My Physical Activity Journey - One Year In
For as long as I can remember, I have always been a big kid and overweight. I had a few stints with staying active over the course of my lifetime so far. Finally last year I found something that really works for me and a year into my journey, I have more energy and don’t feel like taking a nap in the middle of the day every day.
The Early Years
I played a few informal sports as a kid. I played soccer when I was elementary school and basketball. I was always slower than the rest of the kids and as I put on the weight that just became worse so I stopped playing. I took a liking to racketball since I did not have to run very far and oddly liked the smell of the blue racketballs. When I was growing up, my family got a decade long membership (a crazy discount) to the now defunct SportsLife which was great. Though limited exposure since I had to go with my parents or sister. We probably went once a week and my main focus was splashing around the pool. Later when I was in middle school would go once a week dropped off by my mom. I wanted to play football and needed to get in shape. Was really self paced, meet with a trainer one time. The long and short of the early years, minus going to school and physical education in school, there was not much physical activity after 9th grade. High school was pretty flat physical activity wise.
The Middling Years
In high school and university, my activity was limited to just living. At university you are walking around a lot to go between classes. Also in my travels would be walking around, etc. So the level of activity was just that. Minus a few friendly games of basketball here and there, there was not much. In university we had a killer gym at Georgia Tech where the olympics was. This usually far away and we would have to take the bus. Later years at GT I lived closer and actually parked next to the Student Activity Center. Reflecting back was not that much physical activity. Soon I would be in the work force and on the road for years.
The Real World Years
I hit the consulting lifestyle right out of university. This meant weekly travel and like giving a fat kid a loaded gun, pretty much unlimited food and drink budget during the week. I surely liked to eat and drink. I was living in Washington DC at the time. One of my really good friends got me going to the pretty nice for an apartment complex gym and cooking when I was at home. I dropped some weight and had more energy woo! Though my “drug” was the travel and not paying for much so I started staying on the road more and more. Finally I just stopped. I was lucky when my project switched to NYC and I started living in NYC that I could walk around. Fast forward a few years, I moved back to ATL. I wanted to get back on that fitness horse and joined a LA Fitness. Though was one close to my first house and not very nice; was super crowded and old. I ended up not going for 2-3 years just paid the $39.99 a month because I could not figure out how to cancel.
I was on a weekend trip to Pittsburgh [imagine that] with a friend in the summer because I never been to the BURGH in 2015. Required some walking around. Something odd was happening, I was really, really out of energy. Also I could not really think too straight, which was odd. Made the trip not a pleasant one. My friend was worried and forced me to go get a physical when I got back home. She signed me up for one on ZocDoc. Oddly I have not been to the doctor in a long time and did not have a primary care physician, etc. We got an appointment with a place that wasn’t very nice on the outside but the folks were friendly. Get a look over and started getting calls from the clinic. I was on the road again for my Sales Engineering gig at that point. I finally listened to one of the voice mails and found out my A1C was 11; which was pretty diabetic then. I was really scared, never had a health problem like that before. Both of my parents are diabetic but did not think too much about that until hit me. I took that by the horns and started going to a specialist who immediately got me on medication. Luckily I did not need insulin and medication still manages my diabetes today.
Success For Me
Even with the diabetic diagnosis, I was not going to the gym or staying really active. I was always on the road so I felt that I was getting my steps in and did not like the gyms around where I lived. In 2016, I started to build my first new home and moved in, in 2017. I moved to a much nicer area. The motivation for me was a double fold. I was at my second startup working as a Principal Sales Engineer and the startup would pay for my gym membership; free money! So I found the nicest gym out where I lived and signed up. Immediately loved the place as everything I did not like about my previous gym was gone. The LifeTime Fitness Diamond Club for me was not crowded and very well kept. I decided to make an investment for myself and sign up for a personal trainer [Isaac in the photo!] once a week.
A Year In
I am happy with the results I have gotten in the year. A lot of little things really add up for incremental success. I used to get stuck in my new couch I bought for the new place and wallow around to get up. Now I can pop right up. Was a struggle for me embarrassingly to do 0.1 miles on the tread mill. Now I do 2 miles 2-3 times a week at the gym at a faster pace and higher incline. I certainly feel stronger and not tired all day. I used my time at the gym to get a meal substitute in with a healthy shake at the restaurant in the gym. My favorite statistic is that I could not do even a single assisted pull-up with the max 180lb assist now I can do 10. I can carry my Tumi(s) up and down the stairs in a swingle swoop without having to put the carry-on down. Ironically I weigh about same as I did at the start, I could do better in my diet.
Tips for Success
When you exercise, you are paying yourself. This was really important for me finding 2-3 times a week to go regularly.
Find a place that you are comfortable at. This could be at your home or gym. You are way more inclined to go if you feel comfortable at the space.
Don’t try to over exhaust yourself and set achievable goals. For example I really want to do a 5K. I feel if I can get to the 3 mile treadmill walk at one swoop, a 5k would be very easy.
Leave some time in there for recovery. Going every day could be detrimental as your body needs time to heal.
Enjoy the experience and reflect! If you are thinking about becoming more active, just get out there. Was more of a mental hurdle at the start for me and as you start to unlock more and more what your body can do, keep going!