A few months ago I decided to make a few lifestyle changes – initially not so much out of necessity, but out of a sheer desire to live up to some of my most valued personal expectations. One such change was regarding my physical fitness and health.
I will highly doubt that there is anyone out there who does not secretly or otherwise crave to be fit and healthy. Unfortunately, far too many of us get carried away with our busy work and study schedules, and overlook the need to integrate physical exercise into our daily routines.
For most of my life, I have been involved in sports – from Track & Field to Lawn Tennis. But having made the early decision to focus more on my academics and less on sports, my lifestyle also started revolving more around the rigours of academia.
In my early to mid 20s, sporadic weekend sessions on the tennis courts, and random laps around a nearby field at my university seemed to suffice. For the most part, I was able to maintain a fairly good physique, and I cannot recall having any medical scares.
However, in my late 20s, I started noticing a few changes in my body and in my physical fitness. My endurance was absolutely poor, I constantly felt lethargic, and it had become quite a challenge to maintain a flat stomach – yes, I know, it sounds a bit vain, but that is what I had known all my life.
I knew exactly what I needed to do, but the demands of my graduate studies and then fledgling career in International Development, made it a bit more complicated than ever. Thankfully, I found inspiration in my dear wife, who in 2013 had made a major lifestyle change by committing herself to daily physical exercise and healthy eating.
Since then, I have looked on in awe as she goes through the strides of her high intensity interval training (HIIT) and weight room sessions. But looking on was not enough. I needed to respond to the changes in my body’s metabolism, and of course, to my wife’s constant encouragement to join her. And so I did.
I joined a gym in Summer 2016, and started seeing and feeling the results within a few months – which is precisely what my wife had predicted, in light of what she described as my “good muscle memory”. Of course I took that as a compliment, and was rather pleased to have seen such quick results.
In November 2016, I had no doubt that I must have been in the shape of my life, and felt absolutely incredible in my body. But in the months that followed, the old saying, “Healthy mind, healthy body” could not prove any more accurate and timely.
Whatever the original conception of that old saying was, what it translated to for me, was that all the uncertainty and challenges of my career and studies in early 2017 created a very stressful situation for me, which consequently affected my physical fitness.
I had gradually slipped back into my old routine of sitting in my office for days working on projects, assignments, and seeking new opportunities, without much regard for my workout schedule.
I would say, “I’ll workout tomorrow”. Then “Tomorrow” would come, and I would make the same empty commitment. And when my conscience did not allow me to skip another day, I would slip in a half-hearted, superficial effort that focused simply on my biceps, triceps and abs. Needless for me to say, I was haunted by the fact that I was once again failing to live up to my personal expectations for my physical fitness and health.
So in July 2017, I re-committed myself to a new programme that my wife had developed for me. In her usual meticulous way, she created a plan that allowed me to cover all of my major muscle groups each week. Importantly as well, was her focus on cardio – something that I was not particularly fond of initially, but I have since grown to appreciate.
I am including a summary of the programme developed by my wife to help you get started on your fitness journey.
I have also started running again – and I am not talking about jogging here, I am referring to middle-distance pace. I am currently trying to maintain 4 miles per week, and my goal is to increase this to 12 miles per week by December 2017. I will be sure to keep you guys updated on that.
On the dietary front, I do make a fairly good effort to eat healthy. I will however be the first admit that I do have quite a bit of work to do in this regard – particularly as it pertains to incorporating the right amounts of food from each essential food group, required for optimizing my workout results.
Looking back on my journey thus far, I am quite satisfied with the progress that I have made, and the discipline that I have been developing towards my physical fitness and health. But what is it worth for me to be on this journey all alone? Today, I invite you to take that bold and necessary step towards living a healthier life. Because a fit and healthy you, is a successful you.
I keenly look forward to hearing about your journey and results.
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