It is 7am on a cold and windy Saturday morning, and I am tired and should be full of weight loss excuses. Actually, if I am honest with you, and with myself, I am more than tired. I am drained, knackered, and in need of a holiday. In the last 13 months I have had one 3 day break to Barcelona, and the rest of the time, including supposedly relaxing occasions like Christmas Eve, have been spent working in one form or another. I wish that I was tucked up comfortably safe in the embrace of my warm duvet, and have no desire whatsoever to get my arse in gear and mentally pick myself up to train back and shoulders this morning, for what will be the first of 3 separate exercise sessions today. On top of this I am hungry, and the white fish and green vegetables that is my plat du jour do not compare with the fantasies of lasagne and bacon sandwiches that flit around my subconscious. So why am I doing all this, and why am I whinging like a geriatric grandfather with a D3 deficiency?

The answer is simple – I am not in actual fact a masochist, rather I have clear goals and real desire and am just doing what is necessary. It is my sincere belief that if you have passion and desire then just about anything that you set your mind to can be achieved. Today’s post has not, ironically enough given the introductory paragraph, been inspired by my own need to whine and wax lyrical on weight loss excuses. I have zero complaints with my current lot in life, after all the discipline and forebearance are entirely self-imposed, and the pain of my own sacrifice is necessary to achieve the pleasure of long-term fulfilment. What has motivated me to rant today is my disbelief at the range of bullshit reasons that some excuse-makers (one of my favourite insults by the way, because I abhor a lack of personal responsibility) try to get away with. They are not even fooling themselves most of the time so why they try to fool me, and perhaps you if you are one of the many personal trainers who read this blog, beggars belief. If what I am about to describe sounds in any way like you, take this is as a friendly slap around the chops to get you thinking straight and living life the way you want to, not the way your weaknesses, weight loss excuses and bad habits dictate.

This past month of January is always the peak time for excuse makers to conjure up New Year’s resolutions about getting into shape “once and for all”. Our enquiries at UP have been off the hook, and commercial gyms all over the land are heaving with newbies eager to shed the flab. But now that we are in February, and the early excitement has faded away, numbers dwindle and all of the BS starts. For some it starts even before that, however I just can’t be bothered even commenting on the “I want to lose weight but I refuse to change my diet” brigade – they do exist by the way, I am not just making it up for hyperbolic creativity! What happens in the second month of every year for the erstwhile exerciser is that the reality of the discipline and self sacrifice kick in, weight loss excuses abound, and no longer buoyed by the novelty of the new regime enthusiasm drops quicker than Katie Price’s knickers.

Do you think Nick achieved this through half-hearted dieting?

Here is the deal – excuse makers exist in all areas of life, but none more so than when it comes to fitness and fat loss. Some wait for the mythical “perfect time”, others wait “until work calms down”, or “once the holiday is out the way”¦in 6 weeks time”. And these are just the more sane excuses I have heard, none can trump the baffling bullshit that emanates from those who claim they “just can’t diet”. These people need to be educated, but are too often unwilling to listen to any advice that may take them even one inch outside of their flaccid comfort zone. They need to learn to appreciate that no one ever ate anything by accident. I’ll repeat that as it a message that resonates well I feel – no one ever ate anything by accident. I mean, that cream cake didn’t accidentally fall into your mouth and slip down your gullet did it!

The secret is that there is no such thing as the perfect time at some distant date in the future. The perfect time is NOW. Every year our lives become more complicated and our responsibilities greater, the weight loss excuses accumulate, and every week, month, or year that you put off starting to make the necessary lifestyle changes means that you are most likely to have regressed further and further, making it even an even harder task to get in shape once that blue moon rises and you get things cracking!

Take myself as an example. My life right now is dominated by what one might term a “confluence of events”. I am in the middle of some hard physical preparation and spartan dieting for a photo shoot in LA in March that has me searching for the smelling salts, such is the burden of my own expectation and fear of falling flat (or fat!) on my face. On top of this, a few other things are going on in my life – I am opening a new, and the largest of it’s kind in the UK, personal training gym in London’s Mayfair district in June 2011. For those who are unaware of Mayfair, check out a London based monopoly board – it is the most eye wateringly expensive place in town, so the pressure is well and truly on. Furthermore, I have a book deadline and a host of writing commitments that cannot be pushed back in any way. I also have what is most likely the busiest personal training gym in the country (our UP gym on Paul Street, London) to take care of, something that I have been too hands on with lately due to the ongoing ill health and long term absence of a key member of staff. I even still train a few “lucky”clients. Oh yes, and to top it off I have a 2 year old son running around my house like a wild banshee, and a baby girl due to arrive in this world in just a few days time!! (you may know she arrived early, after I wrote this but before I published”¦even more pressure, but all good and positive! In fact I have been so busy that this post was written 8 days before I actually had time to stick the damn thing up on the internet) All in all this is hardly the time for me to be crushing myself in the gym and subsisting on low calories, and I could easily conjure up some weight loss excuses. But what choice do I have – life goes on with or without me and I have two options, do I want to be a participant or a spectator. As far as I am concerned there is no choice and I just do the best with what God gave me and my hard work can produce. If I sat around waiting for the perfect time, I would be one porky, broken down, old man by the time things calm down enough for me to have a distraction free life!

Because there has been an interest in my progress and because I feel it is crucial that I am not merely a blustering windbag like so many on the internet, below you will find a couple of quick progress photos. I could so easily allow myself to make excuses and pull out of the shoot, or, as I am capable of being the world’s greatest self justifier, find a BS reason to “carb up”excessively and blow it, but I haven’t and I won’t. I am still nowhere near ready yet, but it is always a useful exercise to gauge how well the diet and training are going so I am quite glad I dared show my fat photos 2 weeks ago. I am now 5 weeks in, hungry all the time, periodically overtrained, and not spending enough time with my family – but the goal is in sight and will hopefully be worth it!