The Surprising End to My Fitness Challenge
Since January 6th, I’ve been participating in the SocialDad90Day Challenge, along with about 20 other people.
Together we’ve motivated, commiserated, and gone back to inspiring to keep going when it’s getting tough. We’ve shared advice on the best eating practice, diets that actually work, fun workouts, celebrating wins and why we want to achieve our goals.
One group member, Clair said “With this challenge, I feel that it helped me by making me want to do more and not feeling like I’m letting anyone down. We’re doing better for ourselves and it’s almost like having a friend with me.”
Darlene, who joined in the challenge via the Facebook group said “I feel much stronger. Working with a group of people online was very beneficial for me. I suffer from social anxiety.. so its been amazing not feeling committed to a day and time. The help and advice provided by you and Brenda (another challenger) has been so very helpful to me! Thanks for having this challenge… I wasn’t going to participate at first and now I’m really happy i did. I’ve been able to develop a routine and be consistent
On a personal level, the hardest part has been, and probably always will be is the food. I love food, as most people do. However it’s hard to find the right balance between enjoying a meal or snack, and knowing when to stop. I can happily avoid food all day but then gorge on everything in sight around dinnertime.
There is hope though. I have started to really work on my portion control. I approach a mealtime knowing how much I’m going to eat and don’t go past it. I’ve worked out that I need more food if I’m working out that day, or if I’ll be stuck at my desk then I can cut back.
The other huge part is exercise. It’s taken me a long time to really enjoy it, but it’s become one of my favourite parts of my day. Some days it’s a short 30 minute workout and stretch before work and others it’s a 2 hour cardio session where I catch up on Netflix while using the elliptical machine at my local Steve Nash Fitness World.
I’ve lost 15 lbs of fat, and put on some muscle. My stamina has gone from struggling to run 30 minutes without feeling shaky, to finishing a 90 minute jog and feeling fantastic. My clothes fit better, I’m more confident in how I look, and I’m looking forward to summer.
One of the very best things about finishing the challenge is how much more I can physically play with my daughter. Before Christmas, the “horsey-rides” and “fly me’s” were kept short. Either my back, my arms, or my legs would tire out too quickly to get much of a game going. Now my toddler gets bored before I get exhausted.
I can lift my daughter over my head and run around the store. We can hop together, shouting “ribbit!”. When she needs “up on daddy”, I don’t groan as I lift her. I can carry her and the groceries while running to the house as we rush for a diaper emergency.
For that, I have to credit my gym.
Going to the Steve Nash Fitness World gym near my home, or the Express location a couple of blocks away from my office has been key in my success. Seeing other people there, all working in the same direction to be their own best versions is inspiring.
What I didn’t expect to happen was to actually see myself in the mirror and like what I saw. It’s not a feeling I’ve had much of between my body image ambivalence from my young adulthood and my over critical self-image. I knew that if I compared my size and fitness level to when I finished university at 266 lbs, to now I’d see a startling difference. But that’s not what I saw every morning.
The slow, steady change made an incredible difference. It’s harder to notice and doesn’t provide much motivation to continue forcing yourself to get up and go to the gym or to stop yourself from having the treats that have been allowed for so long.
Now the challenge is over, it’s time to really step it up. I have to train for the Vancouver Sun Run in a few weeks and then the BMO half marathon (yikes) shortly after that. It’s going to be a tiring, but rewarding summer.
I’d like to thank everyone who joined in the challenge and congratulate them all on working so hard to make a huge difference in their lives. Don’t stop now!
Disclaimer: Thank you so, so much to Steve Nash Fitness Worlds for providing me with an extended trial at your gyms. It really helped me with the challenge and to keep motivated.
RegApril 3, 2018 at 9:32 pm
What an amazing outcome! I think being able to play with our kids with more stamina makes the gym struggles totally worth it.
Darlene SchullerApril 4, 2018 at 2:25 am
I really really enjoyed this. I feel good I think I look good. Forever thankful <3
Brenda PentonApril 4, 2018 at 2:37 am
Great job, James!! You’re awesome!
I wish things would have been different for me in the challenge as I started out great and a health issue took over, Though no ones fault, just the way life happens sometimes. It didn’t change how great the challenge was and I was happy to see how people got on throughout.
Once I am well again, I look forward to any challenges you may have in the future!
jamesrcsmithApril 6, 2018 at 8:08 am
Hey Brenda, there’s no shame in that at all! Putting your health first is super important. It’s all about the marathon, not the sprint.
NicolthepickleApril 4, 2018 at 2:44 am
This is really a really good result. Well done,
I still don’t love exercise, but I agree, keeping it up makes a difference.
jamesrcsmithApril 6, 2018 at 8:07 am
Haha I know what you mean. During the cold, dark days of winter it’s been so hard to push myself out of the door. In the summer I’ll never be indoors! What’s your next goal?
TishaApril 4, 2018 at 7:11 am
Super proud of you James. 🙂 Great job getting yourself and others motivated! My challenge evolved over the 90 days and I’ve joined Oxygen and am practicing yoga 5x per week. Thanks for helping kick it into high gear for me!
jamesrcsmithApril 6, 2018 at 8:06 am
Thanks Tisha! Congratulations on doing yoga and joining the gym. I couldn’t have done any of it without the support of the whole group. See you at the Sun Run!
Dashing DadApril 20, 2018 at 12:21 pm
Good for you James! And good job lining up things to do after the challenge. The hardest part to fitness – at least I find – is staying motivated. Goals always help me.