Leaving the Couch – The Journey so far (May to Dec 2014)
I started Leave the Couch after finishing the Two Oceans Half-Marathon in 2013. It was the culmination of three months of hard work to compete in a race in a sport that I didn’t even enjoy!
Running sucked, but it did help me drop 5kgs to 100kgs – so who am I to complain 🙂
After sending an email out as a mock race report, some of my friends thought it was hilarious and that I should be writing more often…and thus this blog was born.
I wanted it to be a personal record of me finally moving my bum and living a healthier life. It worked for a while and kept me motivated, but as soon as Aanikah (my wife) fell pregnant it all seemed to come to a grinding halt.
Sympathetic pregnancy is real, but I was suffering from lazy-ass syndrome
Fast forward a couple of months and I had ballooned up to 110kgs and was in worse shape at the birth of my little one. Even my attempts to start running revealed how far I had allowed myself to slip…AGAIN!
It was not a pretty place to be in. The blog wasn’t being updated. My gym kit had gathered dust and I was about to go up another pants size.
And then came those words that I needed to hear…
I honestly believe that for a man to be successful, he needs a helluva strong woman – and mine knows just when to shine bright.
Aanikah came home one evening and uttered these exact words, “We need to start to look like the fitness enthusiasts that we think we are.”
It was the truth. We’ve always had a general interest in fitness and health, but the application of that knowledge was lacking and we had no right to sell a product that we did not embody.
And with that, I started to clean up my act.
The first step is the hardest
I still had one butt-cheek firmly on the couch and it needed immediate surgical removal. In May, I got back into the gym and made use of those membership fees that I’d been donating each month.
It started slow and painfully. At each workout I set the objective of running (walking) at least 20mins on the treadmill and tackling a single body part with some weight training. In hindsight, I find it hilarious when I think back at all the excuses that used to run through my mind to avoid going to the gym – something I know most people struggle with when starting out on their fitness journey.
I started with two workouts per week and then went on to three. A couple more weeks passed and we joined the Club Sweat bootcamp classes which were being run at the Wynberg Military base where some of our friends were training.
Before I knew it, more than a month had gone by and both Aanikah and I had been working out regularly. It felt good to be back and to take part in regular and varied training each week.
We even joined the Trail Bokkies for some trail running, and went as far as signing up for a trail race to further cement our commitment to leaving the couch.
And it also felt flippin’ good dropping the first 5kgs 🙂
Taking it to a whole new level
The Trail du Mont Rochelle race showed us that we still had some way to go before we would reach those fitness goals we’d set ourselves. The next step was obvious – time to get that carb monkey off our backs and clean up our diets.
Most people have heard the saying, “Diet is 80/90% of the battle,” and I can surely testify to that!
September started with Wafiq and I training the 5/3/1 program and a major diet clean-up. Smarter and sustainable food choices were the principles followed Monday to Friday with cheat weekends (yes, two glorious cheat days) usually resulting in a kilogram of weight gain on Mondays compared to where I was the previous Friday 🙂
Those weekends worked wonders for our sanity!
Structured workouts, a cleaner diet and regular events was the best approach to making gains and remaining motivated.
The weight-loss continued and by mid-November I had dipped below the 100kg mark for the first time in 6 years!
8 things I learned so far
- Clean up your diet!
This is the hardest thing to do. Drop the unhealthy crap Monday to Friday, eat more protein and fats, and time your intake of quality carbs to when you need the energy i.e. before or during a workout
- Lift heavy and often!
Don’t head for the treadmill immediately. Strength training should always be your foundation and a solid progressive overload program like 5/3/1 will condition your body and mind for the coming changes
- Just go Run!
Run, jump, move, walk, climb… just get your butt moving. Get cardio fit and feel better, but don’t sacrifice the strength training
- Be Realistic!
Long-term fitness and health is exactly that…long term. Don’t expect to lose 10kgs in the first week. You will struggle, you will stay on the same weight for a couple of weeks, and there will be days when your bench press sucks…it’s all part of the journey
- Be Consistent!
You don’t need to put hours and hours into your training and kill yourself in the process. Regular and consistent effort on a program that fits into your schedule will have you surprising yourself in no time. The sum of the parts are always greater than the whole
- Surround yourself with like-minded people!
Join a bootcamp class, join a Facebook group, follow some people on Instagram and/or Twitter, get your spouse to join you…whatever it takes. It helps to have a support group of people fighting through the same struggles you will during your fitness journey
- Make it public!
Tell your friends, tell your parents, keep a blog, update your Facebook status…whatever you need to do to keep you accountable and committed to the cause. If you tell someone about your goals and they are negative, you don’t need them in your life – see point 6
- Find a good tailor!
Trust me, you’re going to need it 🙂
This is not the end
Two weeks ago I broke through the 95kg mark and it’s the lightest I’ve been in longer than I can remember. 15kgs down and I feel healthier, can run faster and my overall fitness is the best it’s ever been – all in 8 months.
On average, my weight loss clocks in at just under 2kgs per month and I reckon that is as sustainable as you can get.
But, this is only the start
So what if I need to replace all my clothes. I am definitely on the path to looking like the fitness enthusiast that I think I am.
If you would like to share some of your personal experiences of your journey to a fitter you, feel free to comment below.