Fit happens, right?

December 6, 2009

So I glanced in the mirror this morning (I assure you, it was an accident) and I didn’t like what I saw. I mean, I’ve never been one of those narcissistic types that just melt with adoration at the sight of my reflection – but this was b-a-d. Maybe once I had a body that worked reasonably well. It was no Terminator, but at least it was functional. Now what passes for my muscle definition resembles a blancmange wrapped in clingfilm, my posture is that of a jaded orangutan and my belly has been known to cause unkind people to make jokes about male pregnancy. It’s sad.

I’m not quite sure how it happened. One of the reasons I came to Bali was to start eating properly and to get fit and healthy. Lord knows I have tried. Since learning how to say lari pagi, I go for a morning run every single morning, hefting weights to ensure that I get a good cardio workout. Well, maybe I’m being a tad cavalier with the truth – it’s more of a power-walk than an actual run. OK, would you believe a stroll? Oh alright, just one weight, and that’s actually a paperback book to read during my hearty breakfast … but at least I do carry it home in the other hand. After all, it wouldn’t do to end up with one over-developed bicep.

Running, or even jogging, is hard work. The worst part is, if I run, I jiggle. Bits of me move in ways they were never designed to move. I think I need a bra, or a corset or something. Actually, I did go for a real run of about 50 metres a few months back, followed up with walking since then. I think they call it interval training. It has a lot going for it, as long as the intervals are long enough. I think a few months between runs is perfect. My friends have been exhorting me to get up early (yeah, right) and at least go for a brisk walk on the beach every morning. I tried that, but I get distracted easily, so I end up spending most of the time watching planes landing, or watching others who are equally unenthused about committing exercise, or talking to dogs. I speak fluent dog, and it’s more fun than walking anyway.

On one of my beach walks I discovered the Bali equivalent of Muscle Beach. Under a group of palm-trees, someone had left some rusty pipes with lumps of concrete attached to the ends. I watched a young Balinese man doing repeated sets of 20 curls without even breaking a sweat, then lying on the sand for another 20 bench presses. After he was well out of sight, I nonchalantly ambled over to have a go, but found that he had obviously glued the weights to the beach somehow so they couldn’t be moved by anyone else. I guess you had to be a member or something.

It’s not as if I’m a complete slob though. There is not a day goes by where I don’t swim 4 laps of my pool – sometimes even 8. And my pool is 4.8 metres long, so it’s not as if I’m slacking off or anything. I hear that breaststroke can be quite punishing if one pushes oneself. And I will push myself, just as soon as get a little fitter.

In a temporary spasm of enthusiasm, I even looked for a gym close to me, so I wouldn’t have to walk too far. All I wanted was something with a few machines you could sit in for an hour while reading a book and having a Bintang. No good. They had machines, but they were all attached to heavy things that you had to lift, or push, or bend – all dangerous in my opinion. There were other devices that made you run on the spot while this belt thing whizzed by underneath. If you stopped running, you would be shot backwards all the way to Nusa Dua. Insane. They also offered lots of something I think they called  ‘air row bits’, whatever they are. I don’t even know what they look like. Also ‘kick boxing’, which I presume is football with gloves, and even hippetty-hop dancing! Dancing! You have to be kidding – I want to go home and rest after a workout, not socialise. And to top it off, the photos on their website showed all these guys shaped like inverted pyramids, with muscles on their muscles. If that’s what you end up looking like after gym work, I’m not going anywhere near the place.

No, what I need is a personal trainer to help me get fit and healthy again. One who understands that pushing one’s body to the limits of endurance is not something the gods had in mind for Bali expats. One who is as easily distracted as me, and will happily spend time watching planes or dogs while we are exercising on the beach. One who understands that nicotine is an appetite-suppressant and will happily share a quiet cigarette to support my efforts at dieting. Oh, and I’d like a flat stomach (with the abs on the outside please), and reasonable pecs and biceps and all that other macho stuff.

As long as I can find the right trainer, I’m willing to devote all the time it needs to achieve my goal. I reckon two weeks should just about do it. Any recommendations?



  1. isnt that what a pembantu is for?

    • Definitely outside their job specification …

  2. ha, i’ll do it! gimme 2 weeks and i’ll have you walking up the stairs without breaking a sweat! 30 min a day. gimme a shout if your interested

    Mr P.

    • Oh geez, it sounds really good, but I think I’m busy that day … 😉

  3. Whenever I feel like exercising, I lie down until the feeling goes away. 🙂

    • … or as Mark Twain or somebody like him said: “Me exercise? No way. I get enough exercise carrying the coffins of my friends who do”

  4. found anyone for your fitness quest ?

    • Fortunately, no. Now I’m so unfit, I can’t even manage to think about doing exercise. 😉

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