Butch up!

Butch up. (verb) To develop a backbone or stiff upper lip; to quit whining and get on with life.

Allright possums, it’s tough love time. If you don’t like being nagged by a complete stranger, quit reading now. If you are comfortable still complaining about your body and making excuses for your life, then step away from the computer, and go sit in your own filth somewhere. I’m waiting.

Now, I know that many of you need a kick in the ass from the Mistress because you are lazy and can’t be bothered to do things unless someone yells at you to do it. How do I know this? Many clients have confessed to me that they would never come to the gym unless they paid someone to push them around. If you’re one of those people, keep reading and you’ll get the benefits of my harassment for free. I spent a lot of time coddling clients, coaxing them gently through their fears and uncertainties. In many cases it worked, and we were both happy. In other cases, nice just wasn’t cutting it. Some people really need structure and limits. They need a drill sergeant who is kind but firm, someone who tells them that they’re going to crank out 10 reps and they’re going to like it. It’s for those people I present the following.

Oh yes, I can hear the whining starting already. In fact I’ve heard all the excuses so many times, I was able to throw together the following list off the top of my head.

Excuse #1: I need to wait until I lose another 20 lbs., get married, resolve my mother issues, make some more money, blah blah blah, insert future goal here.

No you don’t. You need to start RIGHT NOW, today, this very minute. What is that in your hand? A cookie? Either eat it and own up to it like a big girl, or throw it out. What is that sitting next to you? A phone? Pick it up and call your local gym, and make an appointment to see their stuff. I see a pen sitting on your desk next to a calendar. You will use this pen right now to write down three days on the calendar that you will spend 30-60 minutes doing something physical. For most of you there are feet at the end of your legs. Stand up and do something with them to get them moving. Think of what you can do right now, today, and this week to take charge. Then do it.

Excuse #2: I’m too fat.

If you can move, you’re not too fat. If you’re too shy to leave the house, move around the house. If it hurts to move, do what you can, and try a little more every day. If you don’t want to join a gym, buy a basic free weight set for home. Even two dumbbell handles and a few plates will be a great start, and it’ll cost you less than fifty bucks. Have a look at my advice for overweight beginners.

Excuse #3: I don’t have time.

For most people, “busyness” isn’t really the problem. Time management and prioritizing are. How many hours a week do you spend watching TV? Surfing the net? Wasting time in other ways? I’m pretty sure you can find 3-4 hours a week to work out. I’ve organized my workout so that I only go to the gym two days per week, with one of those days on a weekend. The rest of the time, I do 20-30 min workouts at home with my dumbbells, jump rope, and pullup bar. If you are truly too busy to take care of your body, you have bigger problems. Eventually, of course, you’ll have plenty of time to spend on fitness after you have your first heart attack or nervous breakdown. Your body is carrying you through the day. You owe it at least some pampering and care. Just like you make an appointment to see the dentist, make an appointment to work out, and stick to it. Also, check out my Workout for the Time Poor.

Excuse #4: I’m too tired.

Why do you think you’re too tired? Because you’re out of shape. See Excuse #3. Find a time when you’re not too tired, or throw down a cup of coffee, put on whatever you consider upbeat music, and squeeze in 30 minutes of exercise. One thing I like to do after a stressful day at work is get off the subway one stop before my regular stop. It’s a nice 15 minute walk home through a pretty neighbourhood, and by the time I get to my front doorstep, I’m usually feeling revitalized from the little activity break and the fresh air. If your life is grinding you down so much that doing this is impossible, you’re in deep poop. For most people not living in an army trench under heavy artillery fire 24 hours a day, this is very doable. After a few weeks of working out, you’ll find you have a lot more energy. The less you do, the less you’ll want to do.

Excuse #5: I’m too shy to go to the gym with all the good looking people.

Find a gym, such as the Y, which caters to a wide clientele. Those kinds of gyms are usually cheaper than the Thong ‘N’ Pose gyms anyway. Then, when you go, remember that most people there are more hung up about themselves than you. The good looking ones are thinking about how good they look, and the beginners are thinking about how un-good they look. Either way, nobody is paying attention to you. If going to the gym seems excruciating, invest in a basic set of dumbbells and a bench. Check out my home gym ideas.

Excuse #6: I know what to do, but can’t be bothered to do it.

I’ve actually heard this one several times. My response to this is usually, “Well then, quit bitching about it.” If you’re not prepared to make change, then you don’t deserve to complain. Knowing and not doing is the same as not knowing at all.

Excuse #7: I hate my thighs/tummy/self. I wish I looked like a supermodel. But since I can’t, I won’t even bother trying anything.

Look, honey, you only get one container. And you get what mom and dad gave you. You can make it the best possible container it can be, and love it for what it is, or you can waste your life pissing and moaning about something that isn’t possible. Control what you can control, change what you can change, and forget about all the other stuff. Celebrate health and living free of pain. Stop obsessing about BEING and LOOKING, and start DOING.

Excuse #8: Exercising is hard.

Of course it’s hard. Anything worthwhile is hard. Relationships are hard. Parenting is hard. A rewarding career is hard. But suffering from highly preventable diseases of sedentary living and poor nutrition, such as type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease, is harder. Exercise should also be fun. Find something you enjoy and do it. Muck around in the garden, walk the doggie/kids/partner/neighbour’s doggie, shake your moneymaker to Aretha, whatever you like. Try a new activity for variety. Take up fencing, or salsa dancing, or water aerobics. Play a game. Have fun! Get outdoors as much as you can, enjoy some fresh air, enjoy being alive and able to move.

Excuse #9: It’s too complicated.

Lifting weights is not rocket science. Find a heavy thing and pick it up. Put it down. Pick it up again. Rest a while. Pick it up and put it down again. Next week, try a heavier thing. Occasionally, pick up your right foot and put it in front of your left foot. Repeat with other side. Perform this alternating motion for 20 minutes a few times weekly.

Excuse #10: I don’t know how.

Read your way through this site, and through all the recommended links. Then see #9.

Excuse #11: I might have a setback and get discouraged. What if I do something wrong or have a bad day?

Well, shit happens. You get up, dust off, and get right back on the horse again. Fall down eight times, stand up nine or some other Confucian truism like that. The whole point is the process, not the perfection.

Excuse #12: I can’t afford to join a fancy gym.

Fancy gyms are way overrated. Check out the local Y, community centre, etc. or invest in a few dumbbells. Check out my low-tech workouts and advice on a home gym. Go for a walk.

Awright maggots! Now move it on out! GO!!!!