It’s Like Making Bread

Okay, so over the past couple of years of the you-know-what, I have learned and just about perfected my own version of baking bread! And pizza crust, and cinnamon twists. Yeasty things that need to be kneaded and then punched down and then kneaded again.

Now it doesn’t seem that far off from a weight training workout when you think of it. I do some bench presses or push ups and get a bit of a pump to egg me on to do a few more and to want to see the benefits of my efforts. It’s kind of like that first spongy bit of dough that you are massaging into your kitchen counter to get everything all mixed up.

A few hours later your dough has risen, but a few hours after your workout, the pump seems to have gone. Do you know where I’m going with this. Bear with me, it is good news.

You might punch down the dough again and then roll it into the shape of a pizza crust or you might throw it in a well greased loaf pan. Let it rise and then put it in a hot oven.

Meanwhile my pump from this morning’s workout has left me. I’m a little tired, after all I worked out and then made bread. I eat, I sleep a good chunk of time 7-8 hours and maybe get up and do an early back or leg day. I decide to rest the next day. Life sometimes demands that I rest, but passing the mirror I notice that my shape is coming back; there’s a bit of a pump going on. Not massive, but the depleted tissue seems to be firming up, regrouping and hey, I’m looking pretty swell, or swole. If there wren’t two feet of snow on the ground I might think of walking my dog shirtless (me, not him).

Do you get my point? There is a massive amount of punching down and building up over the years and if you make sure to rest and eat nourishing food you will see that loaf rise. Your body will be there for you, on vacation, at the disco (do they still call them that?), even in the dressing room at Lululemon or Winners.

You may not be going for any massive or defined physique at all, but if you move and get rest and nourish yourself, it will show. There is not a magic bullet. Everyone I know who has sought to lose weight on some expensive mail order mysterious drink, has gained it all back and then some. You just have to be patient. I guess it took me to my sixties to be able to dispense that bit of wisdom.

Now, as I write this I am full well aware of those without access to restful environments, or affordable food or the time to exercise. Some are afflicted with debilitating pain or disease and their journey is beyond challenging. Others are coping with depression and my words of motivation are fluff.

My only hope is that those who can, do, and that they don’t get discouraged with non-instant results. It can be fascinating to watch your body grow, adapt and change, and if you give it a chance the changes can be quite positive at any age. Yes. At. Any. Age.

Now go forth. Push. Pull. And even do a little dance in your bath towel, or not, or both.

Published by: Andrew Binks

I am a writer living in rural Ontario, 2 hours east of Toronto. I was born and raised in Ottawa but spent the last 15 years in BC. Glad to be back. My first novel, The Summer Between, was published in 2009 by Nightwood Editions. My website is My fiction and non-fiction have been published in Joyland, Galleon, Fugue, Prism International, Harrington Gay Men's Literary Quarterly (U.S.), Bent-magazine, The Globe and Mail, and Xtra, among others. I am a past honorable mention of the Writer's Union of Canada's short prose contest, Glimmertrain’s Family Matters contest, finalist in the Queen's University Alumni Review poetry contest, and This Magazine’s “Great Canadian Literary Hunt.” My poetry has also appeared in Quill's “Lust” issue and Velvet Avalanche Anthology. Harvard Square Editions will be publishing a chapter from one of my novels in their upcoming anthology "A Voice from the Planet," this fall. My satirical play, Reconciliation, about Native land claims, Japanese internment, and political corruption, was read this spring in Toronto as part of the Foundry play-reading series. My play Pink Blood received a public reading, from Screaming Weenie Productions in Vancouver this June. I spoke at the AWP conference in New York City in 2008 on the merits and challenges of multi-genre writing programs.

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