For six months, I have shed blood, sweat and dignity.
I have faced down my worst enemy – the gym running machine; I’ve put pads between my legs and pushed jolly hard; and I’ve engaged in activity so rigorous I’ve been compelled, on occasion, to apply Vaseline to my chafed nipples.
I have inhaled the testosterone of the weights room.
I have worn shorts in public.
I have done all this in an attempt to get fit, or, to be more accurate, to get fitter than the dead weight I have become in recent decades.
The battle has been very much uphill but I have been encouraged all the way by my training guru, Wayne “The Wayne Machine” Johnson. The Wayne Machine is a fitness supervisor at University of Birmingham Sport and has taken me under his wing at the Munrow Sports Centre.
As well as catering for students, student athletes and elite sportsmen and women, the centre is also open to community members, which means lumps like me can use the facilities at the Edgbaston campus.
Last summer, when I decided to get fit or die trying, the Wayne Machine carried out a series of tests to see how much lard I was packing. I returned last week for an update on my progress.
I have been trying to think of a positive way to spin the findings, to make the cold facts and figures assume the reflected glow of athletic endeavour.
That is not possible. There’s no easy way to say this: I have put on weight.
Somehow, I have managed to acquire an extra 0.3kg of stuff. The scales do not lie. I have jumped from a weighty 85.7kg (the size of a small elephant) to 86kg (the size of a small elephant after a decent restaurant tasting menu).
When the news was broken to me, I was down. I thought it was rubbish. I said to the Wayne Machine: “This is rubbish.”
Far from it, explained my mentor.
A further look at my weight and muscle analysis revealed my body’s fat mass had fallen – from 21.2kg to 21kg. I have lost 0.2kg of fat. A pat of butter has slipped out of my body.
Or to put it another way, the elephant has got heavier but this is only because he is more sporty and has acquired more muscle. Fundamentally, he is stronger.
In fact, obsessing about one’s personal weight is a bad thing, according to the Wayne Machine. It disincentivises athletes. (He didn’t say that – I made it up.)
Thus have I smiled with inner mirth at the cocky pronouncements of a Johnny Come Lately fitness convert, who happens to reside just across the office.
My colleague and Post Editor Alun “There’s Not A Pie Big Enough In This World For Me” Thorne has recently started a fitness regime in a bid to shed the collateral damage incurred by businesses lunches and dinners.