In March of 2010 I began my journey to get in shape while kneeling, hunched over on our dojo floor. I had been aspiring to grade for my black belt and the Sensei had invited a few of us in for a bit of a training session. It wasn’t long or difficult, but it was intense and before it was even a few minutes old I was gasping for air. Sure I could kick high and punch fast and defend myself, but cardio was as close to non-existent as could be. This was the proof. It was also the realization. A slap in the face so to speak and it was followed with one instruction: “work on your cardio.”
I took that instruction and made it my job. At the start I went to the gym maybe four times a week, fitting it around school and work and karate and homework. I had no help at the gym, but I didn’t seek any out either. I went to the gym and I worked on the elliptical for at the start 20-30 minutes. I was a big guy then, 230lbs, and that was enough for me to be finished. Eventually the amount of time I could be on crept upward, I would extend the goals on the fly. I’d set out to go for a certain amount of time, but when I would get to that time, the distance would be some decimal number, so I’d go for a round number just to extend the workout. I saw results pretty much every day.
By mid April, a mere month after I had begun I had dropped about 28lbs. I was at 200 pounds for the first time in about four years. Originally that had been my goal. I rewarded myself with a new Canadiens jersey still an XL at the time, because this had been the weight at which previous weight loss attempts had ended before. Something was different this time around though. I wasn’t simply starving myself to lose weight, and I wasn’t just losing weight, I was gaining ability. I could be active longer, I could do more. This is also around the time my second semester at school was ending and I then made the gym my #1 priority of things to do in a day. I moved from only doing the elliptical machine to adding a few of the weight lifting machines. I was really beginning to enjoy my time at the gym, even if an hour on the elliptical was tedious.
I should mention here that it was not just exercise that made it all happen. I made a huge shift in diet. Fast food (besides Subway) was off the menu, cereal was breakfast and a small bowl at that, low calorie yogurt, or an apple or banana was a snack, a sammich and granola bar was lunch and dinner remained the usual types of dinner foods, chicken, steak, pasta, rice potatoes etc. but portions were controlled, and a cup of water before bed so my stomach would be quiet. I ate about 1400 calories a day, and I was starving for the first few weeks. After that it was not so bad.
This pattern of not much food and a heck of a lot of exercise continued, for another month and a half. I was at the gym every single day, doing my own totally uncreative workout, and eating like a Hollywood starlet.
After I had lost 50lbs in all I decided at the start of June to get a trainer at the gym. June 10th was my first assessment. It went well and Jodi gave me a full body workout to use. I did it, and within a few days we moved on to something else. We changed to an upper body day and a lower body day, and she told me I had to eat more. That was a hard shift to make. I had to eat to fuel what I was doing now. I met with Jodi when I needed new programs, when I had grown tired of my current routine. I was not working with her every time at the gym and I was not accountable to her, I was accountable to one person, me.
As 2010 turned into 2011 I was playing hockey twice a week, once as goalie once as a forward. I had my best season ever as a forward due in large part to the fact that I was fit now and not dying after every shift. By summer I took up running, I was more than fit now. Weight was no longer something to track but to monitor, I switched to observing muscle measurements and body fat percentage. Before the end of the summer of 2011 I ran in my first race; an adventure race called the Mudnewton in Uxbridge, a 10k trail run. I was in the top 15! Since then I have run in four more races including the Warrior Dash (top 2% finish) and nudged my wife as gently as possible toward fitness as well.
It was a long and hard road to travel, but in the end I have never done anything so worthwhile for myself in my entire life.
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I’m Chris, I live in Peterborough Ontario and I used to take up a lot more space. I do a lot of things but I would primarily describe myself as: Early Childhood Educator, Karate Instructor and Fitnessy. It took some prodding for me to get on to that last one though. Two and a half years ago now I started to take my health and fitness seriously and now it’s a regular part of my life.