“Don’t Get a Beer Belly”

She said that to me when I told her I started drinking beer and it has stuck with me since. It’s weird how something said in passing or as a joke has stayed with me and has motivated to stay fit. Each time my stomach gets that little bulge, things change. I change my diet, I drink less and I monitor my stomach like the government monitors taxes – every bit counts. So staying fit has been a Jedi mind trick for the longest time. I’m not complaining, the benefits of being fit outweigh the cons.

I have been blessed to have gone through boarding school where fitness sessions were “monitored”. Ya right! The one session of the week where fitness training was done at the furthest end of the school knowing full well the headmaster would never be trotting around. Another situation was being told to run the “cross country route” and stop at a certain point. At this point, it was off school premises and definitely out of eye shot of any teacher. Like I said, blessed to have gone to boarding school.

The details of what happened during the off-the-books fitness sessions will make for great conversation over a few beers but for now, my fitness has been built in me since I could remember. I never was concerned about gaining too much weight. My body sends a trigger to my brain saying, “Yo, there’s too much going on here and the beer belly is showing. We’re doing something about it today.” And I do something about it. Having been blessed to have gone to boarding school, there isn’t a sport I cannot learn and play within minutes. My top sports are touch rugby, basketball and soccer. I played those sports regularly and they kept me in shape.

Getting older I have found that people have less time to exercise or play sport on Sunday afternoons. Life happens and it kills the vibe. No worries! It happens to all of us so each time the beer belly creeps up on me, I take it upon myself to stay fit. I worked for the world’s most beautiful marathon and it was inspiring to see the level of fitness and passion people had for running. All the worrying stories for first timers to the continuous success of the professionals made me realise that I don’t have to play a sport to stay fit. I can just run! So I tried it out.

Running ain’t as fun as playing a sport. The competitive edge isn’t there, I don’t get to show how unfit but extremely skilful I am, plus I don’t get the high-5s of acknowledgement of how great I am to play with. It’s just me and the road! To be honest, it grew on me and it’s a rewarding feeling when I feel better and better about myself. Which is weird but the feeling after a good run is phenomenal. So that’s how I keep fit. I run!

I don’t believe in the gym mainly because I can’t afford the gym. But the great thing about running is that the route is free and the open air is more refreshing than air-conditioning. There’s something about the open road that makes me want to go back on it. And I love being active. Playing a sport and breaking a sweat is a great feeling.

Being fit or being in shape has never been a concern for me. Should I be falling astray, give me a month or so and things will be back to the way they were. And I can go back to eating whatever I want to eat and not worry about calories or carbs. Most importantly, I will never allow myself to get a beer belly and yes, it’s because she asked.

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