New to exercise? Read my journey…
I wasn’t always a fit guy. I started my focus on improving my lifestyle about 10 years ago, to support my wife at the time (who also decided to lose weight). I was too comfortable in my government job and in my marriage. The 30’s spread had hit and I bloated out to over 115kg’s. I decided for my kid’s sake I would focus on healthy eating and get more exercise to keep up with my kids. I’m not going to tout this as a weight loss regime but I did nothing more than enjoy a coffee for breakfast, a simple Subway for morning tea, lots of water, and then a calorie controlled dinner. I didn’t feel like I was missing out and I still to this day only feel like a coffee for breakfast, subway mid morning and some fruit to fill the day till dinner. I do enjoy a beer or wine in the evening but usually after I’ve been for a jog or finished Kung Fu training. That’s been my life for the last 7 years.
I can tell my metabolism has slowed as I’ve aged because this hasn’t been enough to lose weight any more but its just enough to maintain my 85ish KG that I carry these days. Incidentally although that I am told I look fine and I don’t need to lose any more weight, that weight for my height and age (1.85m and 42) puts me at the very top end of the healthy weight range. Although the BMI is only a guideline it will give you an indication of where your weight should be at. According to the BMI 75kg is closer to the middle of my healthy weight range.
As humans we are prone to excess. As we grow up, we fly free from the control of our parents and eat and drink a little too much “just because”. At this stage of our life we are at pre-contemplation. We don’t think there is anything wrong and because weigh gain is a slow creeping occurrence, years can slip by with tens of KG’s added before we decide there is need for action. Its only when those lifestyle choices takes its toll in one of various forms that we may take action. This can be bullying or a snide comment about our appearance, a single life event as a result of our lifestyle choices, heart attack or medical emergency or some other reason that makes us look at ourselves with fresh eyes and wish for a better body.
As we start to think about change we move into contemplation mode. This is a powerful time but the hard work hasn’t even begun. We need to arm ourselves with information. Talking to people about their success and failures and challenges, making a pro’s/con’s list can assist to motivate ourselves to move through this stage to action. I don’t really remember what spurred me to action and how long I was in the contemplation phase but I have always carried a back injury from my days as a tradesman and the pain gradually got worse as I carried more weight. So I think I just went from precontemplation to action in quick succession (although it’s more likely I was in contemplation for a while until my then wife also decided to make a change). It was made easier that I was leaving for work at 6 in the morning to start at 7. I just didn’t have time to eat breakfast. From memory I was up early enough to make a coffee, stoke the fire to warm the house for the kids and wifey and then I was off to work. By mid morning I was hungry so I would eat. I think I staved off hunger the rest of the day by drinking water but I don’t recommend this. Its not particularly healthy and may cause failure. If you think of eating something unhealthy or at the wrong time as like having a cigarette (when you are quitting) then it helps to put the quest for health into perspective. A healthier alternative would be to eat small portions of food every few hours to keep the metabolism up and reduce the urge to eat a larger meal. Also if you are trying to quit smoking, eating small portions of fruit or drinking water when you have the urge to quit can help. If you are smoke and are at precontemplation then you will have no idea what I am talking about.
I buy lots of fruit and veges to keep my kids belly full with healthy food. They don’t eat it all, so I keep the remainder handy and in the fridge as a cool healthy snack to stave of hunger pains where I am likely to eat a larger meal.
New Years 2014 I did the NY resolution thing and decided to start jogging. This was for a few reasons. I always struggled with jogging. Plus I had a Martial Arts grading looming and I was worried about my fitness level. So I thought two 5K jogs a week would help. It did and it turned into three 6km jogs and one 10km+ jog a week. So I support the decision to start jogging by throwing out my crusty old shoes and spending what I considered an absorbent amount of money on new joggers. Turns out it wasn’t but it was still money well spent. I’ve since found out you should replace shoes every six month if you are jogging socially (twice a week) and more frequently Every few months) if you are training seriously!
As my exercise levels ramped up so did my thirst for more exercise. AT one point just this year I would wake up, pull on shoes and hit the road even before I knew what I was doing. At that point I was running two 10KM plus jogs and two 6K jogs all around the 6 mins/km mark. Not too fast not to slow. The highlight was a single 17KM facebook solo event I took part in to commemorate the death of an ordinary woman who was killed one morning while she was out jogging. Sad. I wanted to do 20 and I would have been able to if it wasn’t for the pain I felt in my knees. I felt at about the 10K mark I could run forever. Neither my lungs nor my legs would tire at that pace. I felt like 20 K’s was definitely achievable. At about 12 K’s my knees started hurting, at 15 I was worried I was doing damage and I stopped knowing I still had to walk 2 K’s home. But it was the highlight in my jogging career. The glow in my muscles felt fantastic and although I hadn’t completed 20 I had done a solid 15 K’s and had jogged/walked 17k all under 2 hours. Not long after this I changed my goals and I became focused on weight loss and upper muscle strength through resistance training. I came across a simple but comprehensive starters training workout from the one of the good folk from Fitnance, Paul Rackermann. I undertook a 8 week training regime to gain muscular strength. I lasted 3 weeks and I injured my tendons in the upper forearm. More commonly know as Tennis elbow. In short I trained at too high an intensity and injured my under prepared muscles. I will restart that regime, modify the exercise to ease the load on my forearms and start all over again. So that’s where I am now, in recovery mode, with a taped elbow biding time till I heal properly.
Its since been healing well and it’s given me moe time to put focus back on jogging. I bought new shoes again from Rebel Sports Maroochydore the other day and the sales man Neil invited me to jog that Wed night. SO I did and have met more like minded people. Its funny where this journey has taken me. Oh and I ran a PB for 10K too. All with my new shoes, spurred on with some friendly competition.