A Closer Look At My Second Attempt To Become Fit

In this post, I would like to dig a little deeper into my second attempt to become fit. Specifically, I would like to focus on four areas of my journey:

  1. What I knew about myself before starting my fitness journey
  2. How I started my fitness journey
  3. Some of the struggles I had on my fitness journey
  4. How I evolved through my fitness journey

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What I Knew

Before you start any fitness routine you should reflect on what you know about yourself. For example, when it comes to fitness what do you like to do and what do you not like to do? For me, the list of knowns included:

  • When I workout after not working out for a while, I get very, very sore
  • If I exercise regularly, I can — but should not — eat pretty much anything I want
  • I am competitive
  • My legs and back are strong, but my abs and shoulders are not

In addition, I knew where I was when I attempted to become fit the second time:

  • Completely out of shape
  • Eating a lot of processed foods and sugar
  • Working a lot
  • Struggling to balance life and work

How I Started

To be honest, I didn’t. My wife, Mary, was the one encouraging me to go workout. I was too busy making excuses about how much I needed to work as I drank another soda. She knew I was unhappy about my appearance and also knew I was not doing anything about it. She tried a variety of ways to motivate me including buying me clothes that fit and made me look good. Eventually, Mary found CrossFit and encouraged me to go to a free session. I stated I couldn’t go because I did not have gym clothes that fit; Mary had that covered as well.

When I went, I felt welcomed. People with a variety of fitness experience were present and the workouts were scaled based on the person’s ability. The workout was challenging and easy to see in a competitive light. I was exhausted by the end, but I felt remarkably good as well.

Around the same time that I started CrossFit, Mary had been researching Paleo and Gluten-Free diets as well as some nutritional challenges like the Whole 30 and she encouraged me to try them. This lead to a transformation in what I ate as well. Initially, I resisted the changes, but I soon discovered many benefits:

  • I stopped feeling bloated
  • I was not constantly hungry
  • I was not constantly munching on something while working

My Struggles

I had many struggles on my fitness journey:

  • As outlined above, I was stubborn and resistant to change.
  • I traveled a lot for work making working out and dieting more difficult — or rather traveling made it easier to make excuses.
  • I was really unfit and pushing myself to complete a workout was quite a challenge.

I remember a couple of months after joining CrossFit being in a WOD (Workout Of the Day) consisting of completing 100 burpees for time (i.e. as quickly as possible). If you have never tried a burpee, look them up and then try at least 5. I remember being the last person trying to complete them and had over 40 left by the time the second to last person had finished. I was literally in a pool I sweat, I could barely breathe and I really wanted to quit. I remember everyone coming over and cheering me on and encouraging me to do one more. One of the top finishers of that class did the last 20 burpees with me. I finished them and I will never forgot the experience.

How I Evolved

The best thing about CrossFit in my opinion is that I saw results very quickly. While I had previously attempted to work on my fitness through “running” — jogging at best — and occasional weight lifting — using free weights that focused on individual muscle groups — the results were not visible after months of work. With CrossFit, I began losing weight immediately, I began feeling more energetic immediately and I was constantly challenged with new workouts instead of doing the same thing over and over.

As my fitness improved, I was able to do more and more activities. In regards to CrossFit, I was able to do the workouts with more weights and less assistance. In regards to everyday activities, I was able to climb stairs without getting winded and carry my son without getting tired. These changes continued to motivate me and ensure that I continued to make progress.

In terms of my diet, I was constantly learning more about processed foods, sugars, gluten, GMO, carbs, fat, and protein. Given my increased activity level, my caloric intake also needed to increase. In order to increase my activity level I needed to eat foods that provided more long-term energy. For me, this meant an increase in fat and protein and a decrease in unhealthy carbs and sugars.

Summary

Looking back on my second attempt to get fit, you can see the challenges I faced and the changes I made. For those looking to start a fitness journey, try to reflect on what you know about yourself, what your struggles are and what will motivate you to evolve. If you are already on a fitness journey, what have you tried and what else do you think you can try? Remember, becoming fit is a journey and it does not happen overnight, but you can do it!

© 2015, Steve Flanders. All rights reserved.

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