Passion or poison?

Vamos Challengers!

What’s your passion, or your poison? What makes an interest in something healthy or harmful? I was a 20 a day smoker for twenty plus years, that’s pretty bad for you, we all know that. I stopped, finally, successfully four years ago. I would smoke a cigarette twenty times a day, damaging my body and affecting people around me. But strangely, it was hardly ever mentioned as being a problem. In fact I would find people who wanted to be my allies, in order to give them permission to smoke as well I guess, as if it was our ‘right’ to smoke.

Regular readers of my column will probably have noticed my ongoing interest in getting fitter and healthier, including my personal goal which I set three years ago that I would be able to do a handstand by the end of that year, I didn’t achieve it, I was so out of shape.

Strange then that if I decide to take up healthier pursuits that some people think they have the right to comment on it, suggesting in some way that my lifestyle choices are harmful to me. I’ve experimented with different types of diets, specifically a vegan diet for the whole of January, which garnered many comments. “Where will you get your protein from?”, “There’s nothing wrong with cow’s milk”, “Are you one of THOSE funny eaters?”. The reality is that aside from writing about it in these pages I didn’t really speak about it to anyone, and yet it seemed to inspire derision from some quarters. It took me some time to realise that actually these people were simply challenged by what I was doing, because they saw it as a reflection on them, rather than my simple decision to try something new.

Another thing I have been changing, which has become a passion for me, is the daily ritual I have of going to the Crossfit Mallorca ‘box’ (gym) in Santa Ponsa Son Bugadelles and training for an hour. First thing in the morning (by that I mean 6am, sorry postmen, I haven’t yet managed to get up at 3am) I get up and go to class. I’m there with a bunch of other earlybirds and our trainer, and owner of the box, Rob Martin. We do a variety of exercises, including squats, sit ups, press ups, rowing, running, weight lifting and more. Every day is different. The crucial thing that stays the same is the support and encouragement from Rob and the other members of the group. Some of the guys are super fit, and others are like me, over 40 and flabby. Well, not so flabby these days. I had to get some smaller sports clothes this week as the ones I had begun sliding down when I skipped! That was quite a day, but followed almost instantly by comments from well meaning people “Are you sure this is healthy for you?” “Do you think you should be training so often?” My answer is that it makes me feel happy and relaxed. So is that an obsession or a passion? You can’t win. Although I did do a handstand today for the first time. Finally. mallorcamatters.com

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