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In college, I don’t know about you, but I was absolutely dominating the fitness department. I was big, lean, had a legitimate six-pack and everything. I wasn’t too strict on diet, but I at least kept it high protein and avoided sugar and white carbs as much as I could. I wasn’t absolutely insane about the gym either, but I at least managed to make it there 5-6 times a week. I felt good, looked good, guys asked me for advice and girls took notice.
Now, as my pants grow tighter without irony or excitement and my shirts loosen up in the sleeves, I’m struggling with the realization that I am no longer that guy. Would I like to be again? Of course. Could I be? Sure. Will I be? That’s where it gets murky. You see, there are way too many things as a postgrad guy or girl that get in the way of your ideal physique.
The biggest opponent to getting back into shape is time. Three hours of class a day and maybe a couple hours of work or studying cannot possibly compare to two hours of daily commute and ten hours more at work. In college, there were minimal excuses outside of hangovers to not find an hour to make it to the gym. A lot of times I would go simply because I was bored and needed to actually do something. Now, any free time I have is devoted to sleep.
In fact, sleep is another thing standing in the way. Sleep is when your body recovers and rejuvenates itself, and although college is full of all-nighters and staying up until the early morning, it is also the time of multiple daily naps and sleeping in past lunch. It doesn’t matter how late you stay up as a postgrad because you still have to wake up at the same time the next day. Even on the odd night you get to sleep early, you’re still waking up 5-6 hours later out of habit and cursing because you’re too afraid to fall back asleep and miss your alarm.
Going hand in hand with the lack of sleep is a general lack of energy. Whether you try to work out before work or after work, the only constant is that you will be absolutely exhausted. Your options are dragging ass through an awful workout that only gets you far sweatier than it does fit or taking a pre-workout, and either way chances are you’re going to be too pumped up to fall asleep afterwards. So you attack the next morning with all the vigor of a dying sloth, continuing the cycle.
As a former fitness buff, I know that getting that ideal physique is about 20% what you do and 80% what you eat. Of course what I eat these days is takeout for lunch because I don’t have the foresight to pack one, and order in for dinner because I don’t have the energy to cook or the time to shop. Even things that would be healthy if you made them yourself are infinitely worse for you when a restaurant does it. The worst part of this? I’m legitimately great cook, and I actually enjoy cooking on top of that. It’s not a problem with ability, it’s a problem with…
Whether it’s cooking healthy food or getting to the gym, motivation just isn’t there anymore. Honestly, there are few guys out there that don’t look great in a suit, so while wearing one every day it’s easy to forget about why you would want to work out in the first place. In college, I had intramural sports to dominate, girls to impress, and loads of vacations and theme parties that would “require” me to be shirtless. Now, I don’t even know where my summer went, can’t remember the last time I walked around shirtless, appropriately or not, and the factors that impress girls have changed entirely.
To the horror of most college girls out there, alcohol-induced weight gain is actually not something you can work off with a couple of gym sessions. Alcohol swells your fat cells and can take up to six months to eliminate from your midsection, unlike food, which is more a matter of calories in versus calories out. Didn’t I drink so much more in college? I don’t even understand this one. I just know it’s a big cause, but since I could do it before and it’s killing me now I’m blaming it more on…
I remember being able to put an entire pizza away like a champ and it wouldn’t even phase me. I remember eating plate after plate of pasta and looking no worse off. I remember a point in my college life where I swore I was losing weight too quickly and honestly couldn’t eat enough food in my day to maintain. I remember drinking bottle after bottle, case after case, and still living on top of the world. Why is this? Because my metabolism was on fire thanks to youth and an otherwise healthy lifestyle. Now? Full on cow status no matter what.
Whether it’s gym fees, healthy food at the store, field fees for pickup sports, or protein powder for that recovery factor, everything costs money. Gone are the days of bi-weekly parental stipends and gym memberships covered in your tuition fees. Healthy diets cost substantially more, and there is no walking down to the turf or the basketball court to see if anyone is playing pickup at 3pm on a Thursday. Gyms cost money, leagues cost money, food costs money, supplements cost money, and honestly, we all have bills to pay. Go out and run, you say, because that’s free? Don’t even. I hated running even when I was fit.
Am I doomed? I certainly hope not, but at this rate I’m thinking I might want to consider developing a personality or growing my bank account, just in case.