November 17, 2019.
It seemed so long ago, that I stared at myself in the mirror and decided that I had to go public with my weight loss.
It was the only way, that I could be held “accountable.” After all, if you don’t do anything, after publicly declaring a goal, you look like a fucking twat.
What I didn’t expect though, approximately 10kgs lighter (73kgs), was how my body was going to crave exercise like a drug.
Or how my mental state is now constantly analysing the needs of my body and doing its best to self-diagnose what is healthy, what is strong and more importantly, what is weak.
The B30 Challenge, isn’t just something that I aspire to any more. It’s a lifestyle choice now. I watch what I eat (mostly), try to consume more water, and exercise a lot more regularly than I used to.
Tennis is still my number one way to stay fit, followed closely by running.
The gym membership is still isn’t an option for me. I just can’t quite convince myself to be a part of that culture, I love being outdoors too much and finding motivation on my own.
It doesn’t cost anything to get out there and run. The only thing stopping you, is your morale when you see clouds, the night sky, or feel the drops of rain or hot sweat running down your cheek.
I will also say, it pleasingly tans my body in doing so and I feel like it’s more of a struggle to fight the elements, thus adding to the intensity of the workout.
Staying in shape, has made me spend a radical amount on gym equipment. From a 5.11 Tactec plate carrier with 5 kgs weights, to a whole host of tennis equipment, the amount of gym clothes and socks I’ve spent at Under Armour is extensive and is meant to cover me in all situations.
It doesn’t matter if it rains or if I am feeling a bit wrecked from work. I got to get some form of exercise in for the day.
What has shocked me though, is how quickly it is to lose momentum, focus and discipline if you take a week off.
It is so difficult to get back into your routine once you taste the easy life again.
That is the worst part of it all for me. Getting back into the rhythm, after a week of luxurious eating and not really doing all that much exercise.
It made me realise that, with every year you get older, you need to exercise more, you need to discipline yourself harder and be more surgical about how you approach everything.
I’m currently 28 years old, only 2 years away from my target age of 30, and the goal of being in the best shape of my life.
I have to take everything more seriously now. I need to watch what I eat, really cull down the sweets and just portion everything better.
I also need to get a lot stronger. It has always irked me knowing that, even though I’m a fast runner, if I was to jump somewhere and hang onto a ledge, my upper body strength is lacking the strength to hold my body weight.
What gets me though, is the fact that exercise, never really gets easier.
I know I can run longer and faster than I’ve ever done in the past, but the first kilometre is still a kick in the ass, a humbling moment that I need to work on my pace, my speed and my breathing.
It’s shocking, knowing that despite being fitter than you were last week, it still hurts the same.
That is the demoralising and humbling aspect of exercise that we all hate. It’s what makes me want to take a break, rest my feet for a day or indulge in some sweets.
But I can’t.
Not at my stage in life. Not at the level of the challenge.
Exercising and dieting is as much a mental game, as it is physical. I have to stay vigilant against my more baser instinct to give in. For some, it’s really easy to ignore distractions and temptations.
I wish I had such strength of character.
I don’t always follow through. But I am always willing to take the first drastic step.
It’s why I need to maintain my 3 lap daily minimum. 6 kilometres, 45 burpees, 15 solid attempts at a pull-up, 75 sit ups and 30 diagonal pull ups in total, split over 3 reps.
I can’t really afford to take days off any more.
I’m not the spring chicken I used to be.
Age hits us all differently. For a guy who has always considered himself to be older than his age and is more about the net benefits of being older than younger, the idea that I need to do daily maintenance, hasn’t really changed my attitude about ageing.
If anything, it has reminded me that, this is the nature of life. The more you age, the more disciplined you should be and you can more efficiently map out your days. You should be living life smarter, planning ahead instead of panicking and procrastinating in your younger years.
It’s why I suppose I’m thankful that I took a hard look at myself and decided that I needed to change my lifestyle.
It’s about looking good in the future as well as the present. Working on yourself never really ends … it just becomes more about maintaining healthy habits and mindset.
Lately, I’ve noticed how careful I am to avoid the pitfalls of others. I’ve become more and more aware of not repeating the same mistakes that others make and desperately trying to remember the lessons I’ve learnt the hard way.
From ego-checking, scrutinising myself mid-conversation and working on my vocabulary and body language, I’m always searching for the best ways to express myself and how I come off to different people.
A stranger may find me funny, whilst another might think I’m loud and annoying. I’m more alert to what mood is being expressed on my face and I try to train myself to instantly switch expression, in order to hide away how I might be feeling and unpack them later, when its appropriate.
If it sounds disingenuous, it definitely is, but I think a big part of being an adult, is being professional in all aspects of your life.
Learning to take your ego out of the equation, identify situations for what they really are, not how they make you feel and putting aside anxiety and personal quibbles to solve a problem, is a crucial part of being an functioning human being.
Of course, to push your feelings down and ignore them is highly inadvisable, and you wouldn’t be reading this blog if I did that often.
It’s sort of why this whole journal exist. I’ve seen the benefits of being open with yourself and know how compelling a read it can be, if the writer is actually decent at being a wordsmith. My two inspiration for this whole thing, was Anne Frank and Fang from the Maximum Ride series. I loved reading their personal and private thoughts and thought I could harness a similar voyeur thrill here.
The B30 Challenge was my first real attempt at opening up to all my friends and strangers who read this blog. I found myself feeling accountable to some invisible force, that told me that I had to commit to what I set out to do.
This “mythical” pressure was exactly what I needed. I didn’t really need any encouragement or positive affirmation, I just need someone or something to make me get out there and train.
The Challenge also really boosted my confidence and my social awareness. I became more conscious about this concept I call “relationship maintenance” and how as an adult it became harder to work on, because it wasn’t something you’ve ever had to really do before (I’ll dive into this deeper in a future blog post).
I work on my friends now. I’m the one reaching out to plan things, to make sure I don’t take them for granted.
I want to be more successful in everything I do, from shooting, racing, tennis and work.
There’s not a weekend now, where I’m not actively trying to work on some event.
Haircuts are now more regular, as is my fashion updates.
Hell, I even got a skincare routine going.
The Challenge has now become a complete lifestyle change
I’m grateful for it.
I suppose the goal moving forward now, is to always look like I’m in my 30s.
Easier said than done.
But if life was easy, why bother living?
After all, you’re never too old to die young.