My road back to fitness, a year on (and off)...

IT Games Club is currently celebrating its first anniversary with a run around the park. As such it is a year since I started writing about my journey back to fitness. I have to hold my hands up and confess it has been a number of months since my last piece. Pressures of work running ITGC and some ups and downs in my training all seem to have got in the way. So here I am to get caught up with where things have been and are now going.

As my previous posts have covered there have been some good periods and some difficult ones during my quest. It is fair to say that my training became a little haphazard during the summer months, it so easy to happen. Going on holiday for instance, training tailed off just before it so I could prepare, no training on holiday and then the inevitable difficulty motivating myself once I returned. The heat didn't help, during what was a glorious summer. Somehow bootcamp in 30 degree temperatures didn't always feel like a great option.

Eventually, I made a decision, I needed to broaden my exercise scope. To which end I joined a gym. Now, I will be the first to raise my hand and say I don't really like gyms, I've used them in periods throughout my life, but they are never a comfortable place for me. Firstly, I'm still overweight and feel self conscious about that, secondly I am not and never have been muscle bound. The gyms I have used in the past have all been small affairs, packed with bench guys grunting and groaning, checking themselves out in the mirrors, and, it always felt to me, judging my usually wiry frame. I have to say though that on inspection of one of my local gyms things have changed. No longer was it a small room packed full of weights machines, these new gyms are vast, and on multiple levels, with rows of bikes and running machines and the like on one floor, group work out floor spaces, and the free weights area on a floor of its own, giving the hench men their own space.

It has been during my time using the gym that I have come to a few realisations. Firstly bootcamp fit is not the same as gym fit and vice versa. Both give you different workouts and offer different enhancements to your fitness. And neither of them make you running fit, only putting in the hard Ks will do. And weight loss will only really happen if you change your diet too. So, with this new awareness I now do a spread of each through my week. I now do a 3k run and stop off at the gym where I do an hour of strength work which has improved my overall muscle conditioning, I then run another 2k and home, I do this 3 times a week. On the weekend I run 5k to a bootcamp session and then do an hours bootcamp which works on core and mobility. I then walk back (hopefully sometime soon I'll be running back too). Even doing this my excess weight was still coming off very slowly. So this is where I changed my diet, switching to a low carb diet I have cut out potatoes, pasta and rice along with sweets and crisps, whilst reducing my bread intake to a maximum of 1 or 2 slices of rye toast a day. It sounds extreme I know, and I'm not saying it was a breeze to start with. I love carbs, and soon realised that I had made them the main part of my daily eating habit. Trouble is all those carbs turn straight to sugar and then fat. It was a rough first week as my body was screaming out for that sugar, but once through that your body readjusts so quickly and my energy levels actually feel higher now. The human body truly is amazing. I set out to do this for a month to see how it felt, I'm now into my 4th month. I have slightly increased my carbs in terms of allowing myself a couple of meals a week where I have rice or potatoes, I know in the long term completely cutting out carbs is not a sustainable approach, I am a realist. My aim has always been to readjust my relationship with them and reduce my intake and dependence on them.

As a result my weight has been dropping. Back in March I had gone back up to 99kg through not training because of injury, running was out the window and my physical strength had dropped. Now I can easily run 5k in 30 minutes or just under, I'm down to 90kg and dropping and overall feel I have more energy, strength and fitness than I have had in a long time. The way I walk has changed and I have to say my overall general mental health is stronger too. Next I'm adding cycling back into the regime to add yet another variation.

If you are looking to get more active and healthy I urge you to give it a go, and stick with it. The way you feel when you do is worth the effort and will hopefully keep you on the straight and narrow. And, of course, ITGC is here to help support and motivate you along your own journey. The article below offers some further reading on bringing variety into your health regime.

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IT Games Club is supported by a growing number of global IT companies, and aims to bring sport and fitness to the forefront of the IT industry. Challenging and motivating the industry to get fitter and healthier. If you are a senior IT professional who would like motivation and free entry into events around the world, then join up today, membership is free (and always will be). As we grow we will be opening up membership to a wider audience in the industry and across more sports and pastimes.

Transformation noun ~ IT: a mindset and cultural business change that is achieved with changes in workflow, business rules, automation and moving from a reactive, inflexible organization state to a proactive, flexible business that responds quickly to changing requirements. • Sport: a mindset, plus a selection of things you do daily to effect life changing transformation, achieved in combination with your resilience, recovery and production actions also covered.