Jacob Warwick, Contributor
Where do I begin? My name is Jacob Warwick, and I believe in fitness.
It hasn’t always been that way. A little over 2 years ago, I was a bit heftier than average. I was 22 years old, working a typical 9 to 5 office job, and enjoying a lazy diet. I began to pack on the pounds—50 of them to be exact.
My daily menu consisted of value meals, sugary caffeine drinks, and generally processed crap. Go figure, I felt like crap, too—sluggish, slow, and all-around blah! I had no idea that my choices were negatively affecting my health. I thought that I couldn’t afford to eat healthy foods. I thought that I didn’t have time to cook a proper meal. I thought that fitness fanatics were over-the-top and smug. But everything I thought was wrong.
The Wake Up Call
Despite my general lack of feeling positive or confident, it wasn’t until my close friend had invited me to visit him in Europe, that I thought about becoming healthy. My buddy, a competitive open-wheel driver overseas, had been an athlete his entire life. I thought I was going to visit him and play tourist. But, again, I thought wrong.
After arriving in London, my friend invited me to workout with his personal trainer—boy was I in for it! This was not a 1-hour gym session filled with lackadaisical elliptical trotting and frequent water stops. No, this was outright insanity. I discovered that my buddy pushed through a 2-hour morning session, and another 2-hour evening session at the gym nearly everyday. I was traumatized. I watched from a distance, struggling to jog-walk a mile on a treadmill, while he and his trainer dominated the gym.
I got a big reality check when the trainer had me jump on a scale. 242 lbs.—gulp! I had so many questions, but mostly I felt shocked. How did I not see this happening? How had I let myself get to this point? My shame and embarrassment were unsettling.
After sharing a quick laugh to cut the tension, the trainer asked about my nutrition habits, activity levels, and fitness goals. He recommended I keep track of my calories and macronutrients with MyFitnessPal, and offered up some simple healthy habits that I could stick with.
One of the most difficult challenges I faced while implementing healthy changes into my life was simply finding the courage to get started. I craved change, but when it was time to take action I felt like something was holding me back. I had to overcome that little voice that told me it would be easier to just do what I normally do.
I decided to step back and slow down. I wasn’t going to get into peak physical condition like my buddy overnight. And I know I’m not perfect, so I needed to start small. Here are the three easy goals I chose to focus on to help me turn over a healthy new leaf and maintain motivation.
1. Wake up earlier They say, “The early bird gets the worm.” And I decided I needed to get up, and get that worm! This may have been one of the most difficult challenges for me, but I quickly learned that to fit a workout into my day I needed to stop drooling on my pillow and wake up earlier. I set my alarm to shout, “GET OUT OF BED!” for a jolt of early morning motivation—and it worked. It was an immense struggle at first, but after a couple of weeks I noticed I was more alert and prepared for other daily challenges.
2. Drink water Water is so important—it makes up roughly 60% of our bodies, and I’ve noticed that starting my day with this one healthy habit helps me make better choices in other areas, too. Dehydration has been shown to slow metabolism, and I knew if I wanted to lose weight I would need my body to be running optimally. Right when I get out of bed, I grab a glass of cool water and drink; I aim to drink 16 ounces right off the bat. I feel more satiated throughout the day—not a bad side effect!
3. Walk That’s it. Just put one foot in front of the other. I once interviewed an endurance runner who had completed 32 miles of a 100-mile race. “How do you do it?” I asked. She responded, “It’s simple really—it’s just one foot in front of the other.” It seems too simple to be true, but I started using her advice daily. And now, here I am today, no longer 50 pounds over weight with plans to conquer an Ironman triathlon.