Government spins a web of deceit
As you may or may not be aware by now, the government motion to add tax to all sports nutrition supplements which had previously been untaxed has not only been passed by the Tory led government in Westminster but extended to ensure that no aspect of the sports nutrition industry escapes taxation, whether that be ready made drinks, whey and milk protein powders, or weight gainer drinks, preworkouts, post workouts or creatine. Quite simply, the government has extended this to every supplement on the market and the law comes into effect in October.
At Predator Nutrition we were the first to alert people about the intentions of the government to regulate the life out of our industry, way back at the start of the year over a month before the budget announcement. Despite our best efforts, time, and significant money spent in combating this ridiculous law which somehow leaves one class of milk product such as milkshakes VAT exempt but makes all milk products designed for sportsmen subject to VAT, we have to accept that we live in a country where the power resides in the hands of a wealthy, elite symbolised by the millionaires George Osborne and David Cameron who drove this bill through – two men who clearly look like they have never exercised in their lives, let alone met some of the dedicated bodybuilders or athletes who buy these products. I am sure it is no coincidence that the true target of this law will be the working class males who make up the majority of the bodybuilding and weight training public. Let’s remember that when it comes to the next election.
While this tax has come to pass you can be sure that we will be working hard to try to keep the rise in the cost of supplements, especially protein powder, to less than the 20% rise mandated either by sourcing our own products more or else demanding deeper discount from manufacturers, or accepting even smaller margins on supplements. In the meantime I looked forward to a break from work by attending the cinema in the evening…
Spiderman to the rescue
So there I was queuing for tickets to Spiderman at The Light cinema in Leeds. I mused while I waited for tickets, how ironic it was that the junk food on offer was zero rated but I digress…
Spiderman had always been my favourite superhero growing up as, unlike the likes of Superman he wasn’t born invincible. I think one of the ideas I liked from the Spiderman comics I read growing up was how Spiderman was always stuck between two opposing forces, one which caused him to use his gifts to indulge himself while the other, epitomised by his Uncle Ben, stressed that with great power comes great responsibility.
One of the things that makes me shake my head when it comes to bodybuilders is how many can so frequently exhibit a shallow self absorption that can make them unpleasant to be around whether it is rigidly running their lives in accordance to bodybuilding myths on what it means to be a bodybuilder or, in the worst examples, using their size to intimidate others. When you see superheroes like Spiderman and Batman fight against bullies, tyrants, and megalomaniacs, it makes you wonder what they’d think of the guy walking around at night in a t-shirt two sizes two small carrying a pair of bookcases under his arms.
Anyway, as I settled down into my seat at the start of the film I noticed a commotion to my left. Ordinarily I might just focus on the film but I don’t know whether it was being riled up by the day’s events or more likely riled up by six months worth of government interference in my life, but I switched my attention from the film to witness a scene I’d not encountered for years, not since I used to work as a nightclub bouncer in Leeds.
To my left I heard a young guy who was sat with his friends, maybe 4 or 5 in total, remonstrating forcibly with a couple at the end of the aisle he was on. You occasionally get some chavs in the cinema, especially on Orange Wednesday, so scenes like this might not be too unfamiliar to you. As I watched though, one of the young guys leaned across his friends and half stood up across a young woman shouting “Who the fuck are you to tell me to shut up?” or words to that effect. I’d noticed his group were chuntering like ducks when they came in so wasn’t surprised she’d asked them to be quiet. Next to the young woman was her boyfriend who seemed a bit intimidated by this guy.
If I was a superhero now I felt less like the cool, funny spiderman and more like Dr David Banner, slowly beginning to see red mist clouding my vision.
I think the woman said something about having asked them to be quiet as the film was on and this guy then totally flipped and raised his hand threatening to hit her while the boyfriend shook his head but intimidated, was unable to act to do much more than ask the guy to take his seat.
Within me I felt something snap. Whether it was mulling over the superhero storylines before the film or suddenly seeing in this guy, a visual personification of the bullying government and their agencies, but you might say full on hulk mode was activated!
As I stood up and said something not particularly nice about the origins of this guy, his family, and how my size ten boot would fit one of his orifices very well, he sat down immediately. I think he was worried that the vein in my forehead still planned to attack him as he didn’t say a word after this.
In the end the boyfriend went off and got security who took the offender away, and I was asked to give my version of events to security during the film. It was nice to see that the boyfriend came back and thanked me for my assistance and I hope the couple don’t get intimidated into not going out again.
It made me think as I watched Spiderman battle bullies on screen though, how often do people, myself included, actually use their power for a greater good. As the film continued I was left with the nagging feeling that while we try to help others as a business via our charitable endeavours in the community, plus in giving advice whenever we can, that both myself as an individual and Predator Nutrition as a business, needs to do more to contribute to helping others in their lives. For customers in particular, we need to work out what else we can do to enable those who buy from us to reach their goals. With all my knowledge of training and diet I still haven’t managed to get everyone I know into the kind of physical shape they desire so rather than blame the pupil, I think the teacher (me) needs to accept they need to improve. From this end I really hope people who participate on the Predator Nutrition Forum hold us to account if we aren’t fulfilling our promise to provide unparalleled support in assisting you to reach your goals.
In business it would have made a lot more financial sense to lay down and take your medicine when the government regulators and taxman comes. It would certainly have made more sense to run a simple operation and dispense with the free articles, blog posts, and expensive forum that we run but after tonight I can safely say that will never happen as the events of tonight made it even clearer than before what is required of us as a business and me as an individual.
Similarly, in life it can look like the smart choice to focus on ourselves and not worry about anyone else but that is a mistake. Not only will you find little meaning in your life, but you actually limit your chance of greatness. One thing I have seen time and time again is that the most successful people in any walk of life are not the ones who have the least stress and most time to devote to their chosen activity, but the ones who see life as a game where many skills need to be mastered and where success in one will enable the confidence and belief to foster success in others. In the same way there aren’t any one-dimensional superheroes, so you shouldn’t see life as being all about a preoccupation with yourself.
As I walked out of the cinema I imagined how Spiderman felt at the end of a day of battling enemies – battered and bruised maybe, even exhausted occasionally, but with a sense of purpose that gives meaning to his life. On a bad day that was an uplifting message to end the night.
© 2012, Reggie Johal. All rights reserved.