By Steve Dinn
Before 2009, I had never really wanted to go to the gym. I was overweight, and I knew it, but I didn’t have the motivation to do anything about it. Still, I had managed to get myself a girlfriend, and when she decided it was time for her to hit the gym, she invited me along. I reluctantly joined her.
It was 12 Jan 09 when I met with Craig Guthrie (Twitter & Facebook) at Nubody’s in Scotia Square. At the time, he had just started there, and he gave me a simple test to see how flexible I was and with what sizes of weights I would start training. I remember what he said after finishing my evaluation: “Oh, we’re going to have fun with you.” At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what he meant.
Four days later, my girlfriend, Julie, and I had our first private couples’ session with Craig. It was one of the most brutal things I have ever had to endure. Even 12 months later, I can still remember thinking, “25?! He wants us to do 25 lunges on each leg?” Not only were they lunges, but lunges while pressing overhead a weight held in each hand. The next day, I was virtually unable to descend stairs without leaning on the railing. Everyone says that it only hurts the first time. They’re lying; it hurts a few more times after that, but it does get better. Now, it’s rare that I get sore, even after really giving it all I’ve got in the early-morning kettlebell classes that I take.
Kettlebells! Yes. That is definitely something that I should mention. The primary training tool that Craig got Julie and I to use was the kettlebell. Basically a cannonball with a handle, kettlebells range in size from the uselessly-small (5 lbs.) to much, much heavier than you need (> 100 lbs.), so there is certainly one size that is right for you. As Craig loves to remind me, working out with kettlebells is “cardio with resistance”; to me, it feels like getting my ass kicked, but it’s brought results with it that no other diet or exercise plan has matched.
From that first personal training session in January to 1 year later, I’ve lost a total of 110 lbs. I can’t give all the credit to Craig’s training, because I also made a significant change in my diet as well — I got into the Zone. I didn’t find the Zone a difficult diet plan to follow because I found I didn’t end up eating less. I instead changed what I ate to some of the Zone-recommended foods, and I found I ended up eating more to meet my newly-discovered protein requirements. There were a few periods where my weight plateaued, but overall it was a steady slope downwards, slightly less than 4 lbs. per week on average.
If you’re interested in losing weight, I can’t recommend enough that you should get yourself a coach/personal trainer, and if you can somebody to do it with. Having Julie by my side through the whole thing made it much easier to wake up at 5:30 am and get to those early-morning workouts. I’m sure she feels the same way, it takes a hell of a lot of determination and willpower to do it every day without somebody to be accountable to and to push you when you just don’t want to do it. Believe me, there will be days when you just want to say, “Screw it”. Having both another person who has the motivation when you don’t, and a coach (whom you’re probably paying!) for accountability is incredibly huge.
Now, you may be thinking, “He’s lost the weight and looking healthy. He’s done.” That may be true as far as the weight loss is concerned, but now it becomes all about maintaining this weight loss, and that is where many people ultimately fail. Trust me when I say the last thing I want to do is end up putting some or all of that 110 lbs. back on. There is no doubt that I feel many times better having rid myself of it I’m still venturing into this strange “maintenance” phase, and I don’t yet know what to make of it. I’m sure I’ll keep up my kettlebell training, but my focus will change from losing weight to building muscle. I’ll be sure to check in with YourInnerSkinny.ca and let you know how it goes.