my ghastly visage.
These bad habits would continue until what we’ve so affectionately dubbed the COVID-19 pandemic. I remember it vividly, I was having a Britney Spears moment — I buzzed my head, and upon looking at the sad, puffy, grimace in the mirror I realized I was ‘skinny-fat.’
How could this happen — when did this happen? The adult, muscle-bound, has-his-life-together version of myself that I wanted was long gone. A beautiful lie that I conjured up for myself, I suppose.
Staring into the mirror, I felt like I looked like a puffy-faced, horrific physical creature — I made a life altering decision.
I started my fitness journey on May 1, 2020.
Okay, so part of the battle is won, right? Wrong.
But how do I start this physical resurgence? Do I start running? Stretching? Throwing weights around? I had no idea, where the heck do I start?
A rigorous internet search would suggest what I like to call a “Mount Everest” mound of workout regimes, fitness plans and nutritional schemes.
It didn’t matter, I was committed. I didn’t want to hide a double chin beneath a beard for the rest of my life.
The beginning was the hardest part. I decided I wanted to try my feet at running, as well as traditional weight lifting. This was going to be my humble beginning. I’d alternate between these two exercises, so that one day I’d run and the other I would lift.
Running proved to be the most difficult, as I’d attempt running a kilometer or two (or until my very out-of-shape, over smoked, asthmatic lungs would give out).
Running sucked and I quickly abandoned it. Weight lifting however, became a new favorite part of my daily routine. The slow yet very rewarding experience of getting stronger and feeling better, became an amazing catharsis in my daily life. Eventually, my sleep would become the refreshing experience I had heard so much about.
The unique set of challenges would not end there. They say going to the gym is the easy part — but for me, the true battle, the thing that separates the men from the boys, was the war waged in the kitchen.
Nutrition is just as — or even more important — than actually going to the gym or going for that run, bike ride or whatever chosen exercise may be.
Food and nutrition is an incredibly important and very complicated iceberg. One so dense with information that people spend years upon years studying. What’s most interesting is that nutrition is so personal to each and every one of us. One thing may work for some, while something else may work for others.
This challenge helped push me to spice up my culinary game, because eating scrambled eggs every day for breakfast would prove to get old very quickly.
It’s a welcome challenge though. We’re only given one body and it would remiss of me to waste an opportunity to see what my body can do. Almost two years later, I’m happy to say I’m still on my fitness journey. I’ve accomplished things I’m incredibly proud of, while still working hard towards completing other goals.
I’ll leave you with a quote I read once that inspired me, so I hope it inspires you, my dearest readers.
“It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” — Socrates