Sorry for my delay this week but I have been away celebrating the Australia Day Long Weekend with some friends. While I was away over the weekend one of my mates continued to ask me "Have I lost weight" after every sort of activity we did. This made me realise how people spend too much time focusing on the number on the scale instead of focusing on their health and fitness.
As people we are increasingly self-conscious and many of us (myself included) are guilty of defining ourselves by whatver number comes up when we step on a set of scales. Yes, your weight is an indicator of your health but it is completely subjective. How often do you hear people say I want to weigh XXkgs... What if you told them that if they were slightly heavier but they would be skinnier? When I start training people one of the first things I get them to do is resistance training. Now as always I make the disclaimer here that I am not an expert and there are most definitely better qualified PT's out there than me but I get my clients to start doing resistance training because an increase in muscle mass will increase your metabolism. This means that often after a month someone will say to me, "It isn't working, I have put on weight". Hold your horses champ. Try measuring your waist or bicep or any other part of your body where fat is stored.
In the last 12 months I have made a significant change to the way I train. You might find this funny but as a triathlete I used to hardly swim. Know I swim at least 3 times a week and I reckon I swim anywhere between 12 - 8kms each week. Now since I started swimming I noticed something. I wasn't as light on the scales anymore. This caused me initially the usual depression and anxiety that I am sure most people feel. But then I noticed that my clothes were not fitting properly. My pants were starting to fall down and things that had been a little tight were suddenly loose. While on the flip side, my cycling jerseys were getting tighter around my arms? What the hell was going on? Simple, I was gaining muscle mass in my upper body from all the swimming and at the same time reducing the amount of weight I carried around my waist. So I was technically the same weight, maybe even a little heavier, but I was intact skinnier. The best part about this was that people stopped complaining that I looked too skinny. Little did they realise that I had actually gone down another pant size...
So to all of you out their in weight loss world I am going to propose a paradigm shift. I want you to all stop obsessing over the number that comes up on the scale and instead I want you to start keeping measurements of key body areas like your legs, waist, biceps and even chest. A regular workout routine with a proper diet will improve your health but it won't always impact your weight. If we can start to educate other people about this maybe there will be less depression and less people will turn to some of the stupid weight loss products and diets I hear about. Just my 2 cents...
As for me I have my first race of 2015 this weekend. Challenge Melbourne. I have decided to approach this race almost the opposite way to which I approached Western Sydney 70.3. I am not expecting anything. My preparation has not been perfect. I have been a bit fatigued. So I am just going to go out there on Sunday and give it everything I have. I am actually quite nervous about this race. Not because of the distance or because I want to get that elusive sub 4:30, but because I really do not want a repeat of Western Sydney again. I have made a number of changes in the lead up to this race and I will be interested to see how they turn out. I am sure you will all be reading about it next weekend.
So to all of you remember the weight on the scale is only a number. Don't let it get you down. Remember why it is you do what you do. Have a go and remember to TRI!!!
So it is my favourite time of the year. I love Summer and in particular January. January 18 is my birthday and to be honest my favourite day of the year (I haven't had enough birthdays for it to be an issue yet). Well on top of my birthday the feature in 220 Triathlon Magazine came out this week and I am feeling pretty proud.
I wanna thank everyone for your support regarding last week's blog. It was by far the most read that I have written and it made me feel a lot better considering I was really nervous about putting it out. So a big thank you!!! I also want to pass on my congratulations to two of my MaccaX friends who raced at Auckland 70.3 yesterday. Mike 'Robo' Robinson with a solid 4:33 and Pawe' 'Pawe?' Chalacis with a new PB of 5:05. Bloody impressive effort fellas!
So as I mentioned it was my birthday yesterday and I celebrated with my favourite thing, my Sunday long run. Why would I celebrate by 'enjoying' a 2 hour run? I enjoy it because of how significant it is that I can do it. It is now 4 years since I started this crazy journey and the fact that I can now enjoy a 22km run demonstrated how far I have come. I truly believe that by making the changes to my life that I have over the last 4 years I have ensured that I will get to celebrate many more birthdays and that makes me pretty happy.
Infact over the last few weeks my training volume has really increased and I am starting to feel it. But I enjoy the hurt because it tells me I am doing the right work and by doing it I am more likely to meet me goals. So for 2015 I have one major goal and that is to make my age group 25-29 my bitch! I want to qualify for the 2016 70.3 World Championships and if I can I want to try and win my Age Group at one of races. I am doing a number of races internationally this year so will hopefully manage to achieve it. But we will deal more with that in future blogs.
I will keep it pretty short this week as I am about to run out the door to watch some of the AFC action in Sydney so have a great week, train hard and remember to TRI!
Hello to all of you out there in internet land who are reading my little blog. I said at the start of this year I want to go beyond triathlon this year and focus a bit more on weight loss so I figured I would share (publicly) something that I have never really shown to anybody. Why? To keep myself accountable and show you what is capable with some hard work and determination. So what could this tantalising thing be? Well it is nothing other than the photos that capture my weight-loss journey. Now before I start I need to explain that I was probably already 10kgs down when I realised what was happening. So I don't have a proper 'start' photo. But the photo of me in lycra is a pretty good indicator. I will try and provide a little bit of info about what sort of food and drink I was doing at the time to.
So here we go...
This is one of the worst photos taken of me. I 'trained' for my race but not well and I also placed a little too much emphasise on the carbo loading required for success. I was eating almost exclusively take-away food and drinking every night and in excess most weekends.
This is the first photo I took when I realised that a. I was losing weight and b. I wanted to keep going. I think the main thing that had changed was my physical activity. I started to train daily and had even started to do 2 sessions a day. Always cycling and a combination of either running, x-trainer or weights. My diet was not drastically different at this point. Still lots of bad food and alcohol.
When I had lost about 15kgs I noticed that my weight loss sort of stopped. I tried increasing my training but it didn't seem to make a huge difference. It was at this point where I made an effort to change my diet. Now I love food ALOT. I realised that if I was going to be successful I would need to ensure that the food still tasted good. It wasn't anything too drastic but I started to ensure I ate three meals a day, I avoided fried food and creamy sauces. I also basically eliminated alcohol. My training was fairly similar with the majority of it being cycling. At this point I had also decided to sign up for my second triathlon as extra motivation. I was able to run about 8kms without stopping but it wasn't fast.
This pic is probably 9 months after the last one. We ha moved house a few times and I was busy training for a half ironman. I had maintained my healthy eating habits and minimal alcohol. There was an increase in my running and I had stopped doing weights. I swam occasionally but was still riding nearly everyday.
Here is me at the start of 2014 and weighing about 80kgs. I have started swimming a lot more and following a much more structured plan with my training. My diet is pretty much the same but I am a bit more relaxed with the drinking. I am consistently doing multiple sessions a week now. I am not that much lighter in weight but much skinnier.
This last photo was taken in September 2014 and was at the end of my intense week of training in Thailand. I did not maintain this weight for very long but it was beneficial leading into my Sunshine Coast race. That week I was training 3 or 4 times a day in heat and humidity.
So why have I gone through this? Basically to show you all that it is possible. I am incredibly average and normal. I had no secret tablet, no operation, no shortcuts. Just hard work and sacrifice. I also want to reiterate that I do not stay that skinny and comfortably sit around 78kgs most of the time. I am much more aware of how my body works and am able to drop weight quickly when needed for races. I am also not some super ripped body builder guy. Why? Because I have focused on sports-specific training. Not on getting a six-pack.
Anyway this weeks has taken a long time to put together but I also want to use it to make myself accountable. If you notice me getting big again or a lot skinnier than this. Shoot me an email or say something. If you have any questions specifically about this feel free to get in touch. This is not the end of my journey. I will keep updating you all on my progress.
If I can do it anyone can. Have a good week and remember to TRI!
Happy New Year Everyone!
If you are anything like me you are probably sick of seeing people posting their New Year Resolutions about how this is going to be the year that I lose weight or this year I am going to start going to the gym etc... I wish all of these people success but just like the throngs of people who will be rushing to the gym over the next few weeks meaning I struggle to get a spot in my favourite cycling classes, they just won't maintain it. Why? I have some theories.
The start of a new year gives us the promise of a fresh start. Maybe it is because most of us eat and drink too much over the festive season and we feel the need to do something about it. We start the year ready to do things differently to the last 12, 24, 48 or however many months that have come before. So people feel the need to make big declarative statements like 'I will lose weight' or 'I will get in shape'. Yes, these are great goals but they are vague, unspecific and unlikely to provide the motivation to actually achieve them. As anyone who has ever taken any sort of goal setting class will tell you goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. When I start with new clients and ask what they want to achieve I tell them to be as specific as possible. It gives them something to work towards, a line in the sand. But I still do not believe that setting a SMART goal is enough to achieve it.
If you have read some of my there blogs or ever spoken to me about weight loss you will know that I believe when you set a weight loss target you need to find a better reason for it than just losing weight. Whether it is because you are worried about your cholesterol or high blood pressure or to find love or improve sports performance, having a bigger reason for your weight loss will provide you with the motivation day in and day out for the rest of your life to keep working towards it. Now you may have noticed that I said 'the rest of your life'. The other reason why a bigger purpose is needed is because losing weight or getting active requires a massive lifestyle change for the rest of your life. A PT I know and respect a lot called Andrew Read who loves a good rant posted about all of these 12 week weight loss programmes or summer body programs and how they will ultimately lead to failure. I completely agree and it is why I say you need that bigger purpose. If you set out to lose 10kgs you may well succeed. But then what? Once you have hit your target you will probably slip back into the same unhealthy habits that got you into the situation where you wanted to lose 10kgs in the first place.
If you accept that the road to long term successful weight loss is by finding purpose and motivation from a reason beyond simply losing the weight and realising that you will not be able to continue with the lifestyle that you live currently you will, I believe, be more successful at reaching your goals and instead of being one of the people who pisses me off at the gym for the first 5 weeks of every new year, you might be the person who I start to talk to every week during our Wednesday RPM class... Who knows, in 12 months you could be writing your own weight loss blog and you will probably be giving the same advice I am now.
Losing weight is not easy. Changing to a healthy, active life is not easy. If it was there would be no fat, obese or unhealthy people. However just because it is hard doesn't mean that it is impossible. You need to accept responsibility and get on with it. If you need help then don't be afraid to ask. There is nothing wrong with admitting to your weaknesses and doing something to fix them. BUT, remember that at the end of the day it is on you. You will be the one who has to say no to that slice of cake no matter how much you want it. You will be the one who has to get up an hour early or give up your lunch break to go to the gym. But with some good goals and the right help and information and support there is no reason why every person who sets appropriate weight loss goals can not be successful...
As for me my goals for 2015 are very specific to my racing. I want to go sub 4:30 which I failed to last year but I also want to go faster than that. I will wait to see how long it takes for me to hit the first magic number before I set a new time. I also want to qualify for the 2016 World Championships. A non-performance goal I have this year is to help more people on their weight loss journey. So keep reading and please keep me accountable!
Good Luck, have a successful year and remember to TRI!
I lost 50kgs though triathlon and completed the 2016 70.3 World Championships. Aiming to hit 4:05 for a 70.3, the same time it took me to complete my first Olympic Distance Triathlon. I want to bring as many new people to the sport as possible. Whether you are fit and active or want to make positive changes to your life.