Fighting fit in 8 weeks, time to change everything
After completing our family Kanban system (read about that here), we started to get a hold of life tasks. My desire to automate or remove mundane life tasks is to focus on things of value. My next job was health and fitness; there is no point in creating new time to do valuable things if you can not enjoy them through health problems or death. Fitness has been something I have wanted to fix for a long time but always prioritised other things over it, until now.
Why health, why now
Because, if I do not do it now, I could die a lot sooner than I hope too and it is a lot easier to do this in your 30s than later on in life. Over the last seven years, I have gone from a lean 85kg 10km runner to a 116kg desk sitter, Asthma returning lazy person. It is easy to blame busyness, parenthood or anything else but your health should come first, period.
If you got told you had six months to live and it would cost £50,000 to live an extra five years, would you take the offer, even if you did not have access to the funds would you not try with everything you had to get them? I had a realisation recently that if I did not act now in the next 10–20 years this situation maybe be forced upon me and most likely not with the possibility to pay my way out of it.
Heath and wellbeing are very accessible now, with gym memberships cost as low as £15 a month, weekly HIT workouts you can do for £5 a session, you can train yourself or with others for free at parks. You need to understand how you work as an individual; I need routine, social pressure and a short timeframe to remain on track, I know this about myself having failed so many times before trying to do this.
I decided to commit fully, an eight week period of intense training. The fight training (explained below) gives you 16 sessions of free training (twice a week for eight weeks), but knowing what I am like I wanted something daily to keep me accountable and motivate and due to the intensity of the program I wanted supervision.
Making something daily that works around work and family life means training late at night or early in the morning. Thank you social media for finding me some personal trainers to discuss this with. After discussing with Shay (Trainer), we agreed that daily training would be best, first thing in the morning so it was out of the way generally between 5:30 am, and 7 am. The first reaction from people I got was “How much is this costing to train every day”, the short answer is £1,000 for eight weeks. A lot when you say it out loud but if I can get to the fitness I have ever been in eight weeks for £1,000 that it is money well spent.
I have had a love of martial arts ever since a child, having experienced Muay Thai and MMA in my early youth I had never really tried boxing. After hearing about UWCB (ultra-white-collar boxing) events and one hosted in my local area (Bournemouth), the opportunity was there. To have a goal to focus on, to support a good cause, to use social pressure to keep me on track and most importantly in the words of Iron Mike Tyson.
“Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the face.”
A reminder that everything can change in a moment.
Official training was starting next week, so the thought was to start things off slowly at my own pace. First, an evening of eating all the treats I know I will miss during training as I move to a strict keytone based diet (to burn off as much body fat as possible pre-fight). So a curry night and pudding. It was time to start training, knowing our PT sessions were going to be early I started getting up at 5 am to get into the routine of it and then doing long walks along the beach to build up some tolerance having not done any working out for some time. At work where I am sat at a computer for hours at a time, I opted for a few full days using my desk in its stand up position. During the first week, I aimed to come off sugar, sugar is wrong, for three days I had massive headaches, had to go to bed most nights at 8 pm due to not being able to look at the light. I was agitated, grumpy, basically just a dick (luckily those around me knew what I was doing so gave me space). The first week of prep completed, and mentally I got into the zone, ready to start training Monday. Prepared to get into full fitness mode, I tried some of my existing gym clothes, and well there were a bit tight but £90 later at sports direct I was kitted up.
The UWCB training sessions are at Phoenix gym in Winton, 140 of us split over two classes have signed up to take part in the December event. The first class provided an introduction to our future classes, some basic boxing movements and painful cardio. I have trained in several gyms over the years, and when you enter most gyms you get a feel to how it is going to be, The experience was positive, the sign as you walk in, titled “Leave your ego at the door” set the tone. Mark our boxing coach focused on us all being partners for the next seven weeks, and to drive each other to be better until we are opponents, everyone is at different levels of fitness and ability, and this was not the place to show off and intimidate others with strengths but drive everyone forward.
The next morning, things are sore but ok. I had cleared out the garage to provide an inside space to train, one thing I forgot was it is pitch black at 5:30 am. So off to Screwfix to buy some lighting (£35 work lamp, battery lasts 3 hours and lights up a large room).
We start the first session with a fitness test, something to benchmark where my cardio level is. The 120 test, 120 exercises in the fastest time you can do them. 10 Squat thrusts, 10 Burpees, 10 squat jumps, four times, at peak fitness you should be getting a time of 2–3 minutes. Day 1 we were at 11 minutes, and it was bloody hard work.
The next few days we did a mix of cardio, strength, recovery and boxing training, one week down and my tanks were taken to empty, everything hurt but my body even at this state was handling it.
Friday evening and the second UWCB class was here, and I did not want to go, I was tired, aching, it had been a long week. I arrive at the gym and can’t park, try finding a space for 15 minutes (should have just parked 10 min away and walked up), I was now late for the session.
All the excuses were there just to sack it in and go home, in the back of my mind there is that voice saying “in 7 weeks someone is gonna punch you in the face and if you do not go tonight that is three more face punches you will get hit with”.
Parked up and enter late (without my gloves), apologies to Mark, the coach, he is cool; everyone is training, I jump straight into it with Jake sharing his gloves.
During this first week, food was my primary focus, carrying around 116kg is not going to help me in the ring. Another reason to have a PT trainer daily during this intense program was to be monitored and have my energy levels assessed. Our family meals during the week were lovely, the main differences we made was no snacking and in most cases replacing bread, pasta, rice, wraps with salad/vegetables resulting in a low-carb intake. Water was essential, previously I only managing 1–1.5 litres per day, I was aiming towards 3 litres, now at the end of the 2nd week, I now crave water, being hydrated is key to everything.
After discussing with Shay, I opted for a two meals a day plan, aiming for lunch and dinner (I tried breakfast and dinner on Friday and was hungry all day). I forgot about food during the rest of the time, therefore, gaining me more time. Without realising I was fasting for roughly 16 hours a day every day and doing my workouts during that fast time resulting in a higher fat burn.
The first week was always going to produce significant weight loss results (In my case 5kg lost), so I am not looking at it as a benchmark for every week. Though due to the high weight loss result this further stressed the importance of having someone monitoring my fitness and health daily during this intense program.
With all the sugar withdrawal, the tiredness, the aches and pains, the lack of fitness (my brain saying lift the weight, my arms say ain’t going to happen), the removal of my usual foods what do I think now.
I feel great; I am more focused, I do not get a 2 pm sugar crash, I am finding the positives out of even adverse situations, and I can see the road to being where I want to be for Decembers fight. The downside, I have had to have some afternoon naps, I have been snappy with those close to me, I have to make the kids food and it would be so easy to eat a bit of it which is hard. If anyone is going to do this, you need to have your family on side from day one.
If you want to follow my daily journey around this process pre-fight, follow me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/leetmallon
If you are around Bournemouth on the 16th December and want to see, me get punched in the face or cheer me on. Either way, you can buy tickets here or let me know if want to join one of the group tables I have.
If you fancy supporting me via a donation to Cancer research you can via https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/leemallon