By DARREN HANDSCHUH
It’s amazing how easy it is to get out of shape.
I still have a shape, but it is kind of a round, soft and squishy shape.
Throughout my teens and into my early 20s I was in phenomenal shape. I was playing hockey, jogging and worked at a physical job all of which helped keep the fat away.
Fast forward about 20 years.
Playing hockey has been replaced by watching hockey and the most physical part of my job is crowbarring my butt out of the chair when I have to go on assignment.
It was in my early 30s that I got tired being a tub of goo sitting on the couch every night so took up martial arts as a form of exercise.
My wife never understood why I enjoyed it so much.
“Why do you pay to let people to beat you up?”
To which I would reply, “I don’t pay to let people beat me up. I pay to beat people up. I’m just not very good at it.”
I also took up a variety of other physical activities and even bought a treadmill for the days it was cold outside.
So you would think all that exercise would make me svelte, trim and bursting with fitness.
I guess it depends who I compare myself with.
There is a place near my home called the Stairway to Heaven. It is a set of approximately 230 stairs going up the side of a mountain from one subdivision to the next.
This is where we compare fitness levels.
My 11-year-old son would bound up the stairs with as much effort as it would take me to get to the stairs. I would barely be half finished and he would be at the top waiting.
Sometimes he would run to the top, then half way down to meet us, then back to the top again.
OK, compared to him I am a jiggling bucket of flab, but there are what I like to call ‘ego boosters’ out there.
Let me explain.
I discovered a key to feeling better about yourself is to be around people who are flabbier than you are.
When I go to the beach or the waterslides the first thing I do is look for someone in worse shape than myself. Having found said person, I then set up my towel, cooler etc. near my new friend.
Voila, I instantly feel better about myself and look better to those around me.
How good I feel about myself is directly proportional to how out of shape my neighbour is.
The bigger he is, the happier I am. Viva la greasy food.
The problem is when someone sets up next to me for the same reasons.
If you look down the line of people it’s like an ongoing before and after ad for some sort of health club.
At one end is the guy who is so large he looks like a heart attack poster child and way down on the other end is Mr. Fitness with his rippling muscles and sculpted buttocks.
Sitting somewhere in the middle is yours truly with my six-pack abs carefully hidden under a layer of fat.
If you’ve got it flaunt it.
If you don’t, then hang out with people who have less of it than you do.