One Last Rep Before the Gym Doors Close

This is the end my friends. One last rep before the gym doors close.

I’ve not been paying attention to the blog, much like most of us do with our bodies as we get older and less vain. But my neglect is not because of apathy; rather, I’ve had my focus drawn to another project.

This blog started as a means to raise my profile in order to gain a small following. It was ill-focused and poorly planned. Much like a beginner’s physical workout. You know; the sort of half-assed yet wildly enthusiastic brain tornado that manifests as a New Years resolution. You plan the gym fees, what days you’ll haul your backside to the palace of pose but you don’t quite consider what it takes to actually improve. Sure, you bought some nifty, skin hugging leggings, maybe a comedy gym tee-shirt that boasts false modesty, or parades your amateur status. But you never—not for one damned second—considered the sacrifice and cost of following that odd little dream.

Well, I’m just the same as you. Unless everything you do works first time and you’re a successful whatever-it-is-you’re-successful-at. That’s not me. That’s not most of us. Whether you’ve tried to turn things around, or stared longingly in the mirror and just hoped it was lying; this is what it is to want something else. This moment of doubt. This reflection of something that isn’t quite as clear and obvious as you hoped it would be. But that mirror doesn’t lie (unless you live in a carnival and your house smells of candyfloss and is tainted by the odour that is the improbable fear of clowns).

What am I talking about?

You tried the gym; it failed. You bought a workout DVD, streamed a 20-minute HIIT session; they both failed. That pile of metallic donuts lying beside a stainless-steel beheaded candy-cane; even that disjointed assembly failed.

But they didn’t. You just didn’t understand what it was to step into that group fitness class; you never expected the flock of eyes swooping down upon you. When you walked into that gym and expected to stroll up to the treadmill; that synthetic glamourous jog down a sun-kissed boulevard wasn’t meant to feel as though you were having an asthma attack on stage at the Apollo. And by God’s imaginary muscles of indifference; you never imagined how tender all those parts would be in the following days. This is reality colliding with ill-informed aspirations. This is the house of rice crackers falling down around you as you suddenly realise that nothing in life is easy. It is the grim reckoning that weighs on your soul; a 100-kilo masochistic cupcake doing squats on your chest. If you want to visualise it as I do (and I really do see this in my mind), the sweet, bakery creation has a leering grin and for some inexplicable reason is wearing pink Reeboks. Yup, fitness isn’t fun. It’s insidious.


Yeah, like a crap, pop-genre rap video, there’s always a but(t). And of course, if you’re familiar with Sir Mixalot… I’ll tell you what, Google that name to get the punchline. Though, in all honesty, I’m technically indifferent to the scale of glutes; the preceding sentence was low-brow humour. Anyway, onwards to the but (giggles).

The point is, of course it’s difficult to achieve something. If things were easy to accomplish there would be nothing to strive for; nothing to elicit the greatest human state-of-being—fulfilment. To succeed at something requires sacrifice of various forms; whether that is physical effort, financial cost, or emotional bankruptcy. To be better means to be worse off; at least for a while. The path to your goals and ambitions is a dark and treacherous highway. Along that slick and bleak road, there is a hooded figure waiting at every twist and turn. Is it the cosmic balance, the hand of fate? Perhaps it is neither. Perhaps the only shadowy nemesis along that seemingly infinite route is your own self-doubt. And it is true to say, in my 27-years of experience on the gym floor, the most ruthless assassin of dreams is the dreamer themselves. The last lesson to learn; the only thing you need to know to make a valiant effort to succeed is this—you only have to overcome yourself. You are the enemy. You are also your own shining knight. Battle yourself, and whether you fight your own demons, or wrestle with self-doubt or loathing; you are the driver on that highway of dreams.

And that is why I am saying goodbye. I’m on that highway right now. Hell, I’ve even pulled over and got out the damn car. I want to walk (I suppose, for me, it is more accurate to say, limp) the rest of the way. My dream? I’d love for you to see it. And you can; if you come with me.

So, to those who actually follow me that aren’t bots, or random fitness dudes trying to sell stuff, come, hold my hand and see where this goes. In the years to come it’ll all be worthwhile when I write my satirical fitness novel. I’ll do it for you. I’ll do it for me. In the meantime, you can follow me to a place where fantasy rules and fitness can take a long-deserved hike.

I have become James D McEwan; come see the magic.