in just over 2 weeks from now, I will have been officially on a health and fitness “kick” for a whole year. I believe it will also be the first time ever that I’ve not wound up paying gym fees and not going for 3 months or more…
for those who have made new year resolutions
I’m not a fan of new year resolutions personally, and haven’t made one for 20 years or so now. however, for some people, it’s as good a chance as any to finally “do something about it”, whether that’s quitting smoking, getting fit, losing weight and so on (reality is, you can start any time you like, you don’t have to wait for January 1st).
getting started is the most important thing of all, however you have to follow that up with “keep going” as well. at the start it all seems very daunting, you feel as though the slightest bit of exercise is enough to break your spirit, and you can’t possibly imagine how you can achieve your goals.
the secret is simple – take it step by step
now I know that sounds a little predictable, maybe even boring, but it’s the truth. there are no magic pills, no silver bullets, no machines that you can buy “for 3 easy payments of $99 and it even folds away for easy storage”…
you just have to get started, do the work, keep going and chip away little by little.
that’s exactly what I have done in the last 12 months, and the results have been fantastic.
an example of what happens when you chip away
I often say that the very first blog entry I made on this site was “got up at 5am and went for a 20 minute walk”. and that’s the reality of how I got started on getting fitter and healthier, plain and simple.
since then I started going to a gym, the sessions have built up slowly, I completed a 10km fun run in October, and I am currently looking at the possibility of doing a half marathon in May, and a full marathon shortly after that.
make no mistake though, had I run for more than a few metres a year ago, I would have done myself serious injury, or even had a heart attack. Britt kept reassuring me that although I had set a marathon as a goal, there would be no running until I was ready. the secret weapon is actually the rowing machine…
the power of the rower
when we move down south and get a house with a large shed, I’m getting a rowing machine. it has been the singlemost important piece of equipment in this whole thing. it gives a good full body workout, is relatively low impact (allowing you to build up strength in legs, back, core muscles etc. without jarring knees, ribs and so on).
the first time I went down the gym I rowed 500m four times. the times were 2m 30s, 2m 30s, 2m 40s, 2m 40s and I was “out of puff” by the end.
I now consistently row 500m at about 1m 45s (and have gone lower on occasion), not far off breaking 30 seconds for 200m, row a single session of at least 10km session once a week, have rowed a half marathon distance (21.1km) a few times now and have even completed a full marathon row (42.2km) once.
I didn’t magically get to that level overnight – it has simply built up, little by little, pushing myself a little, setting small goals and getting faster as my muscle strength increases and my cardiovascular fitness has developed.
the achievements on the rower have translated to the treadmill and road as well – I now generally go for a jog around the local streets on Thursday mornings, and many of my gym sessions include a few kms on the treadmill. I even managed 21.1km on the treadmill one Sunday morning.
yes, me. over 3 hours of jogging. and (in a weird kind of way) enjoying it.
who’d have thunk it????
state of the onion
so, right now, with almost a year under my belt, how have things changed, really?
I’ve lost over 20kg (gained a few back over Christmas, but heading in the right direction again now)
I have had a handful of bouts of illness, mostly mild. In the previous year I was off sick almost every month!
My core fitness is the best it has ever been.
I am mentally 1000% tougher than ever before – I can actually stick at several hours of repetitive exercise and blank out nagging twinges that tempt me to give in
I make infintely better food choices while also allowing myself to eat food I enjoy
I have bags more energy, and enjoy playing with my incredibly active 3 year old son
I am a million times more likely to still be around when my son turns 18
The mental changes are slowly spreading to other areas of life as well – I’ve started to become more organised (still a long way to go).
I’ve also found more focus and the ability to simplify confidently and actually get more done that way!
I guess it’s fair to say that knowing I have been able to go from couch potato to 10km fun runner (and soon to be marathon runner) I now finally believe (and have the confidence) that I can do anything.
and that, in many ways, was what I set out to do in the first place!