This was posted on the Climbing Mountains blog. Even though I blog, I usually avoid things that are more personal.
Tell me a little about yourself and your background?
As a computer geek, I am a professional student of systems and processes. That brings a curiosity into how things work both individually and in the cascade of effects throughout the system. I mostly played soccer as a kid and was outside almost every day back then. And I did a couple years of Karate. As an adult, I was super sedentary in front of a computer 12-20 hours a day.
What aspect of fitness do you enjoy the most?
Working out centers my mind and provides a calmness that I did not expect. I mean, I heard others talk about feeling good, but I suspected they were already happy people. Working in a stressful environment, fitness provides a place to change the brain chemistry. I definitely feel happier after a stressful day and even sense the need to get back to the gym when I have been away more than a few days.
How long have you been into fitness?
The weightlifting has been for the past three years. I also enjoy the occasional hike which has been for as long as I remember. I tried to get into jogging, but I despised it. That is how I tried weightlifting.
How did you get into fitness?
Really, I was dragged into it kicking and screaming. I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic (type II) almost a decade before getting the really diabetic one over 3 years ago. My diet was terrible. My life mostly consisted of sedentary sitting in front of a computer both at work and home. My weight would swing from 275 to 315 and back.
What was a turning point for you to take it seriously?
Armed with the diagnosis, I had to start exercising more or the bad things would happen. My doctor wanted me being active 30 minutes a day, three days a week. I started walking / jogging up to about an hour, but that was killing my feet. My doctor recommended building muscle as they would drink up the sugar in my system. Fat also messes with the blood chemistry to resist insulin, making the insulin less effective. So I came to the gym looking to cut fat and gain strength.
How has fitness impacted your life?
My doctors are pleased with my medical status. The sugar level is where it ought to be. My heart and kidneys are fine. The damage to my eyes is reversing. I feel happy and less stressed all the time.
What words of advice or encouragement would you give to someone starting out or would like to start but doesn’t know where to begin?
Find a friend who is serious about what you want to try doing. Tag along. Observe their form and ask questions. Make sure to get a number of perspectives. We each have our own goals and methods to get there, so feel free to pick and choose what works for you. Finally, if it hurts or you feel terrible about what you are doing, then do not beat yourself up about trying to fix the form or even trying something else.
Ezra Freelove (@sneezypb)