As 2018 comes to end, I look back to the 15 page Goals document I made for myself last year. Did I fail or accomplish anything? I claimed that 2017 was the best year of my life when I dropped from 185lbs to 130lbs and took up running. I promised myself that 2018 would be even better. Here’s some of the best things that happened for me:
Ever since I was a kid, my vision has always been terrible. I had a -8.5 prescription. But thanks to Dr. Raymond Stein at the Bochner Eye Institute. This allowed me to do physical activities that I was uncomfortable doing with eyeglasses before. I now have 20/20 vision after PRK. This has been absolutely life changing to unimaginable levels.
When I talk with people today, they think I’ve been running all my life. That is far from the truth. My journey into running only began in July 2017. I vividly remember not being able to run 500m without losing breath. But I dug deep and gradually moved my way up to 5K, 10Km, and Half-Marathon 21.1km distances. My goal was always to run a full 42.2km. And on Oct 23, 2018, I did just that at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. While I did not hit my sub-4-hour time goal, I pushed through and did not quit with ankle tendonitis plaguing me the previous month leading up to the race. I’ll deftinely return for the rematch, But at the end of the day, I am proudly and officially a Marathoner.
FORGING ELITE FITNESS
Some say that one cannot training for endurance sports and make gains at the same time. I was okay taking up this challenge. So while doing my long distance running, I took up strength training via CrossFit. After a year of doing heavy lifting, and movements I never thought I was capable of, I managed to gain 10lbs of lean muscle. I now am at a sustainable 140lb. When I first started CrossFit, I couldn’t even do one pull-up. I made it my goal to be able to do 10 strict pull-ups, And I can totally do that and then some now.
If you know me well, then you know I can be a big germaphobe. So going to a CrossFit gym and using community equipment was already something I had to overcome. But diving into mud, running up ski slopes, scraping legs on bushes, climbing up walls, carrying cement buckets, crawling under barbed wires, and jumping through fire really pushed my limits. To my surprise ,with the encouragement of my fitness friends, I registered for the Spartan Sprint, Super, and Beast races randomly out of the blue. And you know what? I crushed them all and loved it. Yes, there was some very risky moments, got a crap load of bruises and scratches, but I can now hold the Spartan Trifecta. AROO!
High quality whole foods is how I lost the majority of my excess fat. And it continues to be the foundation of my health. I am now actually eating twice as much as I did previously, but struggle to keep my weight up! yes up! Eating a whole food plant based diet is nutrient dense and aids in recovery and leaner gains. To step up my game, I took part in my first educational course since graduating university. I am now Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified.
JOURNEY TO TRIATHLON
If you thought that marathon running and CrossFit training was enough…well it wasn’t. Somehow, while mindlessly watching videos on YouTube, I came across a very inspirational mini-documentary on Ironman triathlons. That was enough to get me hooked. I only had 2 issues. Yes, I can run. I could swim as a kid, but haven’t for 15+ years. And I never learned how to ride a bike. So what did I do? I registered for the Toronto Triathlon Festival’s Sprint distance. This forced me to get back into the pool, which, I picked up swimming back instantly surprisingly. I’m not a great swimmer by any means, but good enough to get me to the finish line. But the biggest challenge was the bike aspect. I did a whole bunch of research and bought my first road bike. The TREK Domane SL5 aka “Dianna”. Getting on and off, and balancing was super hard to learn, but with only 4 weeks, I learned enough. Out of all the medals I earned this year, my TTF medal is the one I’m most proud of. Swimming in a pool is one thing, but open water races is completely different. It was the first time in a race that quitting actually crossed my mind, twice. But I fought through the swim, rode through the gusty wind, and was so delighted to get to the run segment. Now I’m addicted to triathlon, and signed up for Ironman 70.3 Muskoka in July 2019.
I thought nutrition, training and working out was the end all and be all of fitness. I was sorely wrong. While I already feel amazing after a workout, I often felt a sense of tiredness or lack of energy during the day. I quickly learned that sleep is absolutely vital. I read a book called “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker. I now make sure to get at least 7h30m of sleep every night, with my utmost of trying to get 8+. This made a huge improvement in my energy level, alertness, recovery, and well-being. I use an app on my iPhone and Apple Watch called Pillow to track the quality of my sleep. Sleep is a crucial component of recovery and making those lean gains.
EXPLORED THE MIDDLE EAST
Travel is one of the best ways to live life, learn new things, and become a better person. I had the privilege this year to explore the beautiful countries of Israel, Jordan, Dubai, Qatar, and Egypt. This brings my country count to 47. While you may have heard all the negative stories about this region fo the world from news channels, I had a phenomenal time there. Some big highlights for me was crawling through the Red Pyramid, visiting old Jerusalem, the centre of the 3 major world religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I had a luxurious time in Dubai. I absolutely love Middle Eastern cuisine, as they incorporate a lot of fresh vegetables, breads, meats, and most importantly delicious hummus!
All in all, I feel like I did myself well in 2018. I am proud of everything I accomplished. And now begin drafting up my life goals for 2019 for an even better year!
My hashtag for 2018 was #THISIS30.
For 2019, say hello to #MaximumDiscomfort!