Hotel room narcissism meets pretty brutal honesty: the beginning of a journey back to real fitness

Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, The Netherlands.

My stomach hurts, I feel somewhat nervous and a bit anxious. I am not sure if there is a difference between nervous and anxious. Although the body is a bit restless in this very moment I am in a good place, physically, spiritually and geographically.

A little while ago I wrote about the mind of the procrastinating meditator aka my mind. I discovered a couple of years ago that my concentration problems challenges could be attributed to ADD. More people in my family lineage have it according to my uncle the psychiatrist. I asked him about medication and yesterday and today I tried a tablet for the first time. I don’t think it is for me. It makes me feel like I had too much coffee, the inner restlessness rather increased instead than decreased I would say. I have to ask him if it takes a while before it starts to work properly. But if it means that me and the medication are not a match: oh well.. It feels good to be addressing the things that need attention even though the first attempt wasn’t a hole in one. The search itself feels empowering.

My stomachache has probably to do with the meal I just had. I am paying more attention to my nutrition so I cook meat and vegetables for lunch and I already had a feeling that the minced meat was better eaten yesterday than today. But hey, I survived 2 months of India without a single day of diarrhea so my stomach should be able to win this wrestling match in an hour or 2.

I have started a new challenge. The coming months I will work very hard on my body. Where my normal focus is on spiritual growth I will now opt for physical transformation. For my 42nd birthday I will give myself my 24-year-old body back. Something else for a change.

Stronger. Leaner. Faster. That is what I want, hope for and will work for. But there is more to it. I am training at Evolve Personal Health Center, the personal training gym of my high school buddy Mike and his friend and business partner Sander. Their approach to fitness is very different and a lot more scientific than what I have seen in the past 20 years. My body and its different functions have been tested and measured. They have localized the weak spots (did I have weak spots?). Now I need to be ‘rebalanced’ or ‘recomposed’ and become ‘functionally strong’. The idea is that when all the limbs and the muscles do what they should do and don’t have to do the job of other weaker muscles due to bad posture, injury or otherwise.

I find it fascinating. There is so much to learn and so much we don’t know about ourselves. I brought many of my emotional blind spots to the light but I did not know my gluteus maximus (aka my butt) was not ‘firing’ (which I also found somewhat confrontational news but that aside). The journey never ends.

The commitment to the journey is what brings Evolve and Basic Goodness together. The coming 4 months I will work on my body with the help of the trainers. My job will be to help the trainers become more aware of their inner being and to help them to get to know themselves better and communicate more effectively. Ideally the guys will get a sense of inner peace and where to find it (inside themselves) and become inspired to cultivate a peaceful mind with the same commitment as they cultivate healthy and strong bodies. I hope to contribute to the establishment of a tribe of peaceful and noble Warriors committed to the growth of others. I will do my best.

Back to the body. 18 months of traveling took its toll. I lost my routine due to the transient lifestyle but also because of little injuries that I did not know how to address. A hurting wrist prevented me from doing push ups for example. Afraid of doing more damage I stopped doing anything at all. Just an example how a simple fear can paralyze us and have pretty big consequences. I was very fit when I left Amsterdam in January 2012. The last measurement that I had was that my body fat was at 9% and my weight at 89 kg. In 2011 I received my certification as a Bootcamp Instructor, did intense outdoors workouts about 4 times per week and ran long distances too. Now I am 98kg and my body fat is at 25.8%. My lean mass dropped from 81kg to 72.8kg. That means I lost 8.2kg of muscle and gained 17.3kg of fat. Wow.. just calculating and writing it down makes me feel.. regret. Regret and sadness. Mike told me just recently that if I only would have done the basic lifts once or twice a week the muscle mass would have stayed intact. Another little piece of knowledge I wasn’t aware of.

There is only one thing to do really: to start all over again. I will post the ‘before’ pictures of my body that were taken last Wednesday below and you just saw the picture that I took in a hotel room mirror in Jerusalem in January 2012, at the beginning of my journey to show you the difference. Hotel room narcissism meets pretty brutal honesty.

I must admit I feel a little disheartened after doing the math but I will pull myself together and will work hard. I promise.


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