I. HATE. WINTER!
Yes I can already hear all of you people in the really cold parts of the world (like Melbourne) saying “but you don’t even know what cold really is!” and yes this is true. Sydney has a relatively mild temperature and yes I know I am being a sook. But hey, I never said I wasn’t. I always reply with the fact that I did my cold time. 2 years in the Arctic wastelands of Norway mean that I should get a lifetime of warm weather right? In reality it isn’t that bad here. It is just a case of me being a massive sook. But enough about the weather and how soft I am when it comes to the weather.
A friend of mine who I met through sport posted the other day about how her and her husband are going through IVF treatment at the moment and how she is balancing this whilst still training and racing etc. I found the honesty and rawness of it really struck a chord with me. I think it is maybe because it is a similar approach to that which I take when writing, being as honest as possible, even when it isn’t easy. Here is the link to Kelly’s post if you want to have a read.
I think the main thing though about that post is that it really made me realise that everyone, regardless of your ability, weight or progress has his or her own relationship with fitness. Some people make it central to their life, while to others it is an afterthought. Regardless, I have come to realise that everyone has some sort of relationship with it. This has been reinforced even more since I started my podcast (yes, another shameless plug!) As the show grows and grows people from all over the world are reaching out to Robo and me to share with us their stories. I think as a person who has gone down the weight loss path it is very easy to forget that there are people dealing with a whole manner of other challenges. Losing weight and having the before and after image is actually relatively easy. Ok, it isn’t easy to lose weight and keep it off. But what I mean is that it is probably the most socially acceptable and ‘popular’ fitness change that you can experience.
While I have always been aware of some of the health challenges that people face I guess I never truly understood just how similar my experiences are to other people facing completely different challenges. At the same time though their experiences (I am actively trying to avoid using the term journey) are in many ways completely different. I have had people who suffered serious issues with eating disorders and being too skinny share their experiences with me. The challenges they faced of needing to put weight on being restricted by the fear of being judged or not being ‘good looking’ anymore literally blows my mind. I mean I think, as a person who tried so hard for so long to lose weight the thought of struggling with putting weight on would have seemed almost laughable. I am a bit embarrassed to be honest that I have restricted myself so much to my simple weight loss bubble.
It goes beyond weight though. People who I know and are very close with have overcome injury in order to reach their goals. Something that again would seem quite simple like, get better then start again is a completely ridiculous approach for a person who can barely walk. I have one friend who overcame a serious injury and was starting to really perform only to suffer a completely different (and ridiculous) injury which set them right back to square one. To see that person start from scratch with the same determination they had all along almost doesn’t compute with me. Come on, you have probably read some of my posts complaining about how I feel rubbish after taking a few weeks off. I do not know how I would go if I had to start all over again or if I even would. It is a completely different story to a fat kid getting in shape but man it is just, if not more impressive.
Then there is another friend of mine. This friend is gay. Now to me, being gay is not a big deal at all. My Godfather is gay and I have known him my entire life. In some ways I feel incredibly lucky because I can never remember a time when I thought that being gay was weird or a problem. To this day, I struggle to understand why people have a problem with it. But this friend has made me aware of some of the issues they have had to face in their pursuit of fitness as well. Again, these are things that I never would have thought of. They are serious challenges and hurdles which need to be overcome on a daily basis for the people facing them and unlike myself, they don’t get a before and after photo at the end to show everyone their progress.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that in recent weeks I have had more and more people reach out to me and share their story with me. This has made me realise that fitness and sport and health are not just something that I do. They are central to my life. I have worked incredibly hard to get where I am today and to see other people face challenges I literally could not imagine makes me realise that they are incredible things to pursue. Some people will often say to me that I am lucky to be in good shape and it usually pisses me off. I am not lucky, I work hard, I make sacrifices. But now I am starting to see it. I am lucky. I am lucky to have made my health and my performance one of my priorities and a cornerstone of my life. I think next time someone tells me that I am lucky I will agree with them. I will then try and encourage them to get lucky to.
People come to health from all different cultural, ethnic, sexual or disadvantaged backgrounds. But ultimately we all pursue a goal that unites us. I realise as I am writing this that it sounds a little preachy which I hate. But man, if you are reading this and think you have it bad or that your situation is special or unique I am going to hit you with a truth bomb. There are many others that are dealing with things just as difficult and challenging as you are. How you deal with them is up to you.
Get some perspective, make your health a priority and remember to TRI!
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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.