i recently asked my facebook “minions” where they were at in their fitness and/or running journey. one of the responses i got was from a guy whose situation sounded a lot like mine was, and he was very keen to sort his sh*t out, but didn’t know where to start.
so i started to write this response to him as a private message, then figured that it would be even more valuable to the world-at-large if i turned it into a blog post… so here it is:
OK, so my story is not a million miles away from yours. I smoked regularly from the age of 15 until just before I started making the changes I’ve made over the last couple of years.
I didn’t eat healthily, I didn’t exercise, I have worked at a desk since I was 19.
At my heaviest I was about 142.6kg (315 pounds) – I’m 6 foot 6 tall and always convinced myself that I could carry it off. Truth is I couldn’t, and I was very very unfit, at the age of 42 I was probably not far away from a heart attack.
One day I basically decided to do something about it, something inside me woke up. I was fed up with spending a few minutes running around with my 2 year old son and then finding I was wiped out for the whole weekend after that. Fed up with being ill all the time, fed up with feeling like crap.
I’m sure this will sound painfully familiar to you!
before I go any further, please note…
I am NOT a qualified personal trainer, nutritionist or medical specialist of any kind. the information here is based solely on my own personal experiences and you should DEFINITELY seek additional input and advice from the professionals!
In the first instance, if you haven’t done it already, you need to go see a doctor and get checked out. Make sure there are no underlying medical issues, no physiological problems that exercise or diet change might have a negative impact on.
That way you will also have a clear picture of where things stand – this will be important because when you look back a few weeks or months down the track, you will realise how far you have progressed!
I suggest you also take photos of yourself in your current state just for future comparison – trust me, it is VERY motivating to see the visual progress.
Where you actually start after that is very simple.
1. Drink plenty of fresh water every day
2. Start a daily walk routine and stick to it
3. Start tracking and thinking about what you eat
These three things alone will help in more ways than you might think.
1. by replacing “bad” drinks with water, you WILL start to feel more energised, you will start to rehydrate and you may well find that you are less hungry
2. establishing the exercise habit is just as important as the exercise itself. start gently, just walk a little. but do it every day. walking is a great, low impact, form of exercise and you’ll get out in the fresh air too – which will help with physical and mental well-being.
3. just by thinking about your food consumption, you will probably find you start making better decisions.
These are the steps I took in the beginning, following the advice of my trainer, Britt.
You can read exactly what I did, what I was thinking, and what I was told by referring to the earliest posts on this blog:
these initial steps will help establish some better habits, and from here you can build on that with structured exercise and eating plans.
you can find out a lot of information about this from the internet and various other sources. if you read through my blog posts you will probably find a lot of stuff that will be useful.
but don’t underestimate the power of working with a trainer!
I don’t know if you have access to a personal trainer in your area, in my case I was actually working “remotely” with Britt (even though we only live about 30 or 40km apart)
Britt would monitor my progress via the blog, and would email me new programs, give advice, suggest changes etc.
This worked for me – I was able to take expert advice and then put it into action at my own convenience without having to join a regular fitness group or meet up with the trainer for one-on-one sessions.
rowing is a great way to build a fitness base
whether your goal is running-based or not, the rowing machine is a fantastic piece of equipment that can give you a great full-body workout, without the impact that running and other forms of exercise might bring.
while you may look at my exercise sessions now – including 20km runs, half marathon rows, even a marathon distance row once, my very first gym session was a lot different:
over the next 8 months I slowly built up my rowing, added in weights and some treadmill work. all under the expert guidance of Britt, the personal trainer.
by the time we got to september, amazingly, i took part in my first ever 10km fun run – at the start of the year, that idea would have been totally unthinkable!
little by little the mountain was scaled
and the story just carried on from there, following the exact same model.
little by little. step by step. making changes, small tweaks, slowly building up.
until the first half of 2013 where i was suddenly following a beginner’s marathon training schedule, which incorporated a half marathon event 4 weeks before the big one!
it felt impossible, pretty much the whole way to the day itself, even while I was out on the course (I was out there for a total of 6 hours and 47 minutes!) there were times when it felt impossible.
but it happened. i crossed the finish line, and it was all based on incremental changes to the first ever exercise session – a 20 minute walk around the block with my dog.
so where do you start??
you start with the knowledge that you can do it. if you want to.
and you HAVE to want to. really want to. deep down inside your very soul “want to”.
if you’ve got that, and you follow the advice given above – you can do it!