PUMP IT UP: Captain Fawcett’s A-Z of Exercise
A is for AgeMy physician told me that exercise could add 10 years to my life. He’s right. I feel a decade older already.
B is for Blazer
Never lift to the point where one’s biceps strain the lining of one’s blazer.
C is for Carbs
The Right Hand Man is an enthusiastic advocate of cutting carbs. Particularly when helping himself to another slice of Victoria sponge.
D is for Daily Dozen
Calisthenics of the 1920s, invented by Walter Camp, designed to exercise “the unseen and usually unremembered muscles”. I say!
E is for Everyday Errors
Do not confuse ‘exercise’ with ‘extra fries’. The results are invariably discouraging.
F is for FitBit
A device worn upon the wrist encouraging fellows to walk 10,000 steps a day in exchange for a single moment of tingling vibration. Other methods for tiring one’s wrist are available.
G is for Gorgonzola
A rich, ripe odour emanating from old plimsols
H is for Habit
PG Wodehouse said ‘The habit of exercise should, like the Measles, be caught young’. Most wise.
I is for Indian Clubs
Donald Walker’s 1837 book included strength training with clubs from India which, according to a British officer, offered “the most effectual kinds of athletic training known anywhere”. Maharajah Moustache Wax is the perfect complement.
J is for Jerks
Don’t be one. However many PBs one may have, ahem, ‘smashed’, a gentleman wears his smugness on the inside.
K is for Knuckles
Wot, fisticuffs? No indeed, for bare-knuckle boxers followed the London Prize Ring Rules, such as not thumping a chap when he’s down. Quite so.
L is for Lunge
Frequently confused with ‘lunch’ by the Right Hand Man. Unless duelling with swords, lunging is uncouth and to be avoided at all costs. However, a sudden forward movement is permitted if catching a rapidly falling object, such as a crystal decanter or rosewood cigar box.
M is for Machines
Contraptions made of the finest mahogany with pulleys, cords and weights attached formed the new fangled gymnasium equipment of the Victorian era. Health and safety was secondary to the correct exercise attire. Orthopaedic machinist Gustav Ernst’s diagrams for his portable home gym featured gentlemen in neckties, frock coats and starched collars and women in corsets and crinolines. As etiquette guides of the era advised: “Horses sweat, men perspire and ladies gently glow.” How very civilised.
N is for Nowhere
The destination of anyone running on a treadmill.
O is for Ombrophilous
Meaning: tolerant of large quantities of rainfall. Essential trait of all British runners, cyclists and hikers.
P is for Phantoms
No need to fear one’s gym is haunted. Everyone inside is exorcising.
Q is for Queensberry Rules
The English aristocracy further refined pugilism with an etiquette named for the 9th marquess of Queensberry. Gentlemen, the gloves are on.
R is for Resistance Training
Also known as refusing to go to the gym.
S is for squats
Life is full of ups and downs. Whilst in motion, avoid squits squirts and squeaks. Never squat on a squirrel, squire or squadron leader.
T is for Thong
When asked if anything is worn under the shorts the only permitted response is ‘No sir, it’s in perfect working order.’
U is for Ukulele
When one’s resolve is flagging, there’s nothing like a rousing tune upon the ukulele to boost morale and encourage a chap to achieve his personal best. I call upon all gymnasiums to hire a wandering troubadour with immediate effect.
V is for Vim and Vigour
Exercise for the cultivation of vigour and vitality leads to a bounce in one’s step and a renewed cheerfulness of demeanour. Huzzah!
W is for Whiskerando
A whiskered person. Such as Samson whose superhuman strength resided in his hair. Keep growing. AHTH.
X is for Xerotripsis
Avoid dry friction, rubbing or abrasion by applying lubricant. Unless of course one enjoys it.
Y is for Yetis
“When I go to different countries on my expeditions, all the porters and Sherpas call me Brian Yeti. I look in the mirror in the morning and see a great big beard, very heavy and fit, and I love myself.” Brian Blessed, never one to lack self-esteem.
Z is for Zen Proverb
“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day unless you’re too busy, then you should sit for an hour.”