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  • Writer's pictureTim Oliver

Brexercise Part 2: Have a clear goal and realistic strategy to achieve it

As I and many others (both Remainers and Leavers) have written about repeatedly, the UK has struggled with Brexit because Theresa May’s government’s strategy was all over the place. That was because it didn’t have a clearly defined goal. But a clear goal alone isn’t enough, something the current government of Boris Johnson has also discovered, because you need a strategy to achieve it, and a strategy is a combination of the ends (i.e the goal), ways, and means.

Most important is the goal: the end sought. UK politics has been so divisive since the referendum because nobody has succeeded in defining what the UK’s goal is. ‘Brexit means Brexit’ is as meaningless as ‘fitness means fitness’. Fitness comes in all shapes and sizes, as does Brexit.

But be warned: setting an unrealistic goal, especially one you lack the ways and means to achieve (such as time and knowledge), is doomed to fail. This really can’t be stressed enough and I’ll return to it throughout the five lessons. ‘Do or die’ isn’t a strategy for a country (or a person getting fit unless they’re facing serious medical problems), it’s the attitude of the soldiers of the Light Brigade doing their duty—

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”

Was there a man dismayed?

Not though the soldier knew

Someone had blundered.

Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do and die.

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

Hint: if you think Brexit is ‘do or die’ then take note of ‘Someone had blundered’.

What then has my goal been at the gym?

A few months back I hit the dreaded plateau that frustrates many gym goers. I needed a new challenge and way to shake things up. Enter Rhys Morgan (of More Than Lifting), one of Gym Box Elephant and Castle’s PTs.

Rhys introduced me to gymnastic rings. When I picked Rhys I knew he excelled at calisthenics and bodyweight training, but admit I wasn’t expecting to be thrown onto the rings quite so much. I was, however, glad for the new challenge. And a challenge it has been, not least because I’ve never tried anything remotely acrobatic.

Nevertheless, I immediately set myself the goal of mastering the basics as set down by Rhys: dips, L-Sits, chin-up/pull-ups, leg raises, and inverted hang (which I think he included for the fun of making me hang upside down several times a week). I’ve had the time, thanks to GymBox I have the equipment, and Rhys has been there to guide me.

The result is that I’m confident experimenting, know the basics and am slowly working my way towards achieving my aim of performing five consecutive pull overs on a bar. My form isn't great because I keep straightening my arms, which is a big problem. But I’m easily on course to a minimum of 5 by the end of October.

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