My Health And Fitness Journey That Was A Fucking Rollercoaster Ride

When I first got into health and nutrition, I was about 12-13 years old, I can’t remember the exact age. I have this tendency when I start new things to go to the extreme with it and then moderate it a bit better afterwards. I was always a chubby kid, not very chubby but I had some excess fat that I wasn’t proud of, and I was in a very sporty school where half my year was ripped to shreds, which made me all the more self-conscious. So I started eating well and dieting. I was so determined that I wouldn’t even let myself eat one small biscuit. I would get a craving for sugar, and I’m such a psycho with this stuff, I would open up the press at home where all the sugary food was that my siblings loved, and I’d let myself just stare at it for a little while, before closing the press door and walking away in quiet desperation.

On top of that, I was doing High-Intensity Interval Training, which if you don’t know is hands down the most effective way to lose fat, and I was burning 1-2 thousand calories a day. My caloric intake, of course, would have been much lower than that. Looking back it was stupid and exceptionally unhealthy, but I was young and stubborn (still am) and had the whole ‘I know what I’m doing’ mentality. On top of the HIIT training, I was going it first thing in the morning so that my body had fasted, and as such burned more calories.

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After a few months, my mother forced me to stop as I was borderline anorexic. It was then that I realised that I was being an idiot, and I began eating more. After a few months, I had put back on everything I had lost. This cycle would go on for the next 5 years. I would find a new method of fat loss and go crazy with it and then put all the weight back on. Running was a big one. Myself and a good friend of mine would wake up early at school (boarding school) and go for a run before breakfast, then we would go for a run again after class, and then do ab workouts after that run, and we did that every day for quite a while. A year or two later, myself and my friend would do 500 pushups a day. We started out doing 100, then 300, then 500. We did that every day for quite a while.

Cycling was another big one for me. It was 2-3 years ago that I got into it. My mother bought me a racing bike, and over the summer holidays, I would do 60 kilometres a day, every day. And Ireland is not a flat country, my god. I would regularly cycle to Dublin airport, where there is a road that is parallel to the runway, so it was as straight as an arrow and as flat as can be. It was the best part of the route, as I push myself every day to go faster than the previous day and break my record. I did go overboard with the cycling, however, as I wasn’t eating enough and as a result, my muscles didn’t have enough fuel to recover properly. There was one occasion where I went out mid-afternoon, and it was the biggest mistake I had made that summer. The first part of the route was fine, but then my muscles gave out when I had 30km left. There was no other way to get home and I was way too proud to call someone to pick me up. I was moving so slowly that it had gotten dark out, and I didn’t have a light on the bike as I only cycled during the day, and so I had to hold my iPhone 4 on the handlebars with the flashlight on, which wasn’t much good. Every single car that went by beeped at me and some even shouted out the window. I live on a country road where there are no street lamps so I was shit scared because country people ALWAYS speed on these roads. I got home safe and sound in the end, but my parents were livid, as it was pitch black out and I was out for so long. It was then that I decided to pay more attention to getting enough rest.

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I used to push myself so hard that I would feel the oxygen being used up in my body with every push of the leg. I would take a deep breath and feel my muscles loosen up, and then after a few seconds, they would tighten again as they were using it so quickly. Never in my life have I felt pain like oxygen depletion while bombing down a country road. Then I got into weightlifting, which `i didn’t really go overboard with, but I was doing it terribly. I wasn’t using the right techniques and was focusing more on the weight I was lifting as opposed to HOW I was lifting it. This was mostly due to my school gym being filled with guys benching 100kg+ and doing bicep curls with weights that I would squat with. The main reason I even started going to the gym was that my good friend who I used to run and do push-ups with, was a big Slav whose arms were the size of my legs, and we would spot each other and work out together.

It was as a result of this that I realised that most people don’t start because they don’t want to be seen starting at the bottom, and it was then that I decided never to be like most people. And I suppose that applies to a lot more aspects of life rather than just the gym. If I didn’t have someone to lift with, I probably wouldn’t have started just because of the intimidation of walking into a gym filled with grunting men who laughed at you while you tried to do a pull-up.

Everything I learnt from these escapades has stuck with me today. I have perfected my diet and have a healthy routine of weightlifting and cardio (running and boxing). I have learnt that the most important thing with any form of exercise is listening to your body. I made the mistake of ignoring the pain and I can tell you it is never with those extra calories to damage your body. The human body is an extremely complex and intelligent organism. If it is telling you something, it means something.

Training is much like studying. You can be as determined as you like, but if you don’t train or study intelligently you’re going to waste a lot of time and the results won’t be nearly as good. I’ll leave it there.

Cormac

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