It’s been one year since I started working out at Blitz Conditioning, which I have taken to calling my Blitzversary. A lot has happened in that year, lots of laughter and some tears and copious amounts of swearing and sweating.
I didn’t start coming to Blitz because I wanted to lose weight or get fit like a lot of people, although those were welcome side effects. What I wanted more was to gain control over my mental health. I have struggled with depression for years and although medication helped it only got me to about 70% of my “normal” self and I wanted to feel better. My doctor felt strongly that I needed to make permanent lifestyle changes if I was going to get back to feeling 100%, but I resisted his advice.
Then I read a book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John Ratey. In the book Ratey outlines the science that shows the benefits exercise has on our brains and what role it can have in treating and preventing everything from depression to Alzheimers. The book made a deep impression on me and I decided that I was ready to finally start making the commitment to change.
A year ago I was the poster child for bad habits and bad health. My diet consisted almost entirely of refined carbs and pop. I hadn’t exercised for over two years and I was so out of shape a flight of stairs would wind me. At 42 years old and dangerously overweight I had basically given up on ever being an active person again and I kept telling myself that I could live with that. But after reading Spark I decided what I couldn’t live with was the effects this lifestyle was having on my brain and mental health.
My doctor recommended working out with a personal trainer because he thought I needed accountability and to let someone else do the thinking for a while. I tend to over-think things just a wee bit. I suggested to my doctor that since I was really out of shape perhaps I should take a while to get fitter before I started working with a trainer. Now I can see how ridiculous that sounds but at the time I was dead serious and dreaded contacting Chris Tse, co-owner of Blitz. I actually called him from my doctor’s office because I was scared if I waited I would never make that call. When I talked to him I asked him if, being so out of shape, I would be the right type of person to train at Blitz. He said that Blitz trained everyone from zero to hero. I think I made a lame joke about being a minus six. But somewhat reassured by his responses I agreed to meet with Paul O’Brien for an initial consultation.
In the past when I have embarked on making healthy changes I have thrown my self into it with gusto. Not content to make one change at a time, I would do all of them at once. I would resolve to only eat organic gluten free macrobiotic food raised by wood elves and harvested under the cover of moonlight. I would exercise as much and as hard as I could, basically killing myself in the process, and balance it with yoga and meditation so I could become the Mother Theresa of fitness. I would also resolve to keep a daily journal to capture my innermost thoughts in order to glean insight and triumph over my inherent laziness. And as you can anticipate it would all fail miserably.
This time things would be different.