It's time to get moving
Let's be honest for a moment – my biggest concern when I started to put on weight (and kept putting on weight) wasn't my health in 20 years' time. It should have been, but it wasn't, and in many ways, it still isn't. My BIGGEST concern is the fact that the buttons on my favourite shirts are holding on for dear life, my neck is slowly but surely disappearing into my shoulders, and tying my shoe laces is getting painful (and noisy).
The reason – I think – is simple: that's the part of my health that I can see. One of the first and last things I look at during the day is my reflection in the mirror, next to squeezing into my clothes, and groaning my way up and down the stairs. In between those things, I hardly ever consider how else my health might be affected.
Even when I'm feeling rubbish, or flat, or sick, I've never paused to think about how it might be because of what I'm eating and lack of exercise.
In fact, on those days I'm MORE likely to eat junk and do nothing.
So naturally when I decided to set myself the challenge of running in the Spartan Race with only three months preparation, my first thought wasn't about my diet, but about how I was going to get moving again and get fit in time – without losing precious time to injury. To help, I've enlisted the help of Dan Ryan from Bodytrack Exercise Physiology – mostly because if I don't get help from a professional I will always be making excuses to avoid exercise, but also because I can pretty much guarantee that if I go it alone I'm going to wind up overdoing it and sidelining myself with a torn… anything.
Now that I really think about it, I haven't set the easiest task for the Bodytrack team – going from couch to 5k is hard enough, and here I am asking Dan to help me go from couch to 20k obstacle course in three months without any setbacks. Even in my prime I wasn't exactly an athlete, am I asking too much?
After asking me about habits and history (bad knees, torn shoulder, sprained wrist… the list goes on), Dan ran me through a series of tests to give the clearest possible picture of my physical health. This included the basics, such as weight, height & waist measurements, followed by looking at my mobility and stability (which included watching me walk up and back through the gym area), before a number of fitness tests like my average rpm on an exercise bike (not good), maximum number of push-ups (not good), maximum chin-ups (not even one), and crunches (better….but still not good).
The results? Well there's not much point talking about how many push-ups I did until I have something to compare it to.
I can say that a body-fat percentage of 25.6% (considered 'poor,' and like 71% of Australian men* classifies me as overweight) is more than 5% away from where I need it to be and 8% away from where I want it to be.
Not being able to do a single chin-up – now THAT'S a disaster. The bottom-line? There's room to improve.
Dan has prescribed me a program that he promises starts very gently, with lots of mobility and stretching to get me moving properly before the intensity (and weight) ramps up over the next few weeks. My job now is to have faith in the professionals I'm asking for help and commit to completing all the instructions I'm given.
Can I get fit enough in three months to complete the Spartan Race? Dan and the Exercise Physiology team at Bodytrack are gonna help me try.
*ABS National Health survey 2014-2015: 71% of Australian men aged 18 and over were overweight or obese.