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…and then I fell down. Episode 1

Posted by on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 @ 9:56 am | Leave a reply

As they prepare for the 2013 Leadville Trail 100, Newton Running employees Laura Tingle and Kara Henry wanted to document their journey. The name of this series, “…and then I fell down.” comes from the ladies’ tendency to get up close and personal with the ground. We hope you enjoy the show!

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Take that, adversity!

Posted by on Thursday, September 20, 2012 @ 9:53 am | Leave a reply

If you are a runner, you know what it is to experience set-back. It’s inevitable. You feel great, and set out with optimism for a long run, only to have an injury flare up and stop you in your tracks after only a few km. Or you push yourself too hard with speed or distance and end up needing to take a week off. Or your really injure yourself, your training gets derailed, and you find yourself far short of your goals for the season, which is how my year has played out.

My favorite view from my favorite section of my favorite route.

As I discussed in my last post, I spent my spring and summer struggling with shin splints and foot pain as a result of improper foot wear. These injuries proved to be the undoing of my training plan, and a serious setback to my distance goals from the year. I ran my second half marathon in the spring, before my injuries had become too serious. The race went well, and I managed to shave 10 minutes off my previous time. Filled with the optimism that inevitably accompanies a successful run, I immediately registered in the Victoria Marathon, which gave me 5 months to train. I sat down and devised a detailed training plan, and looked forward to a summer of gradually building up to my first marathon!

As the state of my legs and feet deteriorated, so did my running and my training plan. I couldn’t amass enough distance to improve, and couldn’t seem to break through the 10 km barrier. However, I remained optimistic, hoping that my problems would resolve themselves, and that I’d be able to salvage my training and run the marathon. It wasn’t until mid July, after 3 months of unsuccessful physio sessions that I completely surrendered all hope of completing the full marathon, and downgraded my registration to the half marathon. I was terribly disappointed, as I knew it would be quite some time before I had another chance to run a full marathon, and I’d really wanted this to be “my year”. But I was also realistic enough to realize that, in the shape I was in, I’d be lucky if I could even pull off completing a half marathon. And after all, is a half marathon really something to sneeze at? I think not! So I dusted off my injured pride, and set out to make the best of the situation. At the risk of sounding trite and slightly Erma Bombeckish, I’ve always believed that if you can squeeze something positive out of a bad situation, then you’ve really come out ahead.

So what are the positives I manage to extract from this situation?

1 . Knowledge. Because i was determined that this injury was not going to be the end of my running career, I began to research. I spent hours pouring over forums, sports medicine web pages, anatomy books, running books, and picking the brain of anyone who would talk to me about sports related injury. I learned a great deal about injuries, how to prevent them, and how to deal with them when they did happen. This research led me to discover many methods for speeding recovery and caring for an injury, such as compression sleeves, icing, foam rollers and taping. I learned the benefits of building core strength, and which areas of my body I should work to strengthen in order to circumvent injury. I researched shoes obsessively, and probably know more about the current footwear available, and which shoes are appropriate for which types of runners, than do the staff at most running stores.

2. Mindfulness. Finding my miracle shoes was really only half the battle. It’s a basic fact that your running shoes are only as good as your form. I never put a great deal of thought into my form until I started going to physio, and the therapist emphasized how important good form is to injury free running. While I’ve never been a heavy heel striker, I knew I had a great deal room to improve my form. I started reading about Chi Running, and other forms of “natural running”, which I believed would complement my new footwear. I spent many hours reading barefoot and natural running forums, and watched countless YouTube videos demonstrating a natural gait compatible with minimal footwear. I slowly incorporated these techniques into my running, and my runs began to improve steadily, both in terms of comfort and efficiency. Form is now at the forefront of my mind while I’m running. I am in a constant state mindfulness while I run; looking for pain, counting my cadence, checking my gait, making sure my core is engaged and my pelvis leveled, pulling my shoulders back and my head up, relaxing my arms, concentrating on landing softly on my mid foot. I am always aware of any little tweaks that might turn into something more serious. I know immediately if I need to pull back a bit, or if I can afford to push myself a little bit harder. I’m able to avoid losing my form at the end of a run when I’m really fatigued, which is the time when many runners start to get sloppy and inattentive. When I return from a hard run, I know immediately which areas of my body need the most post-run attention. This awareness has made me a much more efficient runner. My recovery time is much shorter than it used it used to be. I’m usually able to assess my pain and determine if it’s normal pain resulting from a hard workout, or something more serious that I need to really focus on. When you are able to listen to and interpret what your body is trying to tell you, you’ll be much less prone to injury.

3. Patience. This has been by far the most difficult lesson for me to learn with regard to running. My tendency has always been to run as far and as fast as I can before hitting the wall and collapsing. I’d always tried to increase my load as much as possible each week, assuming this was the only way to improve my endurance. If I had a bad run and couldn’t run as far as I had hoped, I’d be discouraged and feel like the run had been a waste of time. Well, nothing slows you down like an injury, and when you’ve been slowed down, you can respond in one of two ways. You can try to battle through the pain and push yourself even harder, which slows the healing process, puts you at risk of exacerbating your injuries, and can lead to new injuries. OR, you can be patient. You can focus on your injuries and what you can do to overcome them. You can start with short runs and back off when things start to hurt. I went with option number one for the first little while, until I realized that my injuries were getting worse and my running was not improving. This lesson instilled in me a more gradual and conservative approach to running. I’ve been building up my mileage very slowly, and backing off when I need to, especially now that my injuries are starting to improve. I’m no longer afraid to take a few days off if my legs feel tired, and I certainly don’t feel that a short run is a wasted run. I’ve started to accept that not every run is going to be stellar, and no longer feel discouraged if I can’t accomplish the distance I set out to run. Not only has my endurance improved with the arrival of this new, more relaxed attitude, but I find I enjoy running a great deal more when I’m not focused solely on pounding out a predetermined amount of kilometers. I now enjoy running for its own sake, for the experience of the run, the beauty of the scenery I’m moving through, and the way my body feels when it’s moving down the road. I know that if I keep working away at it, I’ll eventually arrive at my desired level of fitness, and I’ll be able to run a successful and enjoyable marathon. I’m aiming to reach my full marathon goal at the Vancouver Marathon in May. In the meantime, I have the Victoria half coming up on October 7th, and the Fall Classic half in November. I’m not anticipating a PR or particularly stellar time, but I intend to enjoy every minute of each race as well as the pain, sweat and joy of training.

So, as you can see, while my season did not go at all the way I’d planned, and I experienced a great deal of pain and frustration, I think I came out ahead in the bargain. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and skills that will make me a much better runner in the long run. I’ve changed my running philosophy from focusing on putting in the miles, to running for running for the joy of running, and getting the most out of each session. I also get to enjoy that wonderfully smug feeling that comes when you’re able to benefit from a bad situation!

Andrea’s other posts:

Goodbye Limits: Meet Andrea
Andrea finds her shoes

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60 Days of Better: Daily Inspiration – Shirley T.

Posted by on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 @ 2:36 pm | Leave a reply

When 60 Days of Better began we had planned to have your inspirational stories here and there in our line up. However, we’ve gotten so many stories from those of you who’s lives have been changed that we’ve decided to make them an almost daily occurrence! This email is from Shirley.

Hi Guys,

After many years of abdominal illness and surgery which led to weight gain, I tripped & broke my ankle. Again, more surgery and my surgeon told me I’d never run or become a runner. That’s all I needed to hear to take up running!

My 1st race was a 12k city2surf run, exactly 12 months ago. I had all sorts of pain, but I did it…. I was hooked, even with pain I felt a better and healthier me. I found your runners on the net & a local triathlon store stocked them, so, I bought my first pair of Newtons…….NO PAIN!……. I took up triathlon & completed many sprint distances, one of which was on my 40th birthday! Now, totally in love with my ‘mid-life crisis’ I bought more Newtons…….a girl can never have enough footwear! I’ve lost 26kgs (57.2 lbs) from my running and training.

Last week I ran the Perth city2surf half marathon to celebrate my first year running pain free. I’m running a 15 miler in 3 weeks & I’ve signed up for a 70.3 in Jan 2013. I run about 20-30km a week….not bad for someone who was told they would never run! Hello Better…..

Thank you,

Shirley T.

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Newton Running Wallpapers!

Posted by on Monday, September 17, 2012 @ 1:22 pm | Leave a reply

Many of you asked for them and here they are! Just save the image you want (with the appropriate screen resolution) and set it as your wallpaper/desktop background!

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How Did Robbie Lose 100 Lbs.? (Part 2)

Posted by on @ 8:46 am | Leave a reply

While I have really enjoyed the fitness aspect of getting healthy, seeing my progress and accomplishments, I must say that the food part is a daily WWIII.

As I stated, I am a food addict.  Yes, an addict, like a crack head!  Like someone addicted to a drug must have their hit or they go crazy, I too must have my hit (at least that’s what my body tries to tell me).  Please understand, I am no doctor or scientist and I have never taken an illicit drug, so I am only speaking from my limited understanding.  I can’t tell you if it’s just my emotions or if there is an actual chemical imbalance going on.  All I can say is that the urge or the draw to eat poorly is ridiculously strong in me.  I KNOW what I should eat, but eating something high in fat, salt, or sugar just feels so good and calming to me, even if it is only for a short time.  And oftentimes, it’s a snowball effect, and things get out of control quickly, sometimes for weeks at a time.

Here is my problem.  The actual drug addict does not need his drug of choice to live.  He may need to be weaned off that drug slowly so that addiction does not kill him, but generally speaking, an addict can be weaned from the drug and never take it again and be just fine.  A food addict cannot give up food.  We humans, as you know, must have food to live.  I have to eat something, and I have to make a decision of what I am going to eat several times a day, every day, for the rest of my life.  I am not saying I have it as bad as an actual drug addict (my withdrawal is certainly not as painful), but I feel I can relate to one. I have to constantly see my drug and make a good decision.   This has made getting healthy incredibly difficult.

Which leads me to what people want to know, what did I eat to lose 100 lbs.?  It’s actually pretty simple.  I ate about 1200 calories a day.  The trick was that I ate the exact same food basically every single day.  I wasn’t actually writing down what I was eating and counting up calories for every meal (that process is such a hassle).  I figured out a breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner that amounted to about 1200 calories a day and ate those exact meals every single day. Here is what I started with:

Breakfast – 375 total calories

Half of a whole wheat bagel – 135 calories
Peanut Butter (1tbsp) – 100 calories
Banana (small) – 60 calories
Skim Milk (1 cup) – 80 calories

Lunch – 424 total calories

Skinless Chicken Leg Quarter (about 3.5 ounces) – 138 calories
Canned vegetable – 120 calories
Sourdough Square Bread (1 slice, toasted) – 130 calories
Pat of butter – 36 calories

Snack – 140 total calories

Starbucks Doubleshot Espresso – 140 calories

Dinner – 260 total calories

Bag of Popcorn – 260 calories (Boy Scout Popcorn, http://tinyurl.com/8o8tys3)

Day Total – 1206 calories (give or take, based on actual serving sizes)

This worked really well for me.  I was never hungry until it was about time to eat again, and I got to eat things I thought tasted pretty good.  We would make the lunch once or twice a week so I didn’t have to prepare something complicated every day.  We just packed a bunch in plastic containers in the fridge and I would grab one when I needed it.  This plan did allow for flexibility.  If I wanted to eat dessert or whatever I would just adjust my meals accordingly.  Change was rare; for the most part I really stuck to the plan.

I followed this plan for a while and lost a lot of weight.  At some point, I decided that I could do better.  I thought I needed the food to be healthier.  I just thought I could do something with a little more balance.  This is what I eat now:

Homemade Broccoli Chicken Alfredo- 240 calories (Sauce Recipe, used sparingly, allrecipes.com: http://tinyurl.com/9xtvtr8)

3 M&M’s- 9 calories (I eat these slowly and savor them!)

I eat that meal every three hours like clockwork.  Generally, we make about 20 servings at a time, paying very close attention to serving sizes, and store them in plastic containers in the fridge.  I don’t have to count calories all day and I don’t eat within about 2 hours of going to bed.  If I eat out somewhere I pull the restaurant’s nutrition information up on my phone and find something that’s about 250 calories. I also only drink Vitamin Water Zero.  It has no calories and it’s sweetened naturally with Stevia (you get used to the taste; I actually love it now!).

I also don’t plan a cheat day anymore.  I would just gorge myself on that day, feel terrible after, and gain several pounds back.  It’s so not worth it.  I just cheat every now and then, when it seems appropriate, like at a birthday party.  Sometimes I will treat myself to a good meal, like a burger, when I feel like I’ve been doing really well.

By the way, I generally don’t eat the calories I burn when I run.  Meaning, I don’t say, “Hey, I burned 800 calories running today, so I can go eat 3 slices of pizza”!  I hear a lot of people saying they do that and I think they are just crazy.  They are just cheating themselves and canceling out their hard work.  I will, however, do it on days when I treat myself.  I generally won’t cheat unless I have run for that day.  99% of the time, when I say I ate 1200 calories, I ate 1200 calories.  I didn’t eat 2000 and ran off 800.  If you are just maintaining your weight, eating your burned calories is a brilliant idea.  For those trying to lose weight, it makes no sense.

When I changed my plan the weight began to just fall off!  The more balanced meal really kept my metabolism working all day long.  When I started my plan, initially, I did feel hungry, and even had a headache the first couple of days (withdrawal?).  My body soon adjusted and I felt fantastic.  Eating healthy and running regularly enabled me to lose 100 lbs.  The keys for me were sticking with it long enough for my body to adjust, which took several weeks before I saw significant, consistent weight loss and paying close attention to actual serving sizes (we used a food scale).

The sad part is that I am still an addict.  I still fall off the wagon more often than I would like to confess.  I still battle with food on a constant basis every day.  And that is the kicker….I AM A FOOD ADDICT AND I LOST 100LBS!!!  I got through it.  I did it and am still doing it!  I may always have this turbulent relationship with food, but I made the decision that food will not own me and food will not decide who I am going to be.  And addiction isn’t always bad; I’m addicted to running now, too!

This is what I’m looking at every three hours (minus 3 M&M’s, of course). It’s yummy!

Robbie’s other posts:

Goodbye Limits: Meet Robbie
How Did Robbie Lose 100 Lbs.? (Part 1)

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Retail Spotlight: DEKA

Posted by on Friday, September 14, 2012 @ 10:34 am | Leave a reply

During 60 Days of Better, not only are we trying to put Newtons on the feet of those who’ve not tried us yet, but we want to get you into our amazing network of retailers. One of Newtons biggest advocates and strongest retailers is DEKA. I had a chance to chat with owner and founder of DEKA, Jim Whitlow and it’s easy to see why DEKA is so successful and has now been able to expand its influence to a second location in Chicago. Jim’s passion is larger than anything that could ever fit on a page so be sure to visit DEKA if you’re near them in Atlanta or Chicago!

How did DEKA get its start?

Jim spent many years in fashion retail and saw an opportunity for something different and better. Noticing that women were spending a lot of time in workout clothing even when they were not going to or from a workout but just for everyday clothing, the idea began to take shape. The goal was to start a store that offered a different environment than women shopping for workout clothes were used to. Pushing aside the potential overwhelming and intimidating feel that a traditional running specialty shop can have, Jim wanted to create a more upscale and inviting experience. Not just leaving that feel to the merchandise, DEKA went all in with decor and ambience and created a one of a kind look and feel.

DEKA began as DEKA Athletics but soon dropped the word “Athletics” from its name. The motivation for this was that they were striving to be a store that appeals to everyone, including those who may be scared off by walking into an “athletics” shop. That type of outside the box thinking and challenging the accepted thought process of what makes a fashion store and what makes an athletics store has garnered DEKA an incredibly diverse and loyal customer base.

How does Newton fit into the DEKA mentality?

A large part of Jim’s goal at DEKA is to give shoppers a place where they can come and see merchandise that is always on the cutting edge. Each piece in the store(s) has been extremely carefully selected for its quality, design, feel and functionality so that if someone wants to see the best of the best and not have to deal with sorting through things they won’t want, they can trust that has already been done for them. DEKA’s customers want to be shown the best and that’s what DEKA does.

Where does Newton fall into that? DEKA sells Newtons because they fit the bill of being über-fashionable and a premium product. If a shopper wants a fashionable shoe, here’s a pair of Newtons. If a shopper wants the most progressive shoe technology, well, here’s a pair of Newtons! If you walk into DEKA and ask “Why Newtons?”. Well, in Jim’s words:

“We only sell the best products and quite simply, Newtons are the best running shoes you can buy.”

Probably one of DEKA’s most amazing qualities is its deep knowledge and understanding of its customers. They know who wants to see what when they walk through the door. Each person on the sales floor has an in-depth understanding of the products so they can cater to a shopper’s taste without having to waste time separating the wheat from the chaff. During our conversation I was constantly amazed with Jim’s innate ability to pinpoint what limits he could push with which customers. That knowledge and understanding is a cornerstone of DEKA’s success which cannot be overstated.

What’s next for DEKA?

Having just opened their second location in Chicago, Jim and DEKA are not a company that is looking to spread itself too thin. Rather, the dedicated staff of DEKA Chicago is working to learn and understand a new community in its new digs. Looking forward, once the Chicago store is well in hand and crushing it then, Jim has an eye on other “active” communities around the country that fit the bill. A few cities on his radar are Los Angeles, Dallas and New York.

Speaking to Jim, you would think you were speaking to the most gun-ho-for-Newton person around…and that’s because you are! The enthusiasm and genuine care for Newton and what we’re doing is what makes DEKA such an effective retailer. After our conversation, Jim shot me a note:

“Enjoyed our talk! Thanks for all of your support with DEKA!!!”

I wrote back, “Our support of you guys is striving to be as supportive as you are of us. It’s really awesome (from my perspective) to see a shop/owner/staff who is so incredibly behind a brand and believes in it so strongly that they go all in!”

If you’re in the Atlanta or Chicago area, please swing by and say hi!

DEKA Atlanta on Facebook
DEKA Atlanta on Twitter

DEKA Chicago on Facebook
DEKA Chicago on Twitter 

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60 Days of Better: Daily Inspiration – Nelson L.

Posted by on Thursday, September 13, 2012 @ 3:10 pm | Leave a reply

When 60 Days of Better began we had planned to have your inspirational stories here and there in our line up. However, we’ve gotten so many stories from those of you who’s lives have been changed that we’ve decided to make them an almost daily occurrence! This email is from Nelson.

I had IT band problems for 3 months and i couldn’t run at all, not even a mile. I was rehabbing it all the time: IT rolling, stretching and getting a weekly massage. After 3 months I thought i was better after a PT visit. I tried to run but couldn’t run more than 10 min without pain only 2 months before my Ragnar team. I figured if i ever try a minimal/natural running shoe with the adjoining gait this would be the time so I bought one. My first run in the minimal shoe I went the full lap around the lake, 3 miles, pain free. I tried the traditional shoes and mu knee hurt again, even with an attempted forefoot strike, but put he minimal shoes on the following day and got another lap pain-free. I have been pain free in the IT Band area, even though the slight swelling has not dissipated much, during my runs ever since.

My next pair will be a Newton Distance shoe.

Cheers!

Nelson L.

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Andrea Finds Her Shoes

Posted by on @ 9:11 am | 1 Reply

Continuing our series highlighting two people with inspiring stories during 60 Days of Better, we check in with Andrea to take a look at how she found Newton Running.

Shoes. I would argue from experience that this is one of the most vitally important factors for successful running. Yet strangely enough, it’s a factor I never really put much thought into, until quite recently. This is an oversight that played a large part in derailing my season and had me convinced that I might have to give up the thing I love the most.

After a fairly lengthy winter hiatus, I returned to running in February, treated myself to a pair of new runners, and eased back into my routine. After a couple of weeks, I began experiencing shin splints, which is not something I’ve ever been afflicted by. The weeks were rolling by, and I was not seeing any improvement in my running. I couldn’t seen to break through the 10 km barrier no matter how often I ran. My shin splints became progressively worse, accompanied by intense pain in my calves and over the tops of my feet. I would try to run through it, and end up limping home. I started a regime of stretching, massage and strength exercises, none of which made a dent in the pain. Foam rollers, compression sleeves and braces did nothing. I started going to physiotherapy, and did my assigned exercises religiously. My therapist tried fascia scraping, electro therapy, acupuncture, ultrasound, exercises and joint mobilization. Nothing worked, and he was unable to pinpoint the cause of my injury.

This was a period of extreme frustration and discouragement. Over and over I would head out, hoping that this might be the run that would turn things around. Over and over I would have to cut my run short and limp home with tears in my eyes. I felt bitter and angry, and betrayed by my own body. I was convinced that I had done some sort of irreparable damage to my legs, and that I would have to give up running, a thought that terrified me to the bone. Running had been my rock and anchor, and I was terrified that without it I would slide back into depression.

But then came that fateful day when I experienced what I like to refer to as my running “enlightenment”. I was at the track, doing my best to make it through as speed workout. I was experiencing so much pain in my feet that, in a fit of frustration, I kicked off my shoes and ran a lap barefoot. And it didn’t hurt! It didn’t hurt, so I ran another lap, and another. That day I ran 16 laps without anything on my feet, and it was the first time in 6 months that I wasn’t plagued by debilitating pain. It was also the first time in 6 months that i felt a ray of hope. Yes, my feet were red and blistered, and felt like they’d been whacked with a spatula, but it wasn’t the pain of an injury that would send me home limping.

Since I started running, I was always told that I was a flat footed pronator, and stuck into built up, structured stability shoes. I now suspected that perhaps I didn’t pronate that much after all, and didn’t really need all that support and stability. I booked an in depth biomechanical assessment with a pedorthist, who confirmed all of my suspicions. I did NOT need stability shoes, and in fact, the shoes I had been running in had been the cause of all my difficulties. These shoes had impeded my natural gait, which caused my foot to attempt to adapt, putting extreme pressure on my calves and the tendons along the top of my foot.

The very next day, I was at Forerunners, my gear Mecca, looking for a more minimal neutral shoe without all the padding and structure. I probably tried on about 30 different models, looking for just the right pair- minimal but with enough cushion to run long distances, a low heel to toe drop, a nice roomy toe box, and unobtrusive arch support. I was pretty close to giving up when I picked up the shoes with the funny looking bottoms, called Newtons. I slipped them on, and it felt like a home coming for my feet! I bought them without a second thought, and never looked back! My runs improved drastically, and the pain began to subside. My runs are not always pain free, and not always easy, but the good runs far out number the bad, and the miles are starting to add up.

It’s going to take months of physio to undo the damage I inflicted on my feet and legs with improper footwear, which is why I can’t stress enough how important it is to find the right pair of shoes! Do your research. Read forums. Talk to successful runners. See a pedorthist or podiatrist if you experience foot pain. If you want to have a long and satisfying running career, then finding the right shoe is the most important thing you can spend time and money on. Only a month after finding my perfect shoe, I’m back on their road three times a week, my mileage is back up where it should be, and my training is right on track for my October half marathon!

Andrea’s other posts:

Goodbye Limits: Meet Andrea

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60 Days of Better: Daily Inspiration

Posted by on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 @ 1:59 pm | Leave a reply

When 60 Days of Better began we had planned to have your inspirational stories here and there in our line up. However, we’ve gotten so many stories from those of you who’s lives have been changed that we’ve decided to make them an almost daily occurrence! This email is from Jon.

Greetings Newton Runners!

This is a sensitive subject for me, but I feel like I am not alone when it comes to being overweight.

My name is Jon and my Newton’s saved my life. August 2011 I stepped on the scale: 278 lbs. Enough is enough. I was miserable, unhappy, lacked self confidence and had no direction.

Following a 5 day juice fast, I began running. I started with 30 second intervals followed by 2 minutes of walking. After a few weeks I was able to run a lap, sometimes two laps. 5-10 minutes of continuous running was an amazing accomplishment for me. I couldn’t run for more than 10 seconds when I first started which is why I began slow and allowed my body to build the strength and endurance.

I bought the Isaac Newton shoes in January 2012. Newtons saved me because I had to carry a lot of weight when I ran and because of that, my knees and joints would hurt. After watching many tutorial videos and running with my Isaac’s, eating tons of fruits and vegetables, and having confidence in myself I was able to lose 77 lbs in a years time. I also ran a half marathon in May with a time of 2:14:00. Not bad for a man who couldn’t run one lap 10 months prior :)

I’m currently on my second pair of Newtons and training for another half marathon. Newton Running has saved me from all sorts of diseases that I would have obtained if I didn’t start running. They also saved my muscles and joints years of running because of the technology put into them. Thank you to the Newton Running community for the support. You have a Newton runner here for life.

Jon T.

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How Did Robbie Lose 100 Lbs.? (Part 1)

Posted by on Monday, September 10, 2012 @ 10:18 am | Leave a reply

When you lose 100lbs it’s pretty easy to guess the number one question you get asked. It’s always, “So how’d you do it?” Here’s how (Part 1).

#1 Start Small

As I said, I failed at every diet known to man, from Atkins and Weight Watchers to the all fruit and veggies diet, so I was determined to make this time different. Instead of jumping into a plan cold turkey I would break it up into more manageable parts. I decided to just focus on fitness and not worry about food just yet. My goal was to make fitness a part of my life, something that was second nature to me. Once I was able to stay active on a regular basis, then I would focus on eating properly. I also did not try to do too much when I initially got on the treadmill. My running buddy Bryce gave me a parameter of spending a minimum of 60 minutes on the treadmill. So I made that my goal, no matter how slow I had to walk to make it happen. I think I started out walking about 2mph the first few times we went and I was exhausted when I was done.

This photo was taken at Planet Fitness in Newport News, VA. It’s blurry because I was on a treadmill at the time. I think it is the only photo taken of me actually working out while I was losing the 100lbs.

 

#2 Challenge Yourself

Even though I couldn’t do much in the beginning, I still wanted to be challenged. Bryce would encourage me to up the speed of the treadmill by .2 or .3mph for the last minute or two of my workout. Most of the time, I followed his suggestion, although I can’t say I didn’t complain about it a time or two! ☺ A lot of times I would work out alone but I would always make sure that I pushed myself just a little. I knew Bryce was going to ask how it went and I didn’t want him to think I was slacking off (accountability is a great motivator!). I kept track of the time, distance, and calories burned for each of my workouts and I would aim to do just a little better each time, assuming my body felt up to it. If I was overly tired or sore I would not push it because I did not want to risk an injury. Injuries are the worst and they should be avoided like the plague (more on that in a few weeks)!

#3 Follow Through

The biggest failure I made in every diet I tried was that I did not give it enough time to work. I would give it a few weeks and if I didn’t see the results I thought I should see I gave up. I decided this time that I was going to continue this no matter what. It was actually pretty easy to do since my goal here was not to lose weight but to make fitness a part of my life. I kept going to the gym; I kept working out. I am a normal person. I work 40+ hours a week and I have a wife and two kids. I’m not wealthy, so I can’t afford a chef or maid. I make time several days a week for me to get my work out in. Yes, that means that sometimes I have to get up at 4am in the morning to get my run in (that’s rare, but I’ve done it). It’s about doing what you know is important. This is important to me, and to my wife and kids, so I made sure that I followed through and stuck with it long enough to actually see results.

One early spring day, the weather seemed to be pretty nice. The longest I had run without stopping was 3 miles, but those were mostly run on a treadmill (which is easier). That day I ran a PR (personal best) 4 miles. It wasn’t pretty and it certainly wasn’t very fast (10:50 pace), but that day I fell in love with running (and haven’t stepped on a treadmill since). Running became a part of who I am. From this point on I would have a new identity…I was a runner. I felt like a superhero. I felt like I could take on the world.

Today, I run all the time, several times a week. When I don’t run for several days, for whatever reason, I miss it and I feel like my Newtons are giving me the evil eye every time I walk by. In fact, I am currently training for my first half marathon on November 3rd and my first full marathon next year on March 17th! Since I began, I’ve logged 583 miles over 200 workouts. I never thought I would call myself a runner. I never thought I would say that I loved running, but I do. I know there are people out there right now who are saying the same thing, that there is no way they would ever be able to run. And yet here I am. I was that guy and now I am a runner. Believe it when I say, if I (a food addict who weighed over 300lbs) can do it…you can do it!

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