Why are we motivated to get ourselves in the gym and train?
Why are we motivated to make the food choices that we do?
FIRST A LITTLE STORY
Mr Fox was always sporty, you could say he was born with an ‘athlete mentality’. From a young age he competed in tennis tournaments, inline skating contests and studied sports education. He was focussed on pulling crazy inline skating tricks, even though the sport cost him a severe knee injury, a broken elbow and fingers. But that didn’t stop him as he continued mountain biking and staying fit…. until he met me. He moved from a rural area to the inner city and together we had a thriving DJ career together where we played in Europe and the USA. After many years of hitting the club scene it was time to ‘settle down’ and then came Baby Fox. This ignited a fire and passion in him again; he wanted to be as fit a father as possible so he entered the gym and started a relationship with the weights, which then grew into a dedication for bodybuilding and weight training. He delved deeply into it, reading blogs, joining forums and watching videos. He is passionate about bodybuilding and after seeing a drastic change to his body has the motivation to go further.
Me, on the other hand, was born without the ‘sporty’ gene. Through the years I tried aerobic classes and strength training at the gym but never really had the motivation for doing either on a regular basis – I just didn’t enjoy or like it at all. One sport I do absolutely love is snowboarding but, unless you live beside a mountain, that’s not something you can do regularly. The ‘athlete’ mentality was born through illness – initially through the worst migraine attack/flu/sinusitis infection of my life and then through kidney cancer. After the birth of our son I developed hypothyroidism (an under active thyroid where you tend to be tired and find it hard to shift weight) so I tried to get back in shape and went to the gym, but that’s about all I did – I ‘went’. I pulled and pushed weights around but my heart wasn’t in it. I went through the motions but of course saw zero results from the zero effort I put in. After the migraine/flu/sinusitis fun filled weekend I vowed to get healthy at all costs, which meant changing my diet to eat clean (no processed food) and hit the gym – HARD!
Earlier this year we had a great few months in terms of weight training but then came kidney cancer – out of the blue, a shock to us all, especially since I felt the fittest I had ever felt. For those interested I blogged about the whole experience on R U Kidneying Me (including photos of my kidney and tumor, scars, the robot and more). I was gutted when the Dr said ‘no gym until after recovery’, this reaction surprised me going from a person who had no love for fitness and sports to one who longed to be in there lifting heavy weights and doing cardio. So the least I could do was undertake the diagnosis, surgery and recovery with an ‘athlete’ mentality. I longed to get myself back to 100% health and strength.
Ecstatic to say the radical right nephrectomy surgery went well – I lost a kidney but I also lost the cancer.
6.5 weeks after surgery it was time… “Let’s go and see what my body can manage”. So we entered the gym to a mass of encouragement and support from all our gym buddies, which truly added an extra ‘oomph’ of motivation. It went well, much better than expected and I was so happy to see that the muscle I had built pre-surgery was still there. The lines, definition and tone had even improved and we put this down to my new diet (as I have chosen to follow a part vegan / part macrobiotic diet – no meat, no eggs, no dairy, no sugar and of course no processed anything) since the kidney cancer diagnosis.
Earlier this year (pre cancer) we decided the next step in our fitness journey together would be a contest. He – a bodybuilding contest and myself a bikini fitness contest. I have had many people worry that I will be pumped up to look like a dude, but no – I am talking about toned and lean (not huge and dude like). It will be a new experience for both of us, especially to stand on a stage but I am determined to reach this goal and prove that if you set your mind to something you can do it. In my case, stand on stage after you have had cancer, with one kidney and hypothyroidism.
We also wanted to undertake an activity and challenge that we could do together as a couple. What better way to enjoy each other’s company and get fit at the same time and above all, create a healthier and happier future for our family. We want to be around for many many years together with our son who, by the way, has the sporty gene from his father.
So competing in a bodybuilding / bikini fitness contest – it’s not an easy sport, but where is the fun and challenge in something that is too easy?
A year ago I may have been quick to judge the sport, even wondering why bodybuilders were called athletes, but let me tell you it is a 24/7 sport, where every decision counts. Food counts, working out counts, sleep counts. It takes dedication, tough (but the right) decisions: focus, motivation and hard work. Everything from making the choice of having a salad over a baguette sandwich to hitting the gym at 8pm instead of staying curled up on the couch under a very cosy blanket. Yes, it can be tricky to manage when you have kids and especially if you have no babysitter on hand – but you can make it work. There are many sporting activities that you can do as a family – cardio anyone? Whether it is biking, walking, jogging, climbing, skating… anything that involves moving! If you are wondering how we manage getting to the gym so often, we switch with each other – one of us goes first and then the other. Our son still sees mom and dad and even benefits from one-on-one parent time when the other is not there. An added benefit is that he sees how focussed, driven and motivated we are (in sporting and the healthy food we all eat as a family) and we hope he can learn from these characteristics and implement them in different areas of his life – be it in school, following his passion, making healthy decisions or continuing his activeness.
So after going through the year we have had, life changing to say the least, one thing that remains constant and provides therapy to us both are those pieces of metal waiting for us in the weights room. There is a HUGE sense of control and confidence over what you put in your body (diet and nutrition) and what you make your body do (weight training, cardio, sports etc.) in a life where unexpected things can be thrown at you without any warning.
So onto motivation. I have learnt that it takes one person to truly drive yourself to get proactive and change your food habits and working out/sportiness… and that is YOU. You can have others that encourage and inspire you, but until YOU make the decision for yourself then you will not give it 100%.
We all have different reasons to get healthier, or more lean, toned or shredded – be it losing a few pounds, shedding baby weight, building general stamina and endurance or just wanting to be as healthy as you possibly can.
Now, let me also tell you something that really drove me to make a change, get focussed, hit the gym and make dietary changes:
“It is never too late to get the body you have always wanted”
This litte, but oh so huge sentence ignited a flame in me. At 34 I thought, well after pregnancy and your 20’s your body takes a new shape… well I was determined to make this the best shape of it’s life, especially after freaking cancer. I can honestly say my body looks and feels a lot more toned and healthier than it did when I was a teenager or in my 20’s (I made very questionable nutritional decisions back then). Not only that but I am 100% dedicated to remain cancer free for the rest of my life and I firmly believe my ‘health’ choices will play a huge part in that.
People, it is NEVER too late.
You can have the body and health you want starting today, all it takes is for YOU to decide on that.
As a very good friend told me – ‘Make Good Choices’ and that’s what it comes down to ;)