This is the story of 6 Innervate Health and Fitness personal training Sydney clients (and one Sydney Personal Trainer : Lisa Brown) and their individual journeys during a 12 week wellness challenge of: no wheat, no processed sugar, no alcohol and of course training hard.
I’m Grant, I am a father of three, four if you include my French Bulldog Leo. I run a search and recruitment business specialising in Financial Services.
Why did you decide to get involved in the 12 week wellness challenge?
The stars all aligned. Lisa asked me whether I wanted to get involved. The timing was perfect in that I had just had my silly season: lots of entertaining clients. The 12 week wellness challenge ended two weeks prior to me turning 40. Literally 10 minutes after I agreed to the challenge, a close friend of mine called me to tell me he registered me for the SMH Sydney Half Marathon.
It felt like fate. I had never done a Half Marathon before and the thought was really daunting. I have kept fit my whole life but it generally involved a soccer ball. Ask me to run in a straight line for more than half an hour and I would have recoiled in disgust. So, it all felt like the best possible way to tackle my mid-life crisis head-on. It is much healthier and cheaper than fast cars and fast women and better for my marriage. Albeit some of the 5:30am wake-ups for runs before work didn’t overly impress my wife!
What exercise did you do outside of your personal training sessions?
I did 1-2 PT sessions a week with Lisa, one group session a week with workmates and 3 runs a week.
Tell us about the nutrition side:
I generally eat on a 80/20 rule, but proactively avoid bread and gluten. The challenge therefore wasn’t too daunting except for the alcohol and sugar – especially because my wife runs a baking business from home so I am constantly surrounded by sweet goodies!
I slept a lot better, felt a million times better waking up in the morning, my toilet habits improved and the weight flew off me.
What was the best thing about the challenge?
I am best when structured both from a nutrition and exercise perspective. I am also generally pretty disciplined so when I put my mind to something I will move Heaven and Earth to make it happen – much to my wife’s dismay! So the structured nature of it really worked for me. Whilst I missed alcohol and especially sugar, I felt great within a couple of weeks. I slept a lot better, felt a million times better waking up in the morning, my toilet habits improved and the weight flew off me. Very quickly I saw some great results on the road whilst running.
What were the biggest challenges/obstacles you faced?
My wife surprised me with a 5 day dream trip to London. I felt like I was letting everyone in the group down, especially myself. Whilst it was a no-brainer to ‘get over myself’, technically I cheated (in a big way) for a 5 whole days. As a result, I didn’t feel like I could continue being part of the group as technically I did not complete the challenge – my goodness it was worth it though as I had a blast!!
What did you learn?
I learned that I am my own biggest critic and I put more pressure on myself than anyone else puts on me – I need to take stock sometimes and realise that I am a lot healthier and my nutrition is a lot better than most and I need to relax a little bit more. I also realised that the old cliché is SO TRUE – if you really put your mind to something you can genuinely achieve physical and mental goals that you never realised you could! The very best part of it was that I had no idea of the positive effect my journey had on my kids.
It was an amazing example to set. They saw me get up at the crack of dawn, sometimes in the dark and pouring rain to go for my runs. They saw me come home, stretch and ice religiously and eat healthily. They were at the finish line and the look of pride on their face I will never forget. My daughter was still telling me a week later how proud she is of me and that she has learnt that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. (She is 10).
The very best part of it was that I had no idea of the positive effect my journey had on my kids. It was an amazing example to set.
Also, if I have a specific goal/challenge to train towards, it keeps me much more foccused than exercising for exercising’s sake…
When I am being kind to myself through exercise and nutrition and when I spend lots of time stretching I find myself wanting to watch much less TV, having lots more Epsom-salt baths (with no noise and candles) and spent more time meditating. It is all good!!!
What physical results did you get?
I lost 8 kilos. Much stronger core.
What advice would you give others?
Know your triggers. The ones that throw you out of your positive rhythm. Understand what drives them and work really hard at recognising them and making small changes to change those patterns. e.g. If you get sick, make sure you get back to the gym as soon as you START feeling better, even if you go through the motions – just keep moving so 2 weeks doesn’t suddenly go by and you lose your momentum completely. Other things like when you go on holiday or have a blow out eating or drinking. Minor set backs are just that. Get back on the wagon straight away and keep going!
Someone wise once said there is some kind of connection between the capacity to love and the capacity to love running/exercising rigorously. The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you’ve got, being patient and forgiving and… undemanding…maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that getting better at one could make you better at the other.
Deep I know, but so true…
How has it been for you since the challenge finished?
I had a one week blow-out and enjoyed every second of eating and drinking what I wanted! Come Sunday though, I was really foccused and excited about getting back on the wagon, eating clean and training hard… Back to my 80/20 rule
I am registering for my first trail run in September so have something to work towards through Winter.
Would you do something like this again????????
YES! Same time next year…!
Look out for the next blog, it will be Nat’s story of her 12 week health challenge.
Do you want to prepare for an event like the SMH Sydney Half Marathon like Grant? Get in touch with us and we can help you to whatever finish line you choose!