Monday, 23 September 2013

My fitness revolution....

An awful lot of people have read my post 'Bigger isn't always better', and the main question I need to address is, "How did you lose all that weight???"

I warned you before, I don't have all the answers, or a quick fix to help you drop a dress size in ten minutes... but I do have a really simple formula that I promise will work... 


Simple right? So why did I never do it before? Why are you not doing it right now?

I didn't/ you don't want it badly enough...When I decided, I was going to do it; I never looked back. For me, it was the realisation that life is really short, and that my weight was not only damaging my enjoyment of life, it could actually be the cause of a far shorter life than I wanted for myself. 

Like most people, I started out losing weight by cutting out the obvious things...chocolate, pizza, crisps etc, and by doing the obvious exercise... walking aimlessly on a treadmill. It worked. I lost weight. 

Initially the weight loss was pretty effortless, all I needed to do was not eat crap. Simple. My body was so conditioned to eating all the wrong foods, that once I started eating 'healthy'* food, the scales started to drop immediately. I became an avid gym goer for two main reasons. Firstly, I wanted to see results faster, and secondly, I had to get away from being sick; I needed something to distract me... to help boost my mood and energy levels, to get my out of the house, and most importantly, to help me feel like I was taking positive steps towards restoring my health. 

After a year or so, I had lost over 9 stone...fantastic right? You'd think I'd have been thrilled... to a point, I was. But..I wanted more...I still had weight to lose, I still had my eye on a particular dress size, I still didn't feel happy with myself. 

Lack of progress
I hit a wall. The scales stopped moving...this was going to be a real issue for me. It was the weekly movement of the scales that had kept me motivated so far. I was still eating 'healthy'* food, and going to the gym... what had gone wrong? 

'Healthy' crap food
You might be wondering why I've been referring to 'healthy'* food... Well, it turns out that I was actually still eating crap food, the only difference was that the fancy packaging and marketing campaigns were telling me that it was 'healthy'! Like a lot of people, I never really considered that Special K isn't actually healthy, or that Weight Watchers bread wasn't good for you, or that low fat yogurts weren't the better option. 

Educate yourself
I spent a lot of time on the internet looking into why my weight loss had turned out that whilst I was eating a low fat diet, I was consuming an awful lot of sugar without even realising it. Like a lot of people, I had always thought that a low fat diet was the way to go for weight loss. Consider producers remove the fat but what do you think they replace it with? Short answer... sugar. Check out this video, read this book, visit this website and you'll most likely change your opinion of how clean your diet is. 

Real food
I decided that unprocessed, whole foods were the way to go. For some reason, it just suddenly made sense to me. If I was going to heal my body, and fuel it with food... why not make it the best food I could. Now my diet is fresh meat, vegetables, fruit and nuts. That sounds restrictive, but it's really not. I'll show you that if you promise to stick around and keep reading for a while longer... 

The most difficult thing to get your head around is that you're basically going against everything that you've been told about nutrition in the past... basically fat is the devil, you'll have no energy without bread and potatoes etc etc. I promise you.. take a look at both Paleo and Primal and you'll see that eating real food is how you'll see real results. I jump between Paleo and Primal... it doesn't really matter, my focus is on eating good food that will not harm my health. 

Starvation diet...
So my diet was clean... I still wasn't losing weight.. This was driving me to despair. Weight loss is meant to be as simple as consuming less calories than you're burning, and therefore arriving at a calorie deficit. Wrong again...I wasn't eating enough, and my body was hanging onto the fat. How the hell did that happen?! 

I had become so frustrated with what I perceived to be a lack of progress (lack of weight loss), that I reduced my food intake to ridiculously low levels, and increased my gym activity. When I started to eat real food, I was so used to eating very little, that I worried any increase in calorie consumption would cause weight gain. 

Lifestyle overhaul part 2..
I had focussed on cardio training for the first year, and had seen great results which as I mentioned had stalled. A lot of the Paleo/Primal sites I frequented recommended strength training...I wasn't convinced... 
  • 'lifting weights is boring'
  •  'you need cardio exercise to be fit'
  •  'lifting weights makes girls get big and muscular'
  •  'I've no idea how to lift weights'

All of these concerns were popping into my head, but I knew that training hard, eating little and seeing no results wasn't sustainable. It was likely that I'd return to former bad habits, and I really didn't want that. 

My fitness revolution...
I booked a few sessions with a personal trainer, but didn't feel like he had much interest or passion in his job, so I didn't feel motivated by him at all. It was then I decided I was going to do it right... I had developed a taste for lifting weights, and I wanted to push it further. I got in contact with James Hanley of Revolution Fitness and straight away knew that I'd found a trainer who could help me get results. You'll find lots of into about James on his Facebook page (link above) and website. I'm not here to sell RevFit, or James to you, I'm trying to show you that sometimes it takes a a few tries to reach our goals, but with the right people around you, you will get there. I've found a gym that I love training in, with members who genuinely care about health and fitness rather than quick fixes, and a trainer who left a desk job to help people achieve their goals. 

RevFit isn't a commercial gym who don't care if you show up after your membership fee is paid. Honestly, I think it's got something special...trainers who are accountable for your results, and members who push each other through every training session.

The best description I've heard so far is ripped straight from a RevFit email which quoted Gar as saying "People ask me about how we train. So I tell them we lift really heavy things, then we lift not so heavy things, then we lift ourselves (usually really fast)".

I eat lots, train hard a few times a week and am shocked by the results I've seen. Sometimes it takes a while for it to make sense, but once you find the right balance between nutrition and training, you'll never look back.

I can't give RevFit all the credit for my results. James is a reasonable guy, so he wouldn't expect me to. I've had to work seriously hard, throw myself into every session and commit to good nutrition. BUT... and this is really important, James has shown me how to train properly, effectively and safely. I'm really strong these days, but what's more important than the numbers, is that I don't injure myself. I need James to slow me down sometimes, and remind me that good form and technique is non negotiable. For me, this is one of the key things to look for in a trainer.... someone who looks out for you, and stops you being an idiot and destroying yourself.

Finding RevFit was a game changer for me. I've learned, and continue to learn so much from the trainers and members, that I couldn't see myself training anywhere else.

What I've learned about nutrition and training...
  • You need to eat to lose weight.When I finally listened, and started eating a decent amount of real food, I started to see progress again.
  • Healthy food doesn't come in a brightly packaged box, or have a marketing slogan behind it.
  • If your nutrition isn't right, all the training in the world won't get you your desired results.You can't out-train a bad diet. 
  • Food is your body's fuel. You wouldn't put crap petrol in your car now would you? 
  • Commit to your training... make it part of your routine. Don't loiter in the gym... 45 minutes of pushing yourself, and get out. Go have a life... 
  • Overtraining will destroy your body. I was putting in ridiculous hours in the gym and seeing no benefits, just constant fatigue. 
  • Lifting weights does not make you big and bulky, it makes you strong, and with physical strength comes mental strength. 
  • Experiment with your food.. if you enjoy it, you're less likely to want to eat crap. 
  • Enjoy training. Find something you like doing. Find a trainer who understands your goals and will help you get there. Be honest with them about your hang ups, bad habits and make them earn their money by helping you.. 
  • Sleep. You need sleep allow your body to recover. 

Shifting the goal posts... 
I'm constantly adding to my 'to-do' list. My goals and constantly changing, and as I achieve one, I add another. 

When I started losing weight, my goal was to be 'skinny'. That's what was important. Things change... I've no desire be 'skinny'... and that's not an excuse for me not being at my goal weight yet (cos I'll get there) that's me saying, that once I'm healthy, fit and strong, I honestly don't care what number is on the scales or a dress.

Don't forget...


1 comment:

  1. great post and i love your style of writing