Here in the relative safety and comfort of our American way of life, we’ve come to a crossroads: thanks to a strong economy and the variety of food sources afforded to us by way of capitalism, we’ve all taken to eating as a hobby, rather than a utility.  Our monkey brains are hard-wired to appreciate calorie dense foods, because in the savanna our ancestors called home, a calorie dense meal was a jackpot scenario, rather than one of a dozen fast food options you drove by during your lunch break.  So each time we treat ourselves to a hearty pile of fat pills, our brain rewards us with endorphins, while the rest of our body punishes us by feeling sluggish, bloated, and, of course, getting fatter.

I’m no exception.  I started my Marine Corps career as a scrawny 155-pound Private First Class, and finished it as a 230 pound sergeant with a body fat percentage that just screamed “this guy only drinks clear alcohol.”  I took fitness very seriously as a Marine, because, as far as I was concerned, being able to win a fight is the first prerequisite to serving in Uncle Sam’s favorite gun club.

When you spend your money on supplements and tattoos instead of new shirts.

However, six surgeries, lots of broken bones, a few slipped discs in my back and a line of work that demands that I spend twelve hours a day staring down the barrel of a Lenovo Laptop has conspired with my constantly increasing age to start making me soft – particularly in the last few months.  A pretty run of the mill hairline fracture in my right wrist left me struggling to type as quickly as usual, allotting less of my day to shenanigans that help me burn calories, and severely limiting my workout options.

With my cast off and eager to try to offset the combination of muscle loss and fat gain I’ve been compiling for the past two months, I figured I’d hop on the internet to see what new revelations in workout science the world’s collective intelligence could offer me, truly hoping that I’d find some new combination of picking heavy stuff up and moving my feet around that could cut twenty pounds of regret off of my midsection before my wife got home from work tonight.  Unfortunately, what I found were lots of workout pages promising exactly that sort of crap.

I’ll level with you guys, my workout game has suffered seriously from a combination of compensating for injuries, intermittent loses of motivation, an incredibly hectic schedule, and let’s be honest with each other here, just losing a step as I rack up the birthdays.  Some guys continue to perform like an elite athlete well into their 40s, but sometimes I can’t help but feel like I was built with different intentions.  I think I may have been best suited for the hunter/gatherer lifestyle, wherein I’d have already died in battle or been awarded the title of “village elder” by now.

Since modern civilization has cursed me with a long, fulfilling life that I’m expected not to spend hammering peanut butter cups down my gullet and being wheeled around in a little red wagon, I’ve had to find ways to keep myself working, even when it hurt, even when I was tired… even when I didn’t have the time.