Finding motivation: counting down to Spartan

Spartan-Race-Spartan-Logo2

I’ve lost some motivation recently. Not only with my eating (which didn’t surprise me at all), but also in my training (which did). Losing training motivation snuck up on me and yes, it surprised me a bit, because for the majority of the last 18 months my motivation’s been strong. While I’ve not enjoyed specific exercises, or had down days in the gym, for the most part I’ve wanted to be there and I’ve wanted the results. But over the past couple of months I’ve found myself consistently thinking about skipping-out on PT sessions, and dragging my way through them when they do happen. My PT’s noticed it too. At the start of the year I set a couple of goals for myself- weight loss (not specific), to be able to deadlift my own body weight, and to do a pull-up.

Turns out I’m very motivated by an end-point, but when I set that end-point myself I don’t work so well. This isn’t new to me- I’m constantly dealing with this exact same thing in the workplace when it comes to deadlines- but it’s a new concept for me in the gym. Needless to say, with no ‘other-imposed’ due date on those goals, they weren’t pushing me very hard.

Late last year I completed The Stampede, a 10 km obstacle event. It’s not a race- it’s supposed to be fun, supportive and non-competitive. My partner couldn’t do that event, so we’ve been keeping tabs on the obstacle race calender for a similar event to do together ever since. There’s been plenty happening across the first half of the year, but none of them at a convenient time. Anyway, Spartan Race recently announced their next Melbourne dates and races – on September 12 their running a 7 km, 21 km, and completely insane 42 km. So we signed up for the 7 km.

It’s crazy, but the day after I paid my cash and signed up, my motivation in the gym shot through the roof. Suddenly I had a six month time frame in which to achieve some fresh goals, and my mind was really really happy with that. Spartan seems to have a lot of monkey-bar style challenges (although it’s hard to tell, because they don’t release a map of the course), so my first goal is to improve my grip and upper body strength enough to be able to complete at least one of those obstacles. And if I can do one, hopefully I can do more.

We’ve signed up for the 7 km, because let’s face it, 21 km is just a bit nuts. The furthest I’ve ever run non-stop is about 3.5 km, and I’m definitely not up to running that right now, so my second goal is to get my running back up to a fairly decent standard. I’d like to be able to run 5 km of the 7- which should be doable, seeing as there’ll be obstacles breaking up the running. So it’s back to the Couch to 5km running app for me- and with six months, I know that’s realistic. I think the time-frame is the best bit about all of this. Not only do I have my motivation back, but I also have goals that I can actually achieve in the time frame. Run 5 km, do one monkey bar obstacle, and of course generally kick the rest of the course’s bum.

I know Spartan is a tougher, more competitive course and environment than the very family-friendly Stampede, but I’m really looking forward to giving it a go- and giving my body a go at pushing hard.

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12 week Challenge- results and goals

Well, the official results are in: since I started the 12 week challenge on 28th June, I’ve lost 6 kg. I’m super happy with that result- I set out to start a journey of weight loss and changing habits, and that’s what I’ve done. I never said it out loud or wrote it down, but it was an assumed for me that I wanted to do this in a healthy, sustainable way. I’ve lost an average of half a kilo a week, and I feel like that’s a healthy rate of weight loss. There were weeks when I lost a lot more than that, and there were a couple of weeks were I definitely didn’t lose 500 g at all. In fact, if you take into account the week I was sick and maintained the weight I was at, and the week that I put on 2 kg, I reckon I’ve done pretty well.

That 2 kg week is a giant bugger, really. Imagine what I might have done without it?! Then again, without that I probably wouldn’t have learned some lessons that I really needed to learn. My ‘2kg week’ as I’ll call it provided me with a huge lesson in triggers. It showed me that unless I’ve really mentally prepared myself, if I got into a situation that holds one of my triggers then I’m likely to fold and eat the food I shouldn’t. It also showed me that one bad week does not a Challenge make. It was 2 kg, it’s taken me nearly a month to shake it again, but it’s not the end of the world. My 2 kg week also reminded me of exactly why I’m choosing not to eat certain foods. It proved to me what happens to my body when I eat processed carbs and sugar, and it was an amazing reminder of how far I’ve come in terms of how I feel, not just how I look or weigh.

So the 12 weeks is over, and it’s my intent to continue on this path. Over the last few weeks I’ve had ‘slips’ with my food- a sneaky few chips here, a piece of cake there. Nothing earth shattering, and nothing of huge impact, but enough to prove what a slippery slope it could be if I don’t stay focused. To keep myself of track I’ve set some new goals- I think timelines and finish lines are what keep me going.

  • I want to deadlift my own body weight. That means I’ve got to increase my deadlifting weight by about 10 kg, and decrease my body weight by about 7 kg, both of which are perfectly doable. I’ve played with the idea of aiming for doing it before the end of the year- I suspect that mightn’t be entirely achievable, but maybe I’ll be close
  • The Stampede. I’ve signed up to do the 10km Stampede in Melbourne on the 29th of November, and you’ll notice that that’s my new countdown on the side bar of my blog. I want to have a go at all obstacles, and I do not want to reflect on that event thinking that I didn’t give it my all. You can walk around any obstacle you want at Stampede- I don’t want to do that.
  • Eureka Climb. I only heard about this event today- it’s like a fun run, but instead of running for a distance you run/walk up the entire Eureka Tower. All 88 floors. I reckon I could do that- but the catch is, it’s in 3 and a half weeks time on the 16th of November. Can I train hard enough to do that? I think I could get some decent stair climbs in at work on my lunch breaks- my building is 16 stories tall, so building up to doing that building 5.5 times would be the goal. I won’t register yet, but I’ll start training and see how it goes.

Meanwhile, 12 months ago there’s no way I would have even considered tackling the Eureka Climb, let along The Stampede. That’s pretty exciting progress, I reckon!!

The Challenge is over… and a new countdown!!

Well, my 12 weeks challenge is officially over, as of today. I’ll be weighing myself tonight to find out how I’ve done, although I suspect my final number may not reflect the true amount of change that’s taken place. I know I’ve lost more fat than the scales will indicate, because I know I’ve gained a whole heap of muscle and strength over the past few weeks. Despite that, I think my total weightloss for the 12 weeks will be somewhere around the 6 kg mark which I’m really happy with. I had great weeks and I had weeks where I didn’t do so well, but overall I feel like I’ve lost weight at a safe and sustainable pace, in a safe and sustainable way.

My real challenge now is keeping focused when it comes to eating. I’ve been slipping a bit recently, and letting any old excuse do. That can’t keep happening- I know I’ve changed some habits, but I’ve got some more to go, and I don’t want to let the hard work be undone. This is permanent.

I’ll update with the final numbers in a couple of days but in the mean time I’m about to remove the Challenge countdown and put up a new one, counting down the days until The Stampede. I’m 6 weeks out, and I’ve signed up to do the 10km event (eep!!). I think the thing I need to work on the most right now is my running (blegh), but 6 weeks is enough time to get that up a bit. I’ve found the Stampede’s recommended pre-training, so I’ll start doing that once a week when I can. There’s a few things I’ll need to alter in there, but I always knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it all. The great thing is that I feel like I have that capability and know-how (and confidence!) to alter a training program myself now, so I can get out there and just do it.

A slightly delayed update

There’s a distinct possibility that I wrote this post on Friday and forgot to hit publish. Oops.

 

I’m 6 kg down. Booyah!! That means I lost 450 grams between Monday night and Thursday night- and I’m really really happy with that. If I can keep that up, I’m going to keep kicking goals in a major way! I think the major factor this week has been an extra high-intensity workout on top of what I normally do. Sure, I ate an icecream sandwich on Tuesday night, but besides that my eating’s been great. Add onto that an extra workout and it seems my body is very very happy.

It really confirms what I’ve known all along, but haven’t been actioning- that changing my diet is a huge contributor to weightloss IF (and only if) I do the right exercise along side it. Every time I add an extra day of exercise my weight drops at a greater rate, so the lesson here is that I really need to keep that up. These new exercise sessions with colleagues at work are going to make it a lot more simple to get my extra high-intensity workout in each week- I don’t go as hard as I might with my PT, but by the same token I also work a lot harder than if I go to the gym by myself.

So, 6 kg down, and another 7 kg (ish) to go 🙂

In other news, today I registered for The Stampede, which is an obstacle course/mud run similar to Tough Mudder. I’m registered for the 10 km event, which is a bit scary- I can’t even run an entire 5 km fun run, after all!! But I’m assured by those who have done it before that you don’t run for long patches at all, and you then spend time standing around waiting to have your turn on the challenges/obstacles. Besides which, it’s the obstacles I’m doing it for, not the running! Being able to do those obstacles (or most of them, at least) is really going to be a measure of how far I’ve come since I started with my PT, especially in terms of my dodgy shoulders.

It’s also proof of how far I’ve come mentally in the last 12 months or so. I’ve gone from having very little confidence in my body (for good reason!) to feeling capable and ready to give stuff a shot. I also know where and when to push myself, and how far is too far when it comes to preventing injury in my shoulders.