I’m like you, I work hard to provide for my family, and, like most people, I let myself go at the same time. I work long hours and struggle to find the time for myself or for exercise. I’ve often relied on fast food, quick meals, and leftovers which quickly add up to tight pants. And my pants were very tight indeed. But I’ve changed all that, and you can too.
We all start somewhere
Even with those responsibilities and real life going on it can be done. I will give you some highlights and reference points along my path.
- Weight: I have always been heavy, I was born 10lbs 0oz. Like a white-haired bowling ball. I am tall at 6”1’ so I can carry some weight, but not the 242lbs that I weighed at the start of my fitness journey.
- Exercise: After a knee injury in my late teens I stopped all sports, I walked the dogs and did some gardening but that was the limit of my fitness endeavors.
- Health: I am lucky enough to have been healthy even with a bad diet and no exercise, but I was on the road to early heart problems and the other issues associated with overeating and poor choices.
My turning point came from two, quite small and unrelated events that happened at roughly the same time.
- A friend of Mrs. fit2fire left her husband of 20 years for a younger (and significantly hotter) guy. How did that impact me? I love Mrs. fit2fire a lot, and she loves me. But something deep down made me ask myself “Am I really the best version of myself for her? Does she deserve more than a fat, middle-aged, podgy couch potato?” This thought eventually turned into a positive mantra.
- I bought a Triathlon magazine to send to a friend in the UK for his birthday. But because I am an incredibly funny guy, I decided to substitute a picture of my head onto one of the fit triathletes bodies inside the magazine. So when he flicked through he would find a picture of me–hilarious! I can still remember the photo, I now know it was Tim Don a famous English triathlete. My head on a fit, toned but not too muscly, slightly hairy body looked pretty good. I decided to read the magazine.
These two events gave me the kickstart I needed to think about how good it would be to lose a little weight and be healthier. But honestly, I just wanted to look better. A shallow aim but isn’t that really the reason we care at all? Mrs. fit2fire deserved better.
Time to end the excuses–I went for a run with my daughter.
The first step
I stopped that first run after ½ mile thinking my chest was going to explode, everything hurt, I couldn’t feel my hands, my head was thumping and I couldn’t breathe fast enough to keep up the demand for oxygen. I thought I might die out there at the end of my road.
“You go ahead babe, I will catch up.” I told my daughter, she was worried, she thought I may die also.
I waited, my heart slowed, my breathing became more controlled and I made one of the biggest decisions in my life, one that possibly gave me 10 or 20 extra years on the planet–I started to run home.
- The next day I went for a swim and taught myself how to front crawl. I was swimming 2km sessions in four months.
- That week I bought a bike, I started slow but ramped up to 100km rides in six months.
- I wrote myself a training program to fit in with my life, schedule, and current fitness level. And I still write my own programs today.
- I ran on the days I wasn’t swimming or biking, I completed my one and only (so far) marathon eight months later.
- I completed my first triathlon, a short distance event, after three months, I finished almost last out of 800 including women in their seventies.
But it got better.
- I completed my second triathlon, at half Ironman distance (1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21km run) in under six hours, exactly one year after that first run of death.
- I lost 77lbs in the first six months, I now workout with weights alongside my cardio and hover around 176lbs.
- I’m in my mid 40’s, keep up at Crossfit, have a beep test level of 12.3 and I am a competitive elite masters Spartan racer.
I’m pretty fit.
What can you do?
The answer is to just get on with it. Stop putting it all on hold because of fear of failure or embarrassment. Write down a realistic training plan and try to stick with it. Give yourself a chance, start slow, be determined, focus on the goal to develop a better version of yourself. Give the ones that love you, the wife, husband, partner, dad, mom, daughter, son they deserve.
If I can do it, why can’t you?