April 20th has now passed and with it the weigh-in date for the getting buff challenge. To re-cap, I started the month’s race at a pitiful 110.6lbs (it’s important we include the decimal place) and it was my aim to gain more than my wife was able to lose. As I’ve grown rather fond of eating without the aid of a straw, I shall refrain from including my wife’s starting position.

Weight can be a sensitive subject for many as we know. Whether you’re overweight, underweight or even perfectly down the middle, most of us are conscious of where we stand on society’s scale. Just one look at my thighs, which tell a heart wrenching tale of being separated at birth and it’s easy to see where I stand. With the BMI of a fairground balloon I have bounced from one insult to the next, some more hurtful than others, some more creative than others, and yet I’m really rather fond of the creative ones. Why? Because if you can’t laugh at yourself then you don’t have a sense of humour. It also helps that I’m about as sensitive as the late Christopher Reeve’s big toe. My wife on the other hand is sensitive enough for the both of us, like a walking, talking, bundle of emotion.

Having tried and failed many times before, I entered this first month’s challenge with grounded expectations, albeit, after my first abdominal workout of the campaign it was disheartening not to be rewarded with instant results.
“This is a marathon, not a Sprint,” I kept reminding myself. It’s so easy to lose motivation when nothing seems to be working.

Like an obsessive compulsive (which doesn’t sound like me at all) I began to weigh myself twice daily, of course only the morning weigh-in was accurate, sadly. I soon discovered that between hopping on the scales in the evening, a good night’s sleep and hopping on the scales in the morning, I’d “lost” around 2-3lbs. It had me contemplating just how important sleep was. Within a week I was able to see the numbers on the scale gradually creeping up, finally I could see the effect of my efforts before my very eyes, if not in the mirror just yet.
There were days when I couldn’t follow my routine so strictly, which was evident each morning as I seemed to ping straight back to my starting weight as if hooked to a bungee cord. I will be honest with myself that efforts could have certainly be doubled, if not tripled on my part. There was no detailed accounting of calorie intake, instead I just ate my regular portions but threw in a calorie laden shake or snack between meals here and there, and even this was not kept to a strict routine. It showed. I found the more i wrote about this first month’s challenge, the more i felt that this person was less than inspirational. Ditching my semi-regular 5K runs during this challenge to save the burning of calories, I neglected to invest them in something worthwhile to my cause. Weights.

Approaching the weights at the gym can often be a daunting prospect. The smell of testosterone fogs up my eyes and seeps into my nostrils when I enter within ten feet of the nearest dumbbell. It’s like being a frail and travel weary wildebeest as I wander through a flock of hungry, circling Vultures, waiting anxiously to peck the slithers of meat off my bones at the first moment of weakness. I may be forced to retreat with my tail between my legs but it’ll be I who has the last laugh. While I’m subjected to work on the rowing machine to save face, it’ll be you who is bent over the bathtub this evening whilst your “spotter” in his low cut vest rubs cream on your hemorrhoids. Could I possibly be a little spiteful?
Come weigh-in day the air was filled with the stench of anxiety, I have Captain America on the line after all (my prize). The result? 114. 8lbs. Rejoice, a gain of 4.2lbs over the course of a month. The question remains as to how far I can push this over the coming months, I can only hope I don’t hit “the wall” too soon.

This month’s victory was to be mine, yet it was a bitter sweet victory at that. When my wife is able to gain as much weight as myself in a challenge that she was meant to be achieving the complete opposite, I can’t help but feel that it’s a hollow achievement on my part. Fortunately for myself, Captain America and Co. shall fit that hole rather nicely.