THE most common question during my Men’s Health Week 12-week Challenge was ‘do you feel better?’.
Honestly, I never went into the challenge thinking too much about myself but more the opportunity to help raise awareness of Men’s Health Week in support of the passionate people working tirelessly to lift the event’s profile.
Confession... when the results were so instant and life-changing, it did become all about me.
It still shocks me how quickly this challenge altered my life – physically and emotionally.
This was put into perspective the other night when I had to walk around a bag of chook pellets while feeding the pets in the shed.
As I paused and looked at that 20-kilogram bag, it dawned on me that 12 weeks ago I was living a life of actually carrying that around every single day.
I’ve shed 20 kilograms in 12 weeks and 20 centimetres from my oversized circumference.
I’ve learned that things I thought were actually good for me were actually harming me.
The biggest lessons were the importance of meal portion size and the danger of sugar.
To all my old friends… Coke, dim sims, chocolate, Kit Kat chunky bars, pasties, potato chips (hot and cold), potato cakes, lollies, sugar and sugar-laden breakfast cereals to name but a few… you so led me astray all those years!
To all my new friends… boxing gloves, punching bag, wooden box, metal pull up stand, heavy ropes, lungy thingy hanging from fitness studio roof, dumbbells, hand weights big and small, heavy ball, foam stretch roll, those very flashy new New Balance runners and the famous Lake Weerona running track... thank you for showing me the way.
Thanks to Peter Strange and Bendigo Community Health Services for offering me such an incredible opportunity and the sisters of ‘torture’, ah, sorry ‘support’ from Shape Health and Fitness in Amy, Lori and Tamara for showing us week in, week out how fitness changes your life.
My wife who has shopped, cooked, enforced and enforced some more all the rules of the challenge every step of the 12 weeks – truly inspiring.
Thank you to everyone who offered a kind word of support along the way.
Every one of those encouraging moments made this challenge so worthwhile, helped my discipline and gave me such a kick.
Take the day I was labelled ‘sexy’ - yeah right - but, oh, keep that stuff coming.
The night I was huffing and puffing around Lake Weeroona on dusk and a nice lady yelled out 'aw, good on you Rod'. Sorry I was worrying too much about getting to the finish and keeping my pants up to notice who you were but loved the encouragement all the same.
Or the day another lovely lady wrote telling me how good I looked and that she had never seen me so happy.
Such 'head up, shoulders back, chest out' moments are so welcome because, let's be honest, vanity is rocket fuel when it comes to motivation.
The second most frequent question asked was 'will you keep it up'?
I guess that's the million dollar question.
Let’s hope this is not the end but the start of a journey that will continue to transform my life for the better into the future.
Finally, it's not my place to tell you to get off that couch and follow my lead but I can assure you such a move will pay handsome dividends.
Life will just be so much better.
C'mon - up and at 'em!