In the last 30 months, since Once We Were Sloths 2, my fitness journey has taken me into areas I have never experienced or where the passage of three decades has simply burnt from my memory.
Back in late October 2010, doing early morning circuit classes with Jim Armstrong, I often struggled to survive the warm up sessions. I was breathless within the first 50 metres of a warm up run. The simple mention of a warm up run use to almost send me into a breakdown. The thought of being completely breathless produced major anxiety. How things have changed. Recently I completed my first 4km Fun Run and have 5 x 5 km runs under my belt. Painfully slow times but nevertheless finished each one with strong reserves.
Three years ago the challenge of doing 5 pushups in a row was almost insurmountable. Yet now I have completed 30,000 push ups this year and a couple of weeks ago did 500 push ups (27 different varieties in sets of 10-30) including the last 100 in 2 minutes. Last Friday night I did 2,000 push ups over the course of a football match – mostly in sets of 50. I have gone from someone who stumbled and bumbled his way through a couple of pathetic skips to being able to do 50+ in 30 seconds.
If I could measure the energy output and applied effort in my circuit classes the average energy and effort (that at the time was 100% +) of my first 12 months would now be achieved in the first 5 minutes of yesterday’s circuit class.
I now do 2 x 60 minute personal training sessions a week and the old me would have simply collapsed after the first couple of sets of these sessions. The other week I ran up Nanny Goat Lane 5 times with my trainer Luke. In the past I would have expended most of my energy simply walking up those steps.
I can remember the way my body shook 10-15 seconds into a 20 second plank exercise and praying for it to end. My personal best for planks is now 5 min 2 seconds but generally 2-3 minutes. Now in a 20 second plank I need to raise my leg and arm to make it a challenge.
Despite being pitched at a market demographic very different from mine Men’s Health has become one of my favourite reads.
The most disappointing set back has been on the weight front over the last 12-18 months. In terms of body fat, visceral fat, muscle mass etc my results keep getting better but my total weight has drifted back over the 100 Kg mark. Indeed 4 months of intensive PT sessions and the increased running effort has seen my weight remain basically stable around 105 kg.
However the consoling factors are that my body configuration has tightened up, I am feeling slimmer and fitter and a side effect of some of my diabetes medication is weight gain. My diet has completely changed with a significant shift to protein, a decrease in carbs and processed foods and an increase in fruit and raw vegetables. Tofu has now become a regular item on my menu.
If I had only 1 goal – significant weight loss – I would have given up long ago. At the moment my primary goals are on the fitness front.
Finally it has been the support of friends, family and graduates on Facebook that has helped me along the way. On the one hand I have used my regular updates as both a motivational tool and as a means of commitment accountability. If I state I am off on a 5km run it is very difficult to later admit I wimped out. If I commit to doing 52,000 push ups in 2013 via Fitocracy then I have a public commitment to achieve that goal. From the emails, messages and Facebook chat my story, efforts and persistence has had a positive effect on others.