If you are hedonistic or even narcissistic, maybe a bit insecure or have some false feelings of superiority about this or that and you want to leave it that way, then I have some advice for you: don’t go traveling with somebody who is a professional personal trainer who takes his job very serious. Yes, even when on holidays. “But where does this advice come from?” you ask. Well, as a matter of fact I’m making this mistake as we speak. Ok, I learn a lot. But that is about the only upside there is. Let me give you few examples about the hardships I go through.
Yesterday we went to the gym together, me and Mike. Now I’m in not such a bad shape. Compared to normal people, that is. But I see myself in the mirror standing next to this Men’s Health cover model all the time. My body fat is probably around 12%, his is around 6.8%. That’s the difference between Steve Saunders from Beverly Hills 90210 and Brat Pitt in Troy. You can imagine how Steve would feel. When we start working out it turns out that my friend manages to add complexity to every exercise. Not normal squats, no it must be ‘clean gripped front squats’ and ‘hook gripped overhead squats’. Of course this means that I look like an amateur. Which is probably why these grips and varieties were invented: to reveal the amateurs and make them look stupid.
In between the exercises my buddy revealed to me that while I don’t have so much body fat my problem is having a lot of visceral fat. It is located around the intestines and comes from bad eating habits in the past. Meaning “you might have been taking care about what eat the last five years or so but your past is still haunting you” or in plain English “you might have visible abs but you still look fat”.
This is what Buddha meant when he spoke the first noble truth “Life is suffering”. We carefully build up this self image to see it being shattered all the time. Of course we can deny that and hold on the image we have of ourselves. But I found that denying costs even more energy. So let me continue. One would believe that after hard work it is time to play hard, right? Last night we blended in with the party people in some club. As I go to the bar to order beers for us, he enlightens my about the effects of alcohol on the body and what results of my work out I will obtain if I take that beer: zero. He is certainly not drinking (“I worked out today, no alcohol) so now I can’t have a beer either because I don’t want to be the only one who suffered for no reason.
If you think this is bad, read on. I might look like an amateur at weight lifting compared to Mike, I have been lifting heavy iron for the last 20 years. But our weaknesses are the polarities of our strenghts. Now guess what is the scariest thing to do for a weight lifter? Yes. I know. It’s yoga. And what do you think we will do tomorrow morning early? Yoga class! And obviously these universal rules don’t count for Mike. Mike doesn’t just specialize in strength training, he is also an avid martial artist and.. a yoga teacher! Now I have really something to look forward to. Not.
I have said a while ago that personal growth happens outside our comfort zones. I regret that.
Edit: If there is not enough suffering in your life or you have masochistic tendencies feel free to contact Mike at email@example.com. But if you want some relief of suffering go to www.mindfulness-and-more.nl and join one of my mindfulness courses.