Category Archives: Gym Buddy

Not Looking Rubbish

Mitch Hewer

The phrase ‘free hair extensions’ is, apparently, a very popular way to find this site via a well-known search engine. Don’t ask me why as I have no hair on which to hang the extensions, free or otherwise. I can’t work it out but, suffice to say, I don’t know where you can get free hair extensions and, really, they look rubbish so why would you want to?

Which brings us neatly onto the act of ‘looking rubbish’. This is something I am currently excelling at. In fact, I really should take out a keyword campaign on a popular search engine but I am struggling to find a way to charge for a service for which the main goal would be to ‘make you look as bad as we can’ ™.

You may recall that, a few years ago, you were my gym buddy. I know you’ve eaten a lot of toast and jam since then but it was a time when we bonded and I discovered what a treadmill was. I quite liked it and enjoyed being fitter and having more energy. However, somewhere along the road I let you lead me back to the kebab house and things went downhill from there. Thanks very much.

And so, we’re going to resurrect our gym trips. Yes, you and me. We’re going to start again, this time, we’re not going to stop. We’re going to end up with a body like Mitch (that’s the picture). You’d better be there tomorrow evening – and no excuses. And as a result, hopefully, ‘looking rubbish’ will be what other people do and not something I specialise in. And those people searching for ‘semi naked men’ (yes, people really do use that to get here) may get a picture of me one day!

However, if I were to ever end up looking like Mitch then I would most definitely need some of those hair extensions. So, extension lady, how many do you have?

On this day…

2003: Small Screens Look Good


While I am sat in my tent at Silverstone eating all the junk food that a place like this can supply – and that’s quite a lot – I need to remind myself to go back to my good ways of eating and exercise that enabled me to lose lots of weight over the last 18 months. I must discipline myself and, of course, you are a vital part. As my gym buddy I pass all the responsibility to you. I must stay away from the 15 bags of crisp a-day diet. Let the 1.5 inch gall stones that nearly killed her be a lesson to us all.

On this day…

2006: Bye Bye Juan Pablo
2006: And We’re Back
2004: My Data
2002: I Like Yahoo!

You Make Me Sweat

So, after I berated you to get on with it – and provide some of the encouragement that I know you are good at – I managed to get to the gym this evening. And for that, I should thank you. For the buckets of perspiration that positively flowed from every pore, I should say much less of a thanks. So, thanks for sending me to exercise several hours of my life away on one of the hottest evenings of the year. If I need a doctor to deal with any dehydration side-effects I’ll know where to send the bill.

For the lack of ‘laundry bags’ in the changing rooms in which to deposit the soaked gym kit I will blame the cleaning staff and you are spared the additional cost of having to clean out the inside of my gym bag.

On this day…

2005: links for 2005-06-22
2004: Online Customer Service Ratings
2002: Shopping Madness

2004 In Review

The New Year is always a time for review. Last year I went into an in-depth review of what I had written over the previous twelve months but this year I haven’t even started to re-read the words I have splashed out onto these pages (although I am getting excited at the thought of the On This Day link turning up three or four years against some future entries).

However, this is always a time of retrospective analysis. Did I do anything important, relevant or useful in 2004? Of course, I think a great deal of what I did was interesting or else I would not have done it but what was really important? Of course, many important things happened in the world but this isn’t about them, it’s a self-indulgent review.

I was about to admit that nothing I did was that important and much of it was far too frivolous but then I thought again. It took me a while to realise that the most important thing that I did in 2004 I did for me. Nobody told me to do it and it really doesn’t benefit anybody else (except perhaps in the longer term) but I decided that I really had to stop uncontrolled consumption of food and generally unhealthiness and do some exercise. And, with that, the whole Gym Buddy experience was born.

I have relaxed a over the past few weeks – especially on the parts that monitor my calorie intake – but I will start 2005 with a new program at the gym which will include some of the resistance machines that I find so intimidating. My battle will be to overcome my feelings of inferiority when it comes to those machines which is a battle with perceptions of myself.

It’s very hard to put into words how I feel about this whole process. It has been an entirely positive life changing experience for me: I am not wealthier, I have less free time and it didn’t help other people but I wouldn’t change a single moment of it all.

On this day…

2006: Here We Go
2005: Bruce Almighty
2004: Love Actually
2004: Review of 2003: December
2004: Review of 2003: November
2002: Why Do You Do It?

Night Off

Tonight I am not going out socialising. Ever since Gym Buddy Day a free evening would have meant a trip to the gym but, this evening, I am sat ripping music so that my computer’s jukebox contains a few more of the CDs that I am running out of space to house. It’s a rare, spare, evening but I couldn’t face the thought of the gym tonight. It would have been the third consecutive day I would have gone and I have, so far, been fairly religious about my ‘ever other day’ rule. I tend to find evenings at home with leisure as my only goal are the worst in terms of eating; which is why I am sat ripping music. I have given myself a purpose for tonight. Usually on evenings such as this I would go to the gym but restrict myself with a few lengths of the pool – I have always felt that swimming doesn’t contravene the ‘ever other day’ rule as I find it the hardest of exercises because I don’t do it properly. Therefore, it doesn’t count as exercise. Sure, I stay above water and motor up and down but I have no technique and I always feel that when I am out of breath in the pool it’s because I haven’t been breathing correctly. Anyway, there are two pool-based classes back-to-back on Tuesdays which means those of us who just want to swim are restricted to a small portion of the water and that makes it too hard. So, I am sat here listening to The Hidden Cameras and enjoying every minute of it.

On this day…

2003: Weather Project

Going Outside The Canteen For Lunch Is Gooooood

Tom appears to have persuaded some colleagues to leave the delights of the office canteen for something a little different. If you haven’t tried Eat then you must do so at once. If, like me, you have to be careful about what you eat then they even provide full nutritional information for all their products online. So, for this piece of healthy living, I don’t need Gym Buddy!

[Mmn. Going outside the canteen for lunch is gooooood…]

On this day…

2004: A Mighty Wind
2002: A Walk on the Wild Side

No Steroids Near Me

Since February I have maintained regular gym training sessions and have found myself pleasantly surprised by my own enthusiasm for pounding a treadmill or rowing nowhere several times a week. I always return from the gym energetic and enthusiastic but I am starting to note a worrying trend in myself in attempting to rationalise avoidance. So far I have not stopped myself going but my head keeps thinking that I could just miss this one and have a rest. It would be good to rest. I think this is a worrying trend so, my gym buddy, time to put those motivational techniques to the test.

I do have to say that if, like yesterday, Thursday turns out to be a designated gym day then it’s not too bad as the cute aquarobics instructor is marching up and down the pool side encouraging a bunch of ladies to float better (or something). You get a nice view from the third exercise cycle from the entrance.

I am fairly certain that my gym is not full of gay men. Firstly, there is far too much sport on the television screens (although I did watch football match earlier this week – Hull v Bradford if you’re interested. Bradford won). Secondly, there are no signs of the steroid problem amongst gay men identified by the NHS – although there are a worrying number of overweight middle-aged men wearing those head/sweat bands that used to be popular with tennis players. It’s not a good look – even in a gym.

On this day…

2002: Beijing Blocks Search Engine

Gym Buddy – We Must Not Stop Now

At the start of February I decided you were to become my gym buddy. I didn’t drink alcohol in January 2004. The fact that I managed to survive a month against all the pressures from outside meant I knew I had the will power to attack my growing girth. On Monday February 9th 2004 we (you and me) commenced healthy eating (but not a fad diet) and, importantly, an exercise routine.

I do not think that I had exercised in any kind of serious way since I was about 15 when I was forced to take physical education classes (in my final years at school snooker and crown green bowling counted as gym class). Over the years I had been gradually buying larger and larger clothes but it had not alarmed me. I knew I was not fit, I knew I was getting fat but even chest pains in 1997 (when the doctor said ‘lose weight’) didn’t make me give up eating in the excessive quantities that I did.

So, on February 9th 2004 I exercised. And then I weighed myself for the first time in a half a decade. I knew I would be heavy and, to be honest, was not shocked by what the scales said to me. What frightened me was the realisation that if I continued at this rate of gaining weight I would be heaver than 20 stone in less than ten years. It was a little bit of a wake-up call.

On February 10th I ached but on February 11th I hauled myself back to the gym. The exercise was surprisingly easy. I followed my own programme which stuck to ‘fat burn’ routines on the various pieces of equipment (bike, treadmill, rowing machine) and gradually worked up to keep my heart at a good rate of burning fat and that left me out of breath. I did not want to push so hard that I would be put off or, worse, pass out. At times it has been hard to motivate myself to go but not too hard and I have been disciplined enough to ensure that even the occasional lapses were overcome. I promised myself I would not feel guilty about missed days or missed calorie targets – and I haven’t.

During the process I read a lot about other people’s experiences. Lance Arthur’s Fat Headed, from around the time I started this, was probably the most important. It’s all about mental attitude a little bit of will power/self control.

Fortunately for me I have always been a reasonably healthy eater. I do not binge on burgers, chips or masses of fried food. I just ate too much of everything. When I compare the quantity of pasta I used to eat in a single portion against a measured, calorie-counted healthy-eating quantity, I am embarrassed by the sheer greed.

Over the months many things kept me motivated. The laughter when my old trousers would no longer stay up; the move of my Body Mass Index from obese to healthy; the pleasure of buying new (and better fitting clothes) and the comments of people I meet (except for the one customer who told me he’d been scared to say anything because he thought I was ill). I’ve found new ways to enjoy less food and I flabbergasted myself by enjoying the light exercise I do. I have days when I consume more than others. I just know that the occasional bad day is not going to set me back.

I must say that it hasn’t really been hard. Sure, there have been harder days and difficult moments with temptations along the way but I just set my mind to it and the rest came as the results came.

Yesterday was six months to the day since I started this regime. I feel and look healthier and have a whole new wardrobe. I am no adonis with a beefed-up body. I could not say ‘swimmers build’ if I was in the mood to write a personal ad nor would you pass me in the street and notice me. But I am a fitter and leaner me. In some ways I am happier in myself – both for the changes that have occurred and for the feeling that I managed to do it. I lost four stone and so many inches from my waist I won’t even say. I have reached the target I set myself in a much faster time. I am a little spooked that it is six months to the very day!

I do know that this is a way of life now and not something I can – ever – deviate from. I must watch what I eat but it’s becoming instinctive rather than planned. I will continue to exercise and have set myself some goals to ensure I will enjoy it going forward.

As Lance said:

My advice, for those of you unhappy with your current physical situation and hoping for a miracle cure that’ll make you look like the A&F boys or the Conde Nast girls is stop looking for a miracle cure. It doesn’t exist. Eat better food, eat less of it, and get your ass in motion. Move your body in whatever you enjoy. Jog, bike, lift weights, kung fu, yoga, dance, kickbox, soccer, volleyball, swim, whatever, but go out and do it. Ask for help, encourage encouragement, change your life, be happier. [source]

I would like to thank you, my gym buddy, for the help and encouragement throughout the last six months. I think we should go out for a celebratory slap-up meal.

On this day…

2006: Go Ant Go!
2005: Tipping BAR Honda To Win
2002: Survival