Every fit person has a fitness journey. Some are drawn out and dramatic while others are simple. We briefly shared our fitness journeys a few times through newsletters and blogs, but we want to revisit this topic again for people newer to the blog.
My Fitness Journey
This is Nathan I’m writing this newsletter solo today. I could start this blog off with how I can from a single parent, low-income home or cover how I was in and out for trouble with the law in my younger years. I could even talk about substance use issues I had in my teens and 20s. But who really wants to hear that. Sure, maybe it would be more inspiring, but to me, it would seem like an attempt at a sob story and to make this dramatic. Just know, like anyone else, I had my share of barriers and those obstacles go beyond simply being unfit.
When I began the fitness process I now love and look forward to, I was 21, 135 pounds, and had no idea what to do. I was not unhealthy, per se, but I was no athlete either. My goal was not to lose weight, but rather to get fit.
I made a lot of mistakes along the way, mistakes I hope I can help you avoid. I randomly worked out, didn’t focus on nutrition, and basically just winged it. While I had some progress, the first few years saw less than stellar forward movement. It wasn’t until I started to follow a solid program that I began to see real results.
In 2004 at the age of 24—yes, I winged it for that long and it is no surprise I did not have the level of success I wanted—I created my first “real” program for exercise and nutrition. From 2004-2006 I followed this program, adjusted for changing abilities, needs, etc. During that time, I gained 20 pounds of muscle, dropped my body fat percentage to single digits, decreased my one-mile run to six minutes, established a five-mile run time of 33 minutes, and added hundreds of pounds to my lifts, while also improving my mobility.
Much like I do now, I followed a set workout plan and had a set weekly schedule to complete these workouts. This schedule provided structure and helped me stay focused. I treated it much like I would work or any other responsibility—it was something I had to get done. Of course, at times I had to make adjustments, since I had two kids in tow half the time, work, and other responsibilities, but I only adjusted to stay successful, not due to laziness or some other excuse.
I could go on about my journey, but that is a longer topic. Know that I face issues, such as a serious knee injury, a serious hamstring injury, and minor injuries as well, and I faced scheduling problems, such as fitting workouts in when I worked 60 hours week, took five college classes, and had a family to support
On March 7, I turned 39. Due to my efforts, I am the fittest I’ve ever been.
From Hating Her Body to Loving Her Body
In 2009, Grace hated the way she looked in the mirror. We are notorious rough housers, and if she sat on me while we play fought and I made a joke about her being heavy on top of me, the crying and anger might ensue. Today, that is not the case and it comes down to her loving versus hating her body. During that time period, at 5’6″ Grace was about 170 pounds. From the time we got together in 2006 until that point, she gained 35 pounds.
With my help and encouragement, Grace started on her fitness journey. It was not always easy, for either of us honestly, because she was emotionally tied to her weight, as I’m sure many of you are. However, through her efforts and my skills, she dropped to a low point of 137 pounds and did so within one year, reaching this point in 2010. At the same time, she learned to run; built a lean, muscular and sexy frame; added strength; and improved her fitness.
At the beginning of 2018 at the age of 32, Grace achieved the leanest and fittest version of herself. She then gave birth to our youngest child, Amelia, and had to rebuild from there. Some of you know the details while others do not, but we covered that subject in detail in another writing, though we will likely do so again at another time. That said, even with the loss of fitness due to pregnancy, the complications with the pregnancy, the c-section, and not being able to work out after the pregnancy, Grace returned to her pre-pregnancy fitness.
Today, she works hard to make sure she stays in that place.
The Journey Takes Time
The journey takes time and indeed is an ongoing process. Depending on how robust your goals are, the length of the initial journey, that is, the time it takes you to reach your initial goal, may vary. If you want to lose or gain 20 pounds the process should be shorter than if you need to lose 100.
Be prepared to put time into the process both to reach your initial goal and then to either maintain your success or move toward another goal. We encourage everyone to initially dedicate 6-12 months to reaching any goal. This timeline applies whether you work with us, another professional, or go the process alone. This has nothing to do with paying for a trainer, but rather with knowing what it takes to reach goals.
Your Goals Require Effort
Nothing worth doing is easy and your health and fitness goals are no exceptions. Whether gaining or losing 20 pounds or 100, or seeking improvements in fitness, effort will be required on the path to success.
Remember that you get out what you put in. This might seem cliched or commonsensical, but people often don’t put in the necessary effort. In the context of this writing, I use effort as a way to talk about the amount of energy you put into working out and nutrition. The body is an adaptive machine, but in order for to elicit change, you must give the body proper stimuli.
For example, if you can run but always walk during cardio, the time it takes you to reach your cardio goal will be longer than if you had put in more effort. Conversely, if you want to lose weight, but are not willing to watch what you eat, then you will likely never reach your weight loss goals.
Success Demands Commitment
Time and effort, or perhaps I should say effort over time, take commitment. You must be dedicated to the process over time, putting in the required effort. If you show effort for only a short time, then your commitment wanes or you give up, you will either have a hard time reaching your goals or never reach your goals.
Your commitment, that is, your motivation and dedication to doing the things you need to do to progress, will make or break your success. If you want to reach your goals, you will be dedicated. If you do not, you will not.
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science. Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.