Aside

How It Happened, Part I

6 Jun

Upon looking at my ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos, several friends expressed curiosity about how the transformation from couch potato to fitness professional took place. One of them is also a colleague whom I hold in very high esteem, and I’m going to borrow a phrase I’ve heard her use more than once while taking her Centergy class: It happened over time, not over night.

The factors that prompted this transition were several: I was quickly becoming winded while playing sports, and enjoying them considerably less as a result. I was growing acutely aware of the correlation between my habits and how I felt inside. Being painfully shy, I wanted to increase my self-confidence overall. And I was also starting to become concerned about my long-term health. But what finally lit the emotional spark in me was looking at a picture of myself one day and being extremely unhappy with what I saw. I decided right then and there to start incorporating 40-minute walks and other moderate exercise (such as light weight training) into my daily routine. I also began limiting the amount of fat in my diet (I know, I know. Low fat is so passé – but after all, it was the early ‘90s!). And it worked: I lost about 20 pounds and my waist shrank by 2 inches. But I knew that in order to take my fitness to the next level, I would have to incorporate more vigorous exercise into my routine – and I also knew that in order to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks involved with vigorous exercise, I would have to quit smoking.

After trying and failing several times, I finally slew the dragon in the fall of 1992. I was 24 years old, and as of this writing I’ve been smoke free ever since. Soon afterwards I began to progress from walking to running and from light weight training to heavy weight training. Initially my muscles felt stiff from the lactic acid buildup brought on by lifting weights, and when I first started running I could barely get to the end of the street without getting winded. But I persisted, and the effort paid off: My cardiovascular endurance improved by leaps and bounds, and I was steadily growing stronger and lifting more weight. However, there was also a setback…

Part II coming soon. Stay tuned!

2 Responses to “How It Happened, Part I”

  1. Miranda June 8, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    So inspiring, Andy! 😀
    Looking forward to the next installment….

  2. andysullivanmindandbody June 18, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    Thanks for the feedback as always, Miranda! the next installment is here! 🙂

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