Neo sat before Morpheus, his world destroyed and forever changed.
“You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes,” Morpheus warns as he holds out two little tic-tac sized pills.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Neo gobbles down the red pill and we all know what happens next.
(One amazing movie, followed by two subpar let downs and then Speed Racer… oh God, Speed Racer.)
When you embark on a journey to be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, punch through solid brick walls, defeat hulking menaces hell bent on the destruction of your hometown, defeat Agents capable of bending the world to their will or make members of the opposite sex swoon when you enter a room, you have the same choice.
You can take the blue pill and continue meandering through life, using exercise as a crutch for poor lifestyle habits and as a rationalisation as to why you just have to eat that family sized pizza. Or, you can take the red pill and begin to structure your life around your exercise.
The only problem is, when Neo took the red pill things got harder.
Our hero and Messianic saviour (worst plot development ever) went from eating steaks, ice cream and real food, to colourless grey slop. He wasn’t able to enjoy the outdoors anymore; instead, he was confined to Zion or the Nebuchadnezzar for fear of death by machine. He had to relearn how to use his muscles and his senses, and train them to be strong in the real world.
And, throughout the three movies, Neo kept falling through the rabbit hole, getter deeper and deeper with every passing movie minute.
If you’ve chosen the red pill, then you’ll know not only how vacuous and expansive the hole of the fitness world is, but also, as you become more in tune with your body you’ll realise that life is a never-ending journey of self-discovery and introspection.
Sometimes I often wish I had taken the blue pill and remained oblivious to the biomechanics of the squat, the dangers of mass media health related reporting and the negative long-term health effects of ‘healthy products’ such as vegetable oils, among others.
Keeping up to date with the hundreds of daily fitness blogs and ever changing research is a full time job, not to mention the delicate process of sorting through the bro-science to find the gems in the meathead saturated rough.
The blue pill would have been easier. I wouldn’t be aware of the damages late nights caused my metabolism or how they hindered anabolism; I wouldn’t even know what the word anabolism meant. I could skip workouts without that little voice in the back of my head tsking like my Jewish mother after she ‘knew something would happen’. Gone would be the days of me wondering if I was an extrovert, introvert, ambivert, how the social media influences us and persuades us, the way food affects our genes, how companies craftily create our habits or the need for soft tissue work and periodization in a training program.
If you take the blue pill, you remain oblivious and ignorant to the world around you, and the world within you.
(Wow, that sounded profound.)
If you take the blue pill, you end up living a normal life that is half lived, never truly understanding the limitations and strengths of your body and your mind.
If you take the red pill, you’re exposing yourself to the dangers of information; stretching yourself to become the best person you can become. Sometimes the journey will be treacherous, requiring you to slow time and dodge misinformation or go with your gut when everyone else around you is shaking his or her head.
You’ll become more than normal, you’ll become an ideal.
Morpheus never told Neo it would be easy, he simply told him his life would never be the same.