The purpose of my journey

23 Apr

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Since I am being asked increasingly often what made me start my fitness journey and why I carry on, I thought I would attempt to answer, for my own peace of mind as much as that of the inquisitors. 

In order to explain effectively, I believe it is important to lay out a brief history. 

As a teenager, I participated in a wide range of sporting and physical activities, excelling in none, but reaching a respectable standard in quite a few. A byproduct of this, combined with youth, was a heightened level of fitness, which I continued to take for granted. I ate what I liked, both content and quantity, and stayed in the lean athletic shape associated with my levels of sporting endeavour. 

As my teens drew to a close, I had firmly discovered the art of binge drinking, associated junk food consumption and enjoyed a largely sedentary lifestyle compare with only a few years previous. 

When I signed on the dotted line to join the Army, aged 19, I fulfilled a lifelong dream. It was only when I started Basic Training that I realised just how unfit I had become. At the start of training I was occupying one of the last five slots (out of 48) during most of the physical activities; I direct opposit to the top five position I used to so easily fill as a schoolboy! This was a big wake up call, but fortunately the power of youth and a rigorous, compulsory, training programme, saw me quickly regain a respectable level of all round fitness. 

In the 10 years that have passed since I left basic training, my health and fitness has been something of a roller coaster ride, often decreasing in direct proportion to the hours I have been working, and vice versa. The most significant high points have been periods during which I became heavily interested in bodybuilding and powerlifting. At my peak I was very strong, bordering on the Army championships, but very heavy (17st7lb) and could not have run for a bus! This however was justified in my own head by my size and strength, albeit at loggerheads with the Army’s fitness policy. 

This aside, I had always met the Army’s minimum standard on fitness tests (though only just on some occasions) and as such I was blinkered to my weaknesses. This only became an issue some seven and a half years into my Army career, when I started an extremely busy job in training. I simply had no time to train or eat well and before I knew it, my fitness and indeed my weight beganto spiral out of control. The picture below, from September 2011, shows me at what I believe was my worst. I was well over 17st and not a pound of it owing to time spent onthe gym. 

A series of pictures from this era, coupled with frequent comments from colleagues made me realise this had gone too far. At this point, I was still very busy and saw no way of starting a training routine, so I laid out a short and long term plan. In the short term, I started drinking less, eating slightly better and training when and where I had the chance. Although this produced no miraculous results, I gradually lost just under 2st and my fitness improved to a level around the bare minimum standard. I told myself that some progress was better than none and eagerly awaited the opportunity to put the long term phase of my plan into action. 

In May 2012, due to a change in job, I had a six month period of courses in order to qualify me for my new position. Having known this was coming for some time, it was now, weighing around 15st4lb that I began my  health and fitness journey. 

I will explain that part of my journey in part 2 of this blog. 

 

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