Week 13, Month 3, Quarter 1

Well this all seems to be working out nicely. I’ve managed to stay on schedule, avoid injury and remain motivated. My body shape feels like it’s moving in the right direction even if there is minimal noticeable weight loss.

There have been a few bumps in the road. I had some serious doubts early on, especially when I needed to break the 400 swings into 16 sets of 25 as my grip wasn’t strong enough. I’ve travelled more than usual at the start of the year and the disruption put me a couple of days back each time. I had the flu (possibly the near fatal “man” strain). I also had a relationship come to an end. While I thought that I’d cope with that one easily enough it actually turned out to be the hardest one of all. I found myself being directionless without someone, without someone special, giving me praise and encouragement everyday. I dealt with the loneliness by eating badly and drinking excessively. I couldn’t sleep and then found dragging myself out of bed a monumental effort.

The challenge itself became the anchor which allowed me to rebuild my day. Knowing that I had very publicly committed to this. Being aware that my social media posts have a consistent, cheerful, middle aged man feel to them. Having people ask me about the challenge in work forced me to keep plugging on even on the days I didn’t want to look at the stupid yellow ball of pain.

Slowly to start with, but then more rapidly, the challenge became my self identity. Something that I do has become something that I am. I am the 100,000 kettlebell swing guy. That stupid yellow cannonball greets me like the sun in the morning and says “Come on buddy. If you get this done you can do anything today.” The routine and the repetition provided, still provides, a semi-meditative state that has allowed me to reflect and reassess my mind and my mental state, and like the bell I’m managing to swing my mood i the right direction too.

I know there is no shame in feeling or expressing vulnerability these days but my stoic shell still finds this hard to express. Lucky no one reads this .

Week 12

The tyranny of travel wasn’t so bad this week. I managed to organise a free 3 day pass for a gym chain near my hotel. I do feel sorry for the guys that make the follow up calls. I remember doing outbound sales calls and it is an unforgiving job. You can tell early on whether the person doesn’t want to buy but you have to go through the motions and hope, just hope that you can overcome some of the objections and wear them down enough to sign up so you hit target.

It was the other side of travel that beat me this week. I was already behind due to the previous illness bout. This week was filled with breakfast and dinner catch ups. All very welcome and very enjoyable but not conducive to crowbarring 45 minutes of gym time plus getting there changing showering etc into the day. First world problems!

Show me a man’s calender and I’ll show you his priorities said someone wiser than me. So yes I sacrificed a gym session or two to catch up with friends and relax a little. Some warm social contact was definitely what my spirit needed.

When I designed my challenge I knew there wouldn’t be too much slack in the system. That was deliberate. Too much leeway and I’d take it. Too many optional days and I’d take them and the momentum would falter. So cornered by my own plan I pulled a double shift on the Friday and added in a Saturday so I was only one day behind. Plan the work, and work the plan. So far, so good.

Week 11

Getting back on track was not as bad as I’d feared. I genuinely seem to developed a streak of discipline and determination. I’ve no idea where that came from to be honest. Throughout most of my life I’ve been about as committed to one task as your average Golden Retriever puppy. Easily distracted. You know those youtube videos of cute little balls of fluff and they just want to run from one side of the room to the other because it just looks like fun on whatever side of the room they aren’t on. And you just want to bury your face into their bellies and tickle them. And you get dragged into the fun of it and really want a puppy…..

Where was I? Focus. Yes, that. I managed to pull on hitherto unfound reserves of discipline and recoup some of my lost days so I finished the week only one day behind. I’m quite proud of that.

I wanna puppy….

Week 10

Sickness, misery and self pity. It’s not  pretty sight in a grown man. This week was interrupted by a dose of the flu. It’s not fun having a fever in a city that basks in 30 degree heat and high humidity. So I’ll keep this one short. I’m glad I built in some contingency to my plan as I lost 3 days this week. I’ll make them up quickly enough. Just watch me!

Week 9 & Month 2

The struggles I’ve had this month have been mostly mental. My body seems to have adapted to the routine and the regularity of my goals. Travel intervened again this week but this time with a little forward thinking it only required a small change in schedule to see me right. Starting a week on the Sunday with a four day week and three days off and then starting a 6 day week, week 10, on the Sunday again

One of the side goals I had for the challenge was some real noticeable weight loss and unfortunately February failed to deliver. Many kind souls have reminded me that the lard is probably moving to muscle and that not everything can be measured on the scales. However I know what I can feel and I feel like a bit of a failure on the fat burning front.

Feb was a funny month, but no one was laughing. Through some key personal decisions I found myself feeling lonely, self pitying and full of self doubt. And unfortunately my reaction to those emotions usually involves cheese and alcohol. So while I know that muscle is denser than fat tissue, that there will be plateaus along the way I also know that February was a month of self sabotage on the tubby front.

So March starts with a few sober weeks and a conscious effort to be mindful about eating. Preparing meals in advance. Managing what is in the fridge and on the shelf closely. Basically trying to exert the same discipline to that aspect of my health as I am with the challenge.

Wish me luck, I’m already starving.