Mark's 30 Day Challenge
I haven’t raced since Ironman Cairns in 2017 nor trained with any structure or intent. Whilst I have continued to train (more exercise) via some running and gym with the occasional bike session, my weight has steadily increased.
To the point where I am over 10kg heavier than I was when I raced Cairns at 73kg. I’m now 84.7kg which is heaviest I have ever been. I was mistaken for thinking that even though I was still doing some training I could be ‘less’ disciplined when it came to my diet.
I was still eating heathy foods but eating too many treats such as chocolate and sweets almost on a daily basis. I had begun to make excuses because I was struggling mentally at times. As a result, I had formed a bad habit and started to make excuses in other areas of my life.
Little things like personal grooming and engaging with loved ones. It wasn’t until I saw a picture of myself with my shirt off recently and a tough conversation with my wife that I realised what was going on.
My wife Suz said I needed to be more engaging with her and she was 100% right. Tough to hear but it was the truth. Looking at the photo of myself and talking to Suz I realised that these excuses were not helping me.
Good habits and routines for me are the cornerstone of a successful and content life. My bad habit of making excuses needed to stop. The solution, set myself a 30 Day Challenge in September to reverse the habit of making excuses.
How I am doing this? By doing a couple of things I will find very challenging to do every day for 30 days.
Firstly, to eat nothing pre -packaged, cut out all the ‘crap’, reduce my dairy & gluten intake and reduce sugars. I also need to cut down on my portion size in meals and be more self sufficient with making healthy snacks and not buying them in a packet.
The second challenge is to do 100 chin ups, 200 push ups, 5 minutes of abdominal exercises and a leg strengthening exercise every day.
Both of these challenges I will find very difficult because they are the areas, I have been making excuses in. Not doing consistent gym work to keep little injuries at bay and not eating well enough. The result is a sore knee that won’t go away and being too heavy.
If I want to race again next year, then I need to reverse this bad habit. I’ve identified the cause of why I have put on weight. While it’s easy to think it’s the food and not enough proper training are why, it is actually the excuses.
Until I stop making excuses then it won’t change. By reversing the habit of making excuses it is the first step to getting back into decent race shape.
Therefore, I need to adopt a strategy that will force me into a daily habit of not making excuses. That is setting myself goals to do something every day with diet and training.
One of those goals is seeing a cross on the wall calendar to signify I have done my strength session for the day. When I see the cross, it gives me a dopamine hit and makes me want to get another cross and keep the habit going.
It’s the same with not eating ‘crap’ and counting the days since I last had a chocolate or sweet. The more days you do it, the more you want to keep doing it. But it all starts with the right habits and making the right daily choices. After a while it is not a choice anymore but a way of life.
It has certainly made me realise how easy it is for people to ‘let’ themselves go. Especially as we get older and we all start to make excuses. One excuse one day and before you know it, you’re getting too heavy, aches and pains start and you’ve past the point of no return. It becomes too big a challenge.