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Tuesday 22nd July 2003

I had my third personal training session today. Although I am starting to feel a bit fitter I have actually put on weight since I started exercising properly again, but this is probably because my brain concludes that since I am exercising I can eat and drink what I like.

My brain has, not for the first time, been proven wrong. The rest of my body is laughing at it. For a bit. And then it gets tired because of all the excess fat it's carrying and has to stop laughing and sit down and have a rest.
And so my brain wins again.
How the rest of me hates my brain. One day we will rise up against it. Or at least become so unfit that we die and take it with us. All the thinking in the world won't be able to help it then.
Anyway, Nelson, my personal trainer (though I understand he works for other people as well, so I don't think that really makes him personal. He's anyone's who will pay him, the exercise whore!) seems to know what he's talking about and is a very agreeable fellow.
His main advice to me seems to be to relax my shoulders when exercising. Being tense in the wrong place detracts from the efficiency of the exercise apparently) So it's good advice.
But not just for exercising.
I have taken to relaxing my shoulders in other situations and I find it makes things much easier generally.
I've always been a slightly anxious driver, aware of the destructive force of the vehicle thanks to my driving instructor (who didn't ever feel the need to lie and call himself my "personal driving instructor") and his constant warnings of how a car is a dangerous weapon (though he didn't claim it was more dangerous than the Hiroshima bomb as my own satirical version of him did on TV).
But when I was driving to Somerset at the weekend I thought, "what will happen if I relax my shoulders?" So I did and I found the whole driving experience much more pleasurable and much less stressful.
When playing tennis against my nephew and on the verge of being humiliated (again quite stressful) I thought, "let's try that relaxing the shoulder thing again" and again I started to play tennis much better. Unfortunately my nephew noticed I was better than before and just raised his game a notch and still wiped the floor with me. And there was nothing I could do, as my shoulders were at the most relaxed they could be (whilst still being attached to my body), but still with relaxed shoulders my life improved.
Now I'm not claiming to have discovered the secret to a happy life, and I'm not the first to recognise the importance of relaxation in this hectic world Frankie, after all, said "Relax" many years ago, but he never thought to say "Relax Your Shoulders" and if he had then he might still have been around today - I may bring out some T-shirts saying "Richard Herring says RELAX," and then in smaller writing "your shoulders."
Or I could bring out a self-help book called "Relax Your Shoulders", the only problem being that the title would tell you all you needed to do and there would be nothing to say in the book itself (Mind you that never stopped John Gray with his slightly repetitive "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" nonsense.)

Anyway, give it a go and let me know how relaxing your shoulders goes for you. It has already changed my life and it could change yours too.
No hold on.
Send me five pounds and I will send you a booklet on exactly how you have to relax your shoulders for this to work.
Relax Your Shoulders. You know it makes sense.

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