In the 1980’s I was the most popular guy in my office during the festive season because I offered to work steady afternoons for all of December to help make my co-worker’s social lives easier and happier. My approval rating skyrocketed. Everyone was happy. They didn’t miss a Christmas party. I didn’t miss a workout. I never missed one holiday workout after midnight, after my afternoon shift ended. This, of course, prompted the usual, “Hey man, you gotta get a life” and “You need some fun” from the self-professed experts who believed they knew the secrets of what actually constitutes a “life.” Oddly, these same life coaches who believed they had a “life” because they never missed a Christmas party chronically complained about feeling like shit about being hung over and complained about the “assholes” at the party who they couldn’t stand to associate with in the first place. They filled the air waves about the inner hell and outer hell suffered during and after Christmas parties but somehow, I was missing out on all the fun.
After the New Year, the scroungers came out in full force.
“Can you workout with me?”
“Can you write out a workout for me?”
“Can you write out a diet for me?”
“I have to lose 50 lbs. Can you give me some tips?”
“I feel like shit. I can’t get back into working out. What’s the secret?”
The scrounging that went on in the 80’s was epic. The same people who mouthed off about my choice to workout after midnight while they were getting wasted after midnight, expected free advice to help solve their worst problem – the middle-age nightmare of getting dreadfully out of shape. The middle-age nightmare of early old-age – the hell of old-age creeping up in middle-age.
Mid-life crises are not created equal. They can start at any age. Mid-life crisis has a number of causes but one of the leading causes is the hell of high-speed fat-gain. The New Year mooching for fitness advice took on a new meaning in the 80s because a heightened awareness about working out was sweeping the nation. The same people who thought I was a freak for working steady afternoons and working out after midnight during the festive season suddenly become opportunistic scroungers who desperately wanted a free solution to their worst nightmare – mid-life bulge.
Don’t scold, don’t grow old. I don’t scold people because when I was growing up, old people scolded. Scolding was the national pastime for old-people in my childhood. It seemed they couldn’t help themselves – dual meaning. They could stop themselves from scolding because they couldn’t help their deep dark inner conflict that prompted the scolding, the need for control by bugging the hell out of anyone who they couldn’t control. I don’t scold people about anything related to working out because I don’t want to act old. I just remind those who ask about the danger of growing old in middle-age. The secret to fighting off early old-age is consistent exercise and not becoming a human landfill by consuming tons of garbage and waste. Inconsistency leads to inactivity leads to sedentary leads to mid-life crisis.
The toughest time of the year to make workout gains is the festive season of December. I was in a café the other day listening to “I’ll be home for Christmas.” Instantly I thought of sitting beside a crackling fire for the rest of the night instead of working out after midnight. It almost happened. It almost put out the fire. I almost lost the inner fire that’s needed to drag my ass into the gym and lift and run until I come back to reality. The reality is that if I stop working out, I will return to the childhood obesity that I have vowed against.
Pretty soon, the festive season will start just after Labour/Labor Day. It will get tougher and tougher to workout while we listen to “walking in a winter wonderland” Christmas music while its still legally summer. Soon, the festive season will take up 33% of the year, taking up all of September, October, November, and December. It will get harder and harder to get into workout mode and mood when Christmas decorations go up before beach season ends.
The toughest exercise is exercising free will in order to prevent the dreaded early mid-life crisis because of getting brutally out of shape during the festive season. This isn’t scolding. I don’t scold. Scold and grow old. I don’t get pissed off at people who don’t workout because it’s the first step to scold and grow old. I’m the voice of your conscience.
I’ve included a link at the very bottom of this article, of 1970’s workout classic – After Midnight by Eric Clapton.
Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., NCCP Level 3
Head coach – Niagara X-men football
Owner – X Fitness Inc.
Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. His website, blog, Youtube channel, and list of books are at: www.ginoarcaro.com His books include: 4th & hell: seasons 1-5, Soul of a Lifter, SWAT Offense, SWAT Defense, X Fitness Workout System. He also has written 20 editions of 6 law enforcement academic textbooks.