Damn you Rocky Balboa. Damn you to hell. This is no misguided vendetta against the popular Rocky movie series, which for all its ups and downs remains one of my all-time favourites. This is for the film’s famous Bill Conti-penned theme tune, and the ridiculous ideas it has put into my head.
You see the lethal combination of Stallone’s mono-syllabic screen pugilist and the iconic series theme has led me down a painful road, both literally and figuratively. Allow me to elaborate. If you’d have been driving through a particular rural Bedfordshire village at around 2pm today you’d have seen what from a distance looked like an alarmingly red-faced bear. It was in fact myself, in shorts covering just enough of my lower extremities to avoid classification as underwear. I personally would identify my activity at the time as running, depending on your kindness-levels you may choose to term it “brisk walking” (very kind), “shuffling” (less kind), or “staggering” (ooh, sick burn!). You see I have embarked on a New Year’s fitness regime, and this blog is here to tell you about it.
So what is so special about some fat computer nerd losing weight then moaning about it? Because, my fellow computer nerd (and you’ll have to have been to find this, WordPress isn’t exactly Google is it?) I’m a real person. Not a real person like on cynical advertising campaigns or reality shows, the men who only have a four pack instead of a six pack or the girls who have to make do with being a size 2. I’m too real. I don’t want this to turn into a self-hating rant, the sort of thing people only read after you’ve either committed a crime or gone on X Factor (look for me at the 2011 auditions!). In truth I’m average, or at the very least I have a series of attributes, some good and some bad, that add up to average. Below-average fitness. Decent personality. Disappointing hair. Varied music tastes. Constantly hungry. Extremely ambitious. Oversized waist. Obscure general knowledge (scraping the barrel, but I have won the odd quid on a quiz machine). What I’m getting at is this isn’t a pity party, this is a genuine attempt to put a normal 21st century male’s perspective on weight loss out into the world.
You see some of us can’t do the celebrity diets. I mean for a start, smack is really expensive and certainly not the healthiest way to get stick thin. And workout DVDs are simply bizarre, I mean who legitimately dances in front of their TV screaming “pump it!” while wearing a spandex one-piece that would make Mr Motivator blush? The only people I’ve met who’ve bought workout DVDs only did so because Kelly Brook hasn’t done porn yet, and while I’m sure they sweated I doubt it was in the interest of getting in shape. Pump it indeed.
Now that you’ve all suffered through a literary tangent that took in tiny shorts, celebrity smack addictions and masturbation, I will return to my original point. Why I am so annoyed at Rocky Balboa? The “Italian Stallion” has provided me with some of my favourite cinematic moments. When he did the impossible and went the distance with Apollo in the Oscar-winning debut, vanquished Hulk Hogan and Mr T in III, solved communism in IV and taught us all not to fuck with pensioners in Balboa he did so to the sound of me yelping in vicarious delight. But he has also led me to a future of joint pain, starvation and disillusionment. This is because of the cinematic technique that Rocky popularised, the musical training montage.
The musical training montage is simple. Take someone who is good at something, but doesn’t believe in them self. It could be because the task ahead is simply too hard, because their trainer died after Mr T screamed at them, or their scantily-clad African-American friend got battered by a Russian. Then have them work out. Lift weights, run, chop wood, chase chickens, hug said African-American chum all to the sound of an incredibly inspiring 3 minute song. Then, possibly with the aid of a new-found beard, have them take on the fucking world and win. This makes for great cinema…and a really rubbish workout plan.
You see no matter the task, Rocky Balboa can go from gibbering wreck to clobbering wrecking ball in three minutes, accompanied by nothing but that damn music. So I loaded up the track, titled “Gonna Fly Now”, on my iPod and I hit the road. I staggered up that hill like a seal that had been punched in the spine. Nothing. No sudden sense of purpose, no desire to take on the heavyweight champion of the world (it is still Apollo Creed isn’t it?), no desire to kick the snot out of Hulk Hogan. It can’t all happen at once I thought, so I threw on “Gonna Fly Now” again and pumped some iron. I even tried to put myself in Rocky’s shoes, picturing myself winning a boxing match and screaming ”Yo Adrian!” like a brain-damaged air-raid siren. Nothing. My arms still look like those cuts of chicken the butcher puts right at the front of the counter because they look like deflated balloons and nobody wants to buy them. One last try I thought, without the aid of an African-American guy to hug maybe even Sylvester Stallone would have needed one more montage before bludgeoning B.A Baracus. So I took to my sit-ups like a duck to concrete, and had a horrible realisation. My hunched posture, craving for Dairy Milk and stalling-car wheeze weren’t going to disappear over the course of one song, no matter how punch-a-rhino-in-the-face inspiring it was.
It is a disappointing revelation, even for a 21 year-old Journalism graduate (you didn’t think I taught myself to talk this much bollocks, did you?) who should really know better. Life isn’t a film. Mine though, is now a blog. The thrilling part about a blog is that nobody, not even the writer, knows how it is going to end. I could get washboard abs and a best-selling book out of this. I could get ligament damage and four page views. One thing is for sure, that this exercise lark is going to take more thought. Maybe if I try Eye Of The Tiger?