• Kevin Armitage

The Gym

I have always been fascinated with strongmen competitions. Giant men like Hafþór Björnsson, Brian Shaw and Martins Licis lifting incredibly huge sums of weight via various methods. These men often do not picture what Men's Health or Hollywood considers the ideal male body type, but for the most part are still in incredible shape. The reason why I mention this is not because I want to start working towards being able to deadlift 1000lbs or throw up a 160kg Atlas Stone, but more because of motivation.

I have come to the realization that I will never have the Men's Health's cover body. Granted most people will never achieve it, but for me it is absolutely out of the picture. With my build and the inevitable loose skin I will have if I am successful in my weight loss journey, it just will not be possible. I also never want my life to be consumed by the vanity that often comes with that style of physique.

So why do I mention strongmen then? I mention it because not having the 10% body fat build is ok. The vast majority of healthy men and women do not have the what the media portrays as the "ideal" body. It is high time that we started realizing that. Now don't get me wrong, I have a few friends that would fit this body type who are anything but vain and conceited, they are some of the nicest people I know. I am not saying striving for this body type is a bad thing, is it not. I am saying for myself it is not in the cards, and even if it was it would only be for vain purposes. My goal is simply to be healthy, to be able to enjoy a nighttime run on the board walk, to be able to play a game of pickup hockey on a Saturday, to be able to walk up a flight of stairs without being winded. My brother and I used to be very involved in a miniature table top game called Warhammer 40k. I mention this because we used to run large tournaments for the game (65+ people), and in order to accommodate these event we amassed quite a collection of terrain:

As seen above, terrain is the scenery you would use to set up a game board, usually 6ft x 4ft in size. Over the 6-7 years we were invested into the hobby we collected a total of 16 or so tables worth of these terrain sets. Recently, for various reasons, we have gotten out of this specific game. Selling almost everything we had related to the game. This allowed for a good amount of various debt to be paid off, along with freeing a lot of space up in our basement. As you can imagine storing the terrain took up quite a lot of space.

With our new found free space and using some of the money we got from selling off our collection, Irvin and I decided we wanted a home gym. The idea of using a public gym during Covid did not seem like a great idea, mostly because working out in a mask sounds horrible. We first went to AkFit to buy a set up but due to Covid everything was sold out with wait times being 3-4 months out. We then turned our sites to Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace. We searched for a couple weeks until we found someone selling their whole home gym set up, for a great deal nonetheless. We were able to pick it up the same night the ad was posted, please note as you will see below, taking apart a whole cable machine with only a pipe wrench and a monkey wrench was not fun. We bought a socket set before we set it up at our place haha. That purchase had most of the stuff we needed which was the cable machine and the free weights/bars. We then purchased a used 80lb heavy bag, a weight tree (holds the free weights), and some used foam mats. Finally, the only brand new purchase we made was a bench. We wanted a good quality bench as we ourselves weigh a good amount, once you throw some free weight onto that we needed some thick steel.

Please ignore the random magazine pages glued to the cement wall, the previous tenant thought it would be a good idea to glue some Sports Illustrated magazine pages to the wall with construction adhesive. We removed them the best we could. But anyways, throw in the extra TV/computer/old surround sound system we had lying around, and buy some better lighting on Amazon (not pictured) and boom we had a full fledged gym for just about $2000. Now that is not a small amount of money, but considering a gym membership costs $60 a month per person, this gym effectively pays for itself in 17 months for my brother and I.

Now I understand not everyone will have the money or the space for a set up like ours, and that is ok. The point of this post is all about motivation. In a weight loss journey, motivation is everything. Find something that motivates you to get active, this can be working out at a gym (home or public), following a home workout plan on Youtube, going for walks, whatever it is if it gets you active then do it. I feel like I do need to be honest though, this setup sat in my basement for about 3 months before I started using it, I had no motivation. That has now changed, through the amazing feedback and encouragement I have received and the messages of others being inspired to pursue weight loss in part from this blog has me more motivated then ever.

While I will never have the "ideal" body and won't ever be able to lift 1000lbs I will one day, hopefully soonish (2 years is the goal), be able to finally lose the obese designation and be able to enjoy life more fully. This will only be possible through the grace of God and the encouragement of those I love. I leave you now with my most recent food photo: Chicken Teriyaki Sushi Bowl.

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