In the summer of 2014 I had surgery that took me longer to recover from than I had expected it would. The reduced amount of exercise over the months it took me to recover meant I gained weight quickly. Then in February 2015 I moved to Dubai. Initially living in a hotel, eating out a minimum of 3 times per day, and a dramatic change in lifestyle meant I piled on even more pounds. The dreaded Dubai Stone had struck.
I knew I had put weight on but was still enjoyed eating out and socializing and so I wasn’t motivated to make any changes. That was until I realized my fitness levels had really suffered and I wasn’t leading my team by example. Not only was I not inspiring them but they had no idea my background was even in Fitness.
I started in the fitness industry 20 years ago as a Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor and previous to this I had always been active, regularly training for, and taking part in, many races up to Marathon distances as well as adventure races. So I knew exactly what I needed to do.
First, to keep me motivated in the gym I signed up for the Amsterdam Marathon and Spartan Beast. I started training every other day. Even if I didn’t feel like it I would lace up my trainers and do a minimum of 45 minutes, sometimes I would have to slow down to a brisk walk. For me just getting into the habit again was important.
As I progressed I really enjoyed playing around with my running programmes, trying different intervals sessions and pushing for personal best times for 5km and 10km. I also started swimming again after years of not doing any structured swim sessions. Some days I needed a little more motivation to get started so I began a workout tour, I found a change in environment really helped. Every Fitness First has a different energy about it and I found that really refreshing.
The diet side was a little more challenging for me. I’m a big foodie, I love dining out, have a real sweet tooth and had no idea how to cook. I purchased a Paleo Diet app and started trying out the recipes. Over the first month I worked out which recipes I could make quickly and which ones would freeze and reheat well. Then it was just a matter of getting organised. I’d cook batches of five or six different recipes at a time and freeze them, I’d always keep fresh fruit and nuts at home so I would always have healthy meals and snacks ready to eat and wouldn’t be tempted to order takeaways.
One year later I’m fairly happy with the results, I have more cheat days now that my workouts have increased in intensity, which suits me perfectly. I’ve lost a total of 15kg in body fat, completed the Amsterdam Marathon, Spartan Beast and ran the run leg in the Ironman70.3 relay.
Next up for me is the individual event in the Ironman70.3…wish me luck!