So I happen to be for lack of a better term a religious guy. That said my faith is a cornerstone of who I am, but there is a little scripture that says your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Outside of that though and moving past religion, my body is the vessel that will carry me through life, it will be what keeps up with my 14mo son, loves my wife, fights off infection, and keeps me lets me traverse this planet we all share.
When I was teaching martial arts I was training 6 days a week, I was in amazing shape and had the metabolism of a young man and ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it. I was never much of a lifter, I tried to stay more lean and did a ton of calisthenics as I was trained to do. It was nothing for me to eat four or five thousand calories a day but again I was young and active, taking care of my body outside of what I was doing day in day out never even crossed my mind.
Now when my lifestyle changed and I moved in to a different career path and settled into a “normal” and steady life things changed for me, but it was a gradual change and one that I didn’t really even notice. Sure climbing stairs sucked sure I had to buy a size bigger shirts and went up a couple of pant sizes but it wasn’t really that bad was it? Well it was and I finally realized it. I went from being 205lbs back in the day to 270lbs. In fact the original reason I grew a beard was because my face got fat and I didn’t like it, now I have actually grown to like the beard so I’m keeping it but its there by choice now.
The turning point for me started in late August of 2014. Some of the guys in my neighborhood decided to have a neighborhood fitness challenge and we put up a little money, and that with the thought of keeping up and playing with my son was all the encouragement I needed. One of my best friends and former training partners was a strength and conditioning coach at a local college and is also a nutritionist and personal trainer so I gave him a call. I thought I knew how to get in shape and in truth I knew a fair amount about the physical part, but nothing about the psychological and nutritional aspects.
I realized that now that I am a little older what I put into my body greatly matters on what I can expect to get out of it and there is a much smarter way to train myself than what I had in mind.
This was me when I started at 270lbs. We did this contest for 10 weeks and I killed it. I ate clean, I lived clean I allowed myself a cheat day but overall slacked off some on the diet on weekends. We weighed in weekly and every week I was dropping more weight than anyone else. To be fair I was probably heavier than everyone else so that was to be expected, the contest was based on overall percentage so just the fact I was losing the most weight didn’t mean I was winning.
I ultimately did end up winning the contest, but the health benefits I saw were more important to me by the end of it than the money. I didn’t get winded so easy, I was getting stronger I was overall happier! Now I stuck with doing the things I knew exercise wise for those 10 weeks it was all cardio and calisthenics. By the end I was 235lbs.
I decided to take advantage of this and set some new goals to keep myself motivated. I signed up for the 2015 Spartan Sprint in Conyers! I convinced a group of guys from my church that they should do it too! And then I made a mistake…
Thanksgiving and Christmas were coming up and I was feeling proud so for some dumb reason I decided that I would take November and December off and eat whatever I wanted and do whatever I wanted. Now that was a HORRIBLE idea, but you know what they say about hindsight right? Anyway I got back up to 248lbs during that time. One of my fellow Spartans has some land and owns a construction company so we built a lot of obstacles and we started training on the course twice a week and each of us individually trained on our own the rest of the time.
On the Thursday before heading down to Conyers on Friday I was down to 243lbs and wasn’t very confident in my spear throw so I went literally in the freezing rain and practiced until I knew I had my technique down. It worked out great because on Saturday I nailed it even with the rope on the spear (we had not been training for that because we didn’t know it was there).
Since the race I have been eating and drinking even cleaner, cooking my lunches to take to the office and following the macros that my friend has set up for me. I used to hate waters taste, but now I just ignore it and drink it anyway cutting out everything except for some black coffee, un-sweet tea and an occasional sports drink or adult beverage if out with friends. I feel better than I have in years all the way around, and I can perform so much better in training because of the care I am now taking of my body. It has never been more evident to me that my body is in fact a temple and in that regard I owe it respect and reverence that I never showed it before. I don’t think about food like I did before either, I now eat to fuel the machine instead of for pleasure or out of stress with the exception of very special occasions.
This has made things slightly difficult with my family, I can’t always eat what they are eating but I do try to make a special effort to enjoy a meal with them and then supplement my food however I need to afterwords. Planning my meals and preparing them has had an interesting side affect of making manage my time better which is also a plus. I have also started a new training regime, I now run our course once a week, lift twice a week, run three days a week and do calisthenics and yoga in the evenings on the days that I run.
This is me now. Still a lot of work to do to clean this temple up, but I’m 238lbs, down a shirt size, down a pant size and continuing to shape up especially since I have a Super and Beast on the horizon.
Your body is more important than you think, or at least it was more important than I though but again that hindsight thing. Becoming a Spartan changed my whole thought process and man am I happy it did. Treat your body right and it will take care of you when you need its strength and endurance.
– Spartan 4 Life