Oh dear. It’s time. The post I’ve probably needed to write for as long as I’ve been doing this blog.
WARNING: THERE MAY BE SOME ACTUAL HONESTY IN THE FORTHCOMING POST
AND VERY FEW LAUGHS AS WELL ACTUALLY (EVEN FEWER THAN NORMAL, SORRY)
So, yeah. Drinking. Booze. Lovely, lovely booze. Brown booze. White booze. Red booze. Black booze. All of the boozes. This post, in case you hadn’t yet gathered, is about booze. But it’s also about me. Obviously. It would be pretty boring if I just wrote about different drinks. It will probably be pretty boring anyway. Where to begin? At the beginning.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ME AND BEER
Like most people (I guess, I haven’t actually bothered to check), I started drinking when I was around 17. I can remember going to parties before that and seeing people getting absolutely smashed on the cheap spirits and fortified wines of the day: Thunderbird, 20:20 and so on. And, much like smoking, I just couldn’t see the attraction. At that point, I pretty much associated drink with getting drunk. My attitude changed overnight when I realised I looked old enough to get served in pubs, despite being underage.
At this point, my dad stepped in. Took me out for a pint. Introduced me to his friends, none of whom I’d ever met and all of whom were at least two decades older than me. I was afforded entry into their little group, and it was based on an unspoken understanding: don’t get drunk and don’t make an arse of yourself. I have no idea if this was a lesson that dad was actually trying to teach me or not; it doesn’t really matter. The point is, I was shown that having a drink did not have to equate to getting drunk. Naturally there were times in my late teens and early 20s when I overdid it, but that was more about not realising my limits as opposed to an actual desire to end the evening power vomiting with my head down a rugby club toilet. Which if you’ve ever actually been inside a rugby club, you’ll know is not a very nice place to put your head.
Throughout my 20s, I drank quite a bit. But no more than any of my peers, and less than many. I didn’t really give it a lot of thought, if any. You don’t, do you? (Please don’t let it be just me…) I was strictly a beer kind of guy. Never drank spirits, very occasionally drank wine. And the instances of my drinking to excess were very few and far between. That’s not to say there weren’t any – there were. But not enough for me to ever think I had any kind of issue or (whisper it) PROBLEM.
Under circumstances like this, it’s easy to use examples of other people being drunk to justify your own alcohol intake. “Did you see what’s his name in the pub last night? He was fucking HAMMERED! Absolutely shitfaced, throwing up everywhere and falling about. The guy’s a complete nightmare.” And all the time, you’re thinking, ‘not like me. I had a few drinks, sure. But I can remember the whole night and I didn’t feel too bad this morning, so I’m pretty good compared to him.’. But here’s the thing: how you are ‘compared to him’ has absolutely no relevance to anything or anyone. It’s all about you.
Anyway, on with this increasingly tedious account. In my late 20s, I got married. In my early thirties, we had a daughter. And in my mid 30s, we had a son. Throughout all those years, I carried on drinking beer. There were periods when I flirted with non-alcoholic lager, which is a bit like saying you flirted with a pig in a dress. (Or a pig in a pair of trousers. I’m not saying female pigs are inherently less attractive than male ones. You’ll find no porcine sexual discrimination here.) I went to the gym. I did a couple of half marathons. I lost a bit of weight. Put it back on. Lost a bit. Put a bit more on. And I drank.
Lager. Lager and wine. Wine and lager. But it was okay. I had a job. Then I had my own business. Drinking never affected either. I never craved a drink. I was never the guy that wouldn’t leave the pub until he’d spent all his money, and I’ve known a few. Never the guy that drank the strongest beer to get drunk. Never the guy that lied about his drinking, or the guy that drank in secret. I was just an ordinary bloke with ordinary habits.
Except that one day, you wake up aged 39 and realise that you’ve had a drink more or less every day for the last twenty years.
The simple act of typing that sentence made me shudder a bit. It’s a scary thing when you write it down. But you’ve got to be honest with yourself. And that’s what this is about. Although I said earlier that I don’t crave a drink, it’s become such an ingrained part of my daily routine that it almost comes naturally. It’s a habit. A bad habit, particularly when you’re trying to get fit.
Make absolutely no mistake about it, it’s because of Freeletics that I’m writing this. I’ve just completed week 6 of my ‘comeback’, and I’m pleased with my progress. I made a few PBs during the week, and I’m feeling good. Not to keep banging on about it, but I’m showing some positive signs of improvement. But one area that’s stubbornly refusing to play ball by shrinking is the layer of fat around my waist. All together, please repeat after me:
HEY SHITHEAD! THINK THAT MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH ALL THAT BEER YOU DRINK?
I… Er… Ah.
An average night for me might have been two or three beers and a glass of wine. Not only does that immediately class me as a heavy drinker (according to the NHS), it also puts something in the region of 500-600 calories into my system. That’s more than I can burn by doing Aphrodite. Not to mention all the other negative things that alcohol does to you. So I’m putting myself through all this hard work with Freeletics, but I’m immediately undoing it by kicking back with a beer or three every night. Whichever way you look at it, that is idiotic. So Freeletics is definitely the catalyst for this, but I don’t think it’s what is going to keep me going. I’ve known for a while that I need to cut back if I want to get fit and stay fit going into (gulp) middle age. (I just screamed out loud.) I’ve got be honest with myself. Part of that is writing about it here. I’m not going to give up drinking. That would be mental. I’m just going to do it like a normal person, give my liver a few days off every week and change my routine. That’s the key for me. I gave up smoking with literally no problem whatsoever by altering my routine, so I’m hoping this will work the same way. And I’m also hoping that I’ll start to shift that few kilos that have been sitting on my waist since my mid-20s…
RIGHT. Let me tell you about last week.
Monday: Burpee max – 53 (star) and push up max – 58 (star and PB)
Tuesday: Dione – 36:58 (star and PB)
Thursday: Run – 3.4 miles at 8:03/mile pace
Friday: I, er, well, that is to say I, er, I went to the pub
Saturday: Zeus – 25:48 (PB?)
Sunday: Poseidon – 5:13 (star and PB) and Metis (6:20 (star and PB)
So that’s not a bad fucking week, actually. Started well, although I’m buggered if I can get near my burpee max PB, which is 58. But the last (and only) time I did push up max, I only managed 32 and even they weren’t all the proper versions. So it’s still not exactly impressive, but I’m pleased with the improvement. Dione – smashed my previous PB by over a minute so well pleased with that. Buggered things up a bit by missing Friday, but I decided to lose a run rather than not do four workouts in the week. I don’t think 25:48 is a PB for Zeus, but again I did all the push ups correctly and it was quicker than the last time I did that. And to finish off with PBs in Poseidon and Metis was very satisfying. If involuntarily collapsing and feeling like you’re about to vomit can ever truly be said to be satisfying.
Sorry for bollocking on about booze. I needed to get it out of my system. LITERALLY HAHAHAHA that’s not funny, sorry. It would probably have made better reading if I confessed to waking up naked in a pool of my own vomit every morning, but I’m afraid it’s not the case. I realise that it’s all kind of obvious and stupid, but there we are. I’m pleased to report that the week has started well. Particularly impressed was my wife, and when I say ‘impressed’ I mean ‘shocked and confused’. For the record, my weight yesterday was 12 stone 9 pounds (177 pounds), or about 80 kilos. My diet is pretty good, I don’t eat a lot of crap, plenty of vegetables, not too much meat. Pretty happy on that front. Let’s see how it goes. I bet you’re literally shitting yourself with excitement. I know I am.
I think I probably need to lighten things up a little after that. Let’s all sit about and laugh like tossers to this shredded version of the Beach Boys classic ‘I Get Around’. Ta-ta.