Today I stood in the guest bathroom and took my first selfie with my iPad.
Selfies are the first measure of any fitness routine. Ask the Internet. Every single fitness journey embarked upon by anyone in the past five years began with the “before” picture.
Unlike any other pictures, slovenly and disheveled is good. Got rolls? Make sure to turn sideways so that you can capture them. And take off your shirt, even if your one of those guys who wears a white tee into the swimming pool. Today you’re Rick Ross, so oil up, strip down and get to snapping. Your shame has no place here.
Ladies, forget everything you learned about a proper fit and find that jog bra you wore in high school. Neon green and tattered around the edges. Yeah, that one. Too small? Good. It’s okay if it cuts into your flesh. You want to see creases of skin. The more of a raggedy train wreck you look now, the better you’ll feel later.
My before picture was done early in the morning. You can still see the lines from the pillow on my face. My hair was styled by six hours with a rumpled pillow. That’s right, six. Never take a before picture on eight hours of sleep. Your going for that, jumped out of bead to prevent a break, in look. Confused. Lost. Hungover.
In fact, if your lifestyle permits, go to sleep drunk wearing old sweat pants. There will never be a better before picture than when you wake up the morning after a night of hard, purposeful drinking. It’s a small price to pay for fitness.
This is my first before picture, but I nailed it. I looked like a 42 year old slob. I turned so that one could see the crease in my side where the fat on my upper torso met and cascaded over my ballooning midsection. No, you can’t see it. It’s just for me.
Why now? This isn’t my first stab at fitness. In fact, I’m not doing anything now that I haven’t done a dozen times before. Same body doing the same routines – by any measure, my failure is almost absolutely guaranteed.
This time I don’t care.
I remember when I first bought my kettlebell. I had read about how it melts fat away. Shreds it… Liquefies it. It sounded almost unhealthy how it treated body fat.
I began every morning with 100 kettlebell snatches. It’s a scientific fact –Russian science – that kettlebell snatches attack fat like Buce Lee on Chuck Norris. I was doing 100 of them in 20 minutes, then I took a shower, then I went to work.
I remember that little popping sound in my back. I remember thinking, “that’s not good.” But the next morning I did it again, even though my now stiff back begged me not to. You know how this ends. With a whole lot of Tylenol and ice packs. The kettlebell sat in the corner for months. Then I sold it.
This is my program now… On second thought, no. I don’t want anyone getting all fit before me; not if you are using my extensive knowlege of throwing heavy things around a small room full of computer equipment. Just know this. I’m not chunky because my workouts weren’t good enough. I’m chunky because I took myself way too seriously. And food.
They use kettlebells in the Secret Service, the Marine Corps, the Russian Military and in their elite prison riot suppression squad. Those agencies employ tens of thousands of people, but I am not one of them. I will never protect our President, or take down an insurgent. I will also never face off against a Russian prison riot.
I’m kind of a boring dude. Even in my wildest dreams, I’m writing for a living. Yeah. I have desk jockey aspirations. So I can afford to lighten up when it comes to working out. Going hard is cool, but there are times when you have to cut yourself some slack, otherwise you’ll get bored, or frustrated, and sell your gym equipment on Craigslist.
I’m calling my workouts kettlebell play, in honor of the fucks I’m not giving about achieving the secret service, or USMC or Spetznaz fitness standards by x date.
One day, a long time from now, I may take an after picture to go with the before one. I will be well rested, and scrupulously manicured. You might notice the slight bend in my right arm, as I apply subtle tension to my bicep to make it look slightly bigger. I’m going to try every trick short of Photoshop to make myself look like a new man. Just know this. I will have fun getting there, no matter how long it takes.