The following is a story from a CrossFit trainer (wannabe), trying to help her Dad to get back into shape. In part one of this series, Viki takes us through the initial struggles of her dad. What helped him to get started. And in the end, she will also provide you with three easy steps you should consider before you start.
My Dad is 50 years old and has a good 20 kg extra on. He is turning to an age in which changing his lifestyle is getting harder and harder. Habits are very hard to get rid of, and changing your everyday life has already become a question of feasibility and if it’s still worth it. Routines feel like they are set in stone and it’s easy to find excuses why you cannot do the one thing or another. Time feels like it is constantly in short supply. Should you even be physically active at this age? Knees and back often tell you not to rock the boat too much anymore.
However, one night during a family dinner my dad told me he wants to lose those 20 kilos (mostly to make up for the beautiful wife he’s got) and generally feel better. He’s had an ankle injury back in the day so he never thought about exercising ever since the accident. Before, he thought that getting rid of carbs would do the trick. I, personally, never believed in ‘diets only’ so I tried to be as diplomatic as one can be with her father and explained to him that we need to look at this from different perspective. Getting rid of 20 kilos by only eliminating certain types of food might not be sustainable or effective. If it happens too fast it might be dangerous too as the toxins released by rapid fat loss might have detrimental consequences.
In my opinion, there is only one sustainable way – he needs to start exercising and instead of eliminating carbs we will try to balance the diet so he eats nutritious food which supports his new lifestyle. I was honest and frank with him and told him that it wasn’t going to be easy but working out will also help him to stay on track with his diet. Over time he would be able to see how eating nutritious and losing weight will directly translate into less suffering and more enjoyable sessions at the gym. I tried to convince him that a being in better physical condition will allow him to run around like he is 30 again. The bait was out in the sea. But would he take it?
Soon after I started to see more positive sides of this and through working out together me and my dad to would become even closer and it gave me the chance to start off my CrossFit career by pushing myself into the deep end right away. Everybody knows how happily parents accept advice from their own children and how delighted they are once they realise that the tables have turned.
I won't lie to you, getting started is the hardest part and first you need to find your why before you should even think about the how. Many people get started and resolve: “I will go for a run 2 x a week and do 100 Push Ups and Sit Ups every night.” But they don’t have a clear sense of direction. After a few days or weeks, motivation slowly starts to fade and it is very hard to keep up with the pace you have set for yourself at the beginning. Me and my dad gathered a couple of actionable steps which will hopefully help you define why you would like to be in better shape than you are now. I hope to they will help you as much as they did us!
1. Prior to starting, find your motivation
But it’ never too late. Like I said before, my Dad will soon turn 50 and he has a good 20 kilos extra. He got to a point where he realised that the extra weight affects his health and that he wants to change his eating habits to make up for the beautiful wife he’s got. Yes, women are always in the story.
On top of this, he’s got a physically demanding job where he needs to lift heavy weights which is getting harder and harder. The motivation was simple. Getting back in shape so he can still look young and fit enough for his wife and he could still meet the demands of his job. Finding your motivation is usually just a thought which flies through your head, but unavoidably stays there. For my Dad, it was that he wanted to be a stronger, healthier, ‘smaller’ version of himself. This was strong enough to get him started and keep him on track.
2. Be honest and accept your flaws
We all start a little overweight and on a less optimal fitness level (I did too when I started, and that is just normal). I often heard: "No that’s impossible, I can’t do that" or "I’m too old for this!". Let me get this straight. If someone, your trainer understands how hard it is, because we started somewhere too. Being overweight and not 20 anymore doesn’t mean you can’t move, it only means that you need a little extra effort. We are here to give you a little push, help and explain. If you have the opportunity, starting a ’revive’ program in a group of people with similar fitness level can give you even more energy, but look for a personal trainer if you feel like the group setting is not for you.
3. Work with Professionals
It is very important that you don’t start yourself. The movements you are planning to do can cause injuries if not executed right (even a simple squat can be hard on your knees, hips, back especially if you are overweight). Talk to a trainer, set your expectations in terms of losing weight and the fitness level you want to reach, or find a dedicated program like our Beginner's Program to get you started.
Is there a special goal we are aiming for? Special goals can help you and your trainer to specify the exercises you’re doing so you will be able to reach your goals. Finding a trainer who can motivate you is probably the most important element of it all. Don’t bother with the ones that give you what to do and then walk away and chat with others or playing on their phone. Keeping the high energy up through the whole class is very important (I do cheer for my Dad all the time it must look very funny from the outside) so your motivation doesn’t slip away after 2-3 classes.
Also define your measurements with your trainer (for us it is the change in the T-shirt size which is visible for my Dad too and we have a couple of benchmark workouts which we do month by month and watch the development). As we are getting close to being 4 weeks in training, I will soon come back with the first experiences. Until then, good luck getting started.
Name: Viktória Csánicz
Hobbies/Interests: Painting, CrossFit, Kombucha
Viktória Csánicz (25) is a painter/graphic designer for a living, and a CrossFit trainer yet only in her free time. Her artwork is just as personalised as her training sessions in a very particular way. She leads you through the whole process, picking out the style, the colours, the size for your free apartment space. In her opinion, people get more attached and are ultimately happier with the result if they participate in the process of making the artwork or fitness program. She brings the same mindset to her training and nutrition guidance. The idea is to discover the needs, maximise the goals and lead you through the process of making it happen. Of course she cannot train for you but can bring you right to the edge of your comfort zone and maybe step outside of it for a while.
She has been training Kettlebell for 2 years and has been with the CrossFit community since more than half a year. She has been interested in nutrition since she has been a little girl, as there were a couple of cases with diabetes in her family. Because of this, she saw that changing certain things in your eating habits can be a life changer. Viki is a half-marathon runner and she is dedicated to take her CrossFit knowledge to the next level with enrolling to a Level 1 course in the near future to chase her dream to be a personal coach. Until then, she is trying her training skills out with her Dad who did not really know what he got himself into when he agreed to Viki’s training program.
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