First question today comes from me to you. Is a moustache cultural appropriation if you are only doing it for the comedic value? Important note - this is not a German moustache…even I have my boundaries.
Why do I have such a sweet moustache?
Firstly - I think they are hilarious. Secondly - I can't grow a beard and my friends won't let me click on the Copenhagen beard grooming ads that plague my Instagram, so I guess I just play the hand I am dealt. Now accepting suggestions as to what kind of epic moustache I should cultivate.
My second question is maybe a little more serious and dare I say it…relevant?
In the famous words of Abe Simpson, “I used to be with it….now I’m not even sure what IT is.”
I’m pretty confident I used to be with it. In this case, "it" being the health and fitness industry. I care about my chosen career. Not in a ticking the boxes for progression and advancement type of way, but about genuinely helping people be less shit at life.
I don’t care whether this comes from exercise, diet, movement or getting a chuckle when I send you an email.
But now…I have clearly lost sight of what IT is. I will freely confess my stupidity. I guess I just don’t understand the self-love movement.
I mean in concept I get it, like I get how planes are supposed to fly even though they’re heavier than air (BUT HOW DO THEY STAY UP?????). It’s the nitty-gritty physics of it all that I find confusing. Like where is the boundary between self-love and acceptance of the human being that you are, and striving to actually better yourself? Should my clients now feel ashamed because maybe, just maybe, they think they might be a bit happier if they lost a little bit of weight or were able to move some more weight?
In theory, self-love is great. I mean who is going to love someone who can’t love themselves?
There is beauty in being confident within your own skin, in having a body that does what bodies are designed to do- move.
I am always a little cautious about speaking on this topic (jokes, I don’t care what internet people think about me), because it now seems to be the norm that people who question the difference between self-love and laziness are likely to be crucified on social media.
So where is the line?
I want a hard definitive answer so if I have a client I’m coaching, I can tick off if they are just having a self-love day…or if they’re being a lazy sod and need to get into the gym.
Luckily for me, this is my email (welcome to my internal monologue by the way, jump on in the water’s warm).
This means I can put out my own standards and tell you where I draw the line in the sand.
One of my favourite quotes (that’s right, ONE, I am a learned man of many quotes), is from Socrates.
"It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable”.
....Or to sum it up, ala Game Of Thrones, “Shaaaaaaame.”
So besides us learning that Socrates doesn’t think its a shame for women to grow old without blah blah (not exactly an equal opportunity society for our first democracy), what does it actually mean?
Socrates isn’t talking about a rock hard six-pack and an impressive gun show. He is talking about the ability of a body, not its aesthetics.
And this is where I agree.
Love your body in the form it is in, but there’s always room for improvement. Make it a body that is up to any task you wish to put it through. Make it a body that is strong, confident and able. Whether that is a size S or a size XL.
I draw the line at declaring how brave someone is for being morbidly obese in the public eye.
For proudly waving their insulin syringes for type 2 diabetes as a trophy.
For shaming anyone who does actually want to improve their body.
For declaring how shallow and vain it is that somebody should actually want to go to the gym.
If you’re having trouble breathing and can’t walk up two flights of stairs, your self-love may have gone too far. (And speaking as someone who has been in that state, I am fully aware the pendulum can swing too far in the other direction, but that’s next times email…SPOILER ALERT)
So what is the actual point of this post?
I want to help people. I want you to actually start thinking about what is self-love and acceptance, and what is saying "well that's just how my body is", while you down 4000 calories of Doritos and Chardonnay on a casual Tuesday afternoon.
I want this to hit some neanderthal instinct within you where you decide enough is enough and realise you can strive to be better. There is NOTHING WRONG with wanting to improve yourself.
Sliced bread is great yeah? But how much better is toast?
To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift. - Steve Prefontaine
Life is a gift.
Your body is a gift.
Toast is a gift.
Regardless of what you choose to do with it, don’t sacrifice that gift. And if you need help, you want to tell me how wrong or I am, or just agree with me (guess which option is the most welcome), you know where to find me.
Tell me you are genuinely struggling and I will coach you for free. Because I actually want to help. Strange for such a selfish stubborn bastard, but we all have flaws. Mine is being a sucker for people wanting to improve themselves.
Be less shit at life. But don't do it on your own. Hit me up, just a chat, truly yours, your biggest fan, this is H̶u̶g̶h̶ ̶G̶r̶a̶n̶t̶ S̶t̶a̶n̶
(ps if you don't get the Hugh Grant reference shame on you for not reading all my emails. And if you don't get the Stan reference, lucky we have Google)