A refrain in “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz” has Judy Garland singing wistfully: “Why, oh why can’t I?”
It is something that I hear in my own head (minus the singing) when I confront self-image issues related to my workouts.
For the past 14 years, I have been a dedicated exerciser, working out an average of four to five times a week.
It has taken all forms: Cardio, running, weight-lifting, circuit training, and for the past seven years, a devotion to the various P90X workouts led by Tony Horton.
But it seems no matter how much dedication and drive I invest in my exercise, I cannot get the body I’m looking for.
So, why oh why can’t I have a broad chest?
Biceps the size of my thighs?
When I look at celebrities like Hugh Jackman, who plays Wolverine in the X-Men series, or Daniel Craig, who is currently playing James Bond, or Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper,” I am immediately plunged into a vat of molten envy that, when it cools, hardens around my brain.
I mean, look at those guys!
They are in incredible shape.
It’s not like I have not put in the time and commitment to getting fit, so why oh why can’t I look like them?
Well, there might be the fact that they have professional trainers who put these actors through their paces for grueling hours a day whereas my exercise routine is a DIY system at home for 30 to 45 minutes.
And they likely have gourmet-cooked, high-protein, nutrient-rich meals prepared for them around the clock, with snacks properly proportioned served to them by personal chefs.
Me? I eat as cleanly as I can but I am a slave to cookies and prone to indulging in sugary snacks when I’m anxious.
Nonetheless, I fight the nagging internal voice that says I am not pushing myself hard enough.
See that woman in the exercise video? She’s doing more push-ups than you, you panty-waist wuss!
As a working stiff who has a family and a job, there is only so much time and energy I can dedicate to exercising before I overtrain and risk getting hurt or burning myself out.
It was not until I heard Tony Horton’s first law of fitness that I started to gain some acceptance for my limitations.
“Do your best and forget the rest,” he says.
In other words, show up and do what you can on any given day.
That could be four push-ups or 40, or a multiple of that if you’ve really got something in the tank that day.
But you’ve got to chase away those mental couldas and shouldas that get in the way.
This is the time of year when we’re all looking to start the slate clean: A new year, a new you, right?
Before you start worrying about fixing your body, think about getting your mind right first.
So in 2016, I’m going to change my tune and find a new anthem.
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