Back in 2010/11 I knew I was making a rebellious declaration of war on Scotland Yard. I won’t bore you with it but you can either read my book, The Rest Is Silence, or read the whistleblowing section of this website to find out what went on.
Going into that, I made sure I was as fit as could be. I was in my early thirties, twelve-and-a-half stone of lean muscle, and trained two hours a day. A few years of trauma did quite the job, taking me down to six-and-a-half stone at the lowest ebb, and I walked away with my fair share of trauma from the stress, too.
After that, there came the real falling to pieces – I ended up bankrupted and living in a hell-hole on alternate day rations of Gingernuts while doing a physical job. By the time my 37th birthday came around in May, I was suffering the full effects of malnutrition, had no body fat left to go, and was suffering a headache which neither started nor ended. It just was.
Things have, thankfully, moved on quite a way and my body-weight is now back around eleven stone. But my joints are pretty much buggered, particularly in my hands thanks to the genetic gift of arthritis which my life provoked to pinch a little early.
Next month, my 38th birthday will arrive and it’s time to start to redress the way I enter my forties. I’ve been spurred on by my inspirational other half but I’m not doing my side of it for charity as she is. This is personal.
I remember how my body felt, and it bloody well will behave now I’ve fed it for a while.
I’ll also need to be fighting fit as I’ve turned my attention towards pursuing investigative journalism across the world – see here – and who knows when I’ll need to run or fight. Maybe never, but that’s a huge what if. I also hope my clambering back into exercise inspires others, or simply gives some good pointers on what not to do.
Today was the start and I ventured into the hallowed Sports Direct of Bletchley, where I got myself a haul of starter goods in the sale – it’s the only way to fly, my mum always taught me. These might not be ‘ethical’ purchases (if you’ve ever tried charity shopping as a bloke you’ll know why this is so hard) but these are budget pinching items I’ve saved up for from the day job. These are also the first clothes I’ve bought new in nearly two years.
I’ve bagged two Everlast T-shirts for £12, Two pairs of joggers at £12.99 each, a hoody at £12.99, two packs of sport socks for £9, and a pair of Karrimor trail runners for £69.99 reduced from £139.99 (the most expensive item here, but your feet need looking after and I haven’t bought trainers for five years now).
Because it was a sale, I’ve also snaffled a set of grip-strengtheners for £2.49 (to help my poor hands alongside a set of chinese medicine balls from Ebay), a resistance band for £8.49, a phone arm-band for £4.99, and some running headphones for £6.99
I also invested in a cast iron set of Lonsdale dumbbells, reduced by 50% to £39.99 and I still have and a doorway bar for pull ups and press ups.
Sit ups are, of course, free but I don’t know yet whether I’ll be reaching the giddy heights of the thousand a day I used to do after being inspired by American Psycho and Fight Club as a younger, less damaged man.
The only other essential equipment I already have is a firm knee support which I bought a few years back when an old injury started playing up.
All in all, this is not a bad way to spend your savings, though I am apparently still racked with guilt at buying things for myself that you can’t eat…
So, I guess this is me ready for the first run and exercises tonight.
I’ll let you know how it goes…