Me, Winter 2011 in Rome

My Fitness Journey & the Century Push Quest

Never thought I’d be here, or posting an article about health and fitness to be honest. I’ve always had a curiosity about what goes into the foods I eat, and have always been cautious about the hidden additives and artificial ingredients, and always tried to stay active and therefore “fit”. However, I didn’t really start travelling the “fit” road until about 2 years ago – September 2010 to be precise.

Why is it important to work out?

During the summer of 2010 I had been reading more about entrepreneurialism and what it means to run your own business. Much of this was not new to me as I had been running my own companies since 2001, but the pace had really picked up and I was looking for new tools to help manage the change. One common thread that I read was the importance of working out: most entrepreneurs recommended hitting the gym regularly (even once a week) because it:

  • improved stamina
  • enhanced your health
  • relieved stress
  • enabled you to cope with the ups and downs better

Finding the way that works for you

I had tried the gym a few years back but failed to keep it up. I know why now – trying to follow the pack by attending classes and always going with the same people didn’t work for me. This made timing difficult as it was not always convenient for everybody, plus the classes were often at the wrong time and work commitments meant you missed them.

This time – the 2010 reboot – was going to be different. I joined the gym and hired a personal trainer. I could book a time to suit me, and the appointment and dependency on another professional (as well as the physical cost) meant I was damn-well going to show up! After 2 years I can safely say I have the fitness bug and actually want to go to the gym on my own and workout. I am even looking at diet seriously to augment the training and, as many fitness blogs say, physique is 20% exercise and 80% diet. I can attest to that by the simple variance of eating more protein and modifying the carbs I eat; in the last 2 months alone with a changed diet I have noticed more muscle growth than before (one of my goals is strength gains) and that is highly encouraging. I now wish I had had the courage to take a “before” photo when I set out on this quest like everybody says you should!

These are not major changes in habit or routine, but things that I found easy to adopt in my schedule. What works for you may be different – classes could be your gateway – but finding the way is the essential ingredient.

Rewards & Accountability: The Fitocracy Effect

One of the hardest things to manage when working out independently is motivation. Its all very well setting a goal, but when this is new for you (ie not yet a habit) it can be easy to procrastinate or excuse a short session because you feel “a bit tired”. Little treats help, but these mustn’t be the sugar-laden variety 😉

One of the greatest tools I have found is the social network called Fitocracy which is dedicated to people getting fit at every level. By logging workouts (which even includes walking up the stairs) – no matter how small – you earn points. And by earning points you start to Level Up which makes you feel good! You also earn badges for achievements which is a little reward to show you’re actually making progress. Plus there’s a really great support network of people who are all in the same boat as you. They help you out, keep you motivated and offer suggestions and feedback through the groups and posts on your feed.

The Century Push (One Hundred Push-ups)

Personally, this network has helped me get the bug and want to workout. There are quests you can strive towards and one I am doing at the moment is the Century Push (100 push-ups consecutively). A year or so ago, 5 push ups would have been a struggle, but my focus on strength gains and core work with my trainer, plus the quests in Fitocracy, have helped me set smaller, manageable, achievable goals to speed my training forward. Once I complete this quest, I will be able to add a badge to this site to show I have done it – and that’s another reward in itself.

And now that I have got the bug, I am more interested in nutrition and programs that work, so I’ll be starting a more regular stream of posts under the health heading. Watch this space and remember to subscribe to my feed/s for updates or join me and many others on our own fitness journeys on Fitocracy.

I don’t intend to become a power-lifter, just get a better physique, and eat (and stay) healthy. I have lost a couple of good friends to cancer over the past couple of years and as age creeps by I would like to avoid health issues by preserving health rather than fixing problems with drugs and remedial therapies. All the things they say about growing older start to make sense when you get there, but what is more important is that you make a commitment to yourself to start, no matter what age, check your health and begin gently. A good personal trainer can be instrumental here as they guide you slowly at first in accordance with your ability and goals.

This is my journey – I hope you enjoy reading and remind me occasionally if I’m not checking in. Thanks.