Why I Got Started
I was heavy all through my teenage years. People teased me and called me names; it hurt a lot. I was tired of always being the fat kid and being picked last in all the sports I played because I wasn't fit enough. College didn't help any. I gained three stone (42 pounds) in the first year. Something had to change.
I noticed that my cousin Shane was training hard and had lost a lot of weight. I was jealous. At the beginning of my transformation, I used him as my inspiration and asked him loads of questions. We still talk about weight loss every week, and now we even chat about the prospect of bodybuilding, which is my next goal.
I was studying adventure tourism management in college, so I was doing a lot of outdoor sports like rock climbing, kayaking, hill walking, and mountain biking. I could do those things with all of that extra weight, but I wasn't able to excel at them like I wanted to. So with the help of my cousin and my drive to change, I began to transform.
How I Did It
I decided to join Weight Watchers in my hometown of Killarney with the support of my sisters and family. I followed the Weight Watchers program, which gave me great discipline and opened my eyes to how simple it is to implement a healthy lifestyle into a busy college life. Even though I was juggling a part-time job, studies, and a healthy lifestyle, I still managed to get back into the sports I loved.
I cut out all the junk food. Before my decision to change, I ate takeaways, pizzas, chocolate, fizzy drinks, and crisps. You name it, I probably ate it. I started to prepare my own meals from scratch and introduced more fresh fruit and vegetables to my daily intake. Preparing my own meals gave me great control and insight into what I was fueling myself. It led me to discover that I love cooking. I have begun baking healthy muffins and bread from the recipes on Bodybuilding.com.
I was always active in sports, but because of my poor diet and lack of real effort, I could never be my absolute best. So, I started really simply and worked my way up. I started walking with my dad, sister, and our dogs Sam and Odie. Every week, we went a little longer and a little faster. After I built that base, I got out on my mountain bike or road bike for various spins. I always set a target of how long I would cycle and how far. The next time I rode, I would try to better the time and distance.
Once I had lost about 30 pounds, I got a gym membership and started swimming. Every week, I did more lengths. I did a lot of interval cardio on the treadmill and I completed spinning classes to get me in shape.
After that, the weight started flying off. In a short 8 months, I had lost more than 100 pounds. I haven't looked back since.
The only things I regret through this journey were that I never kept a photo journal. I wish I did because I could have looked back for changes in my body. I also regret not finding weights from the beginning. I'm going through Steve Cook's Big Man on Campus trainer and I absolutely love the feeling weightlifting gives me. I have set new goals to transform my body and be more muscular. So keep watching!
During the initial weight-loss period, I didn't take supplements. But, now with the Big Man on Campus, I use the following products:
- Optimum Serious Mass
- Optimum Serious Mass
- Optimum Casein
I try to drink three liters of water per day.
- Fresh Fruit Smoothie
During my 8-month transformation, I did mostly cardio. I'm now following the lifting routine of Big Man on Campus and absolutely love it. Look there for my training details. Here's the training that I did for my initial weight loss.
- Trail Running/Walking
10 km speed walk
- Bicycling (Mountain Bike)
- Trail Running/Walking
Suggestions for Others
For anyone with a goal, it starts with you and your conviction to that goal. You have to believe in what you want and reinforce it every day, no matter if it's weight loss or bodybuilding. I always reward myself before I start my next journey. I buy a new shirt that is too small and I use it as my focus point. I spend good money on it and I want to wear it, so I hang it where I will see it every day. Now I have a new top for my next goal to build a bigger, stronger body. I see that every day and I find motivation from it.
Knowledge is the key! Learn as much as you can about your body and what it takes to fuel it. I learned how my body operates on a calorie deficit and how I could still feel satisfied and operate my daily tasks. I now am learning what it takes to fuel and produce a bigger body. Now that I know how to train and eat, if I ever have an issue with weight again, I have the tools to get right back in shape.
Find a role model and gain inspiration from their achievements. I read many sports biographies from various athletes and it helped me focus when I felt low.
You have to build up your self-discipline to succeed. When hunger strikes and unhealthy options are readily available, you have to have the strength to make a good choice.
I was always told that I wasn't fast enough, that I couldn't jump high enough, or that I was too heavy to be good at sports. When I was on training spins, I let these taunts play in my mind and used them to rev me up so I could push harder. Use negativity to drive your training—don't let it bring you down.
I am from Ireland and the weather is usually pretty rainy. Don't let weather influence your training schedule; focus on your end goal. Your equipment and motivation should prepare you to deal with any weather conditions. Through my walks, runs, and spins, I've rediscovered just how beautiful my town (Killarney, Co. Kerry) actually is.
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