This week we profile an amazing member of the Fitocracy community. He reclaimed his life five years ago, and has been living up to his potential ever since. Representing our users over 50, it’s kajharju! If you have a member you’d like to nominate for a Spotlight, email email@example.com.
Username and level –
kajharju, level 44
How did you get started in fitness and training?
I was overweight and physically in a pretty bad shape 2006. Constantly overeating crap, being stressed because of workload and not doing anything for my health so my body was giving up on me. I felt that I might have not that many years left. The scary part was that I was not going to enjoy those years that would come. I used to kid sometimes that I was a sybarit, enjoying life fully, a real man weighs at least 3 digit in kilos, that I enjoyed the food that I ate and would not change that. I was saying and even believing all that nonsense only to justify that kind of lifestyle.
But I could not go on like that. I knew I needed to lose weight. But how? I did remember that I had a friend who was even a bigger couch potato than I, and he lost a lot of weight a few years back. I sent a question to him, I learned that he put on the weight again but was on the diet again since a few months back. That was perfect for me, we could push each other all the way to our goals and further.
He used The Hacker’s Diet as a resource, I got on that. It’s plain simple about calories in/out. I had a plan of 1500 kcal/day to reach my goal weight. And I did that. First thing I did after I got my limit was to learn as much as possible about which foods would get me most volume for the calories; I did not like the idea of going with an empty stomach. Started to plan my meals for a whole week, cooked all things one evening every week, weighed and counted and put in boxes. I had 4 meals @ 300kcal every day and still some kcal left so I could drink coffee on top of that. Skipped most everything that I knew made me overeat.
Only by changing what and how I ate made awesome changes in a few days. I felt like I was a new person, renewed, filled with energy. Most of my stomach problems disappeared. So it was easy to go on when I started to feel so great. And yes, all the food that I planned, was sometimes too much for me even at lousy 1500 kcal/day – some days I had to force myself to eat all the meals. Weight was also dropping.
Which still left training and workouts. Well, I really did not enjoy the thought of that. But I knew I have to make more changes to keep me fit for fight in the future. Why do all this work now and get unfit again in a couple of years?
It’s a lot of a mental gameplay: how do I trigger myself to go for things that seems awkward or hard? Why are some things so easy to do? I was changing my mental landscape, rewiring my brain, and it’s easy when weight loss results are coming each day . I also had the wonderful opportunity chatting with my weight loss pal every day. That was really important.
I started to read a lot of about different methods of weight loss, as well as reading books about training. Browsed the net and discussed a lot of this with my weight loss pal, every day. I started to take pics of myself every month so I could see the changes, sadly there is no such pic at my start, the first pic is from a vacation in November 2006.
I started walking, and soon walked more and more. I got a gym and pool card, and began going twice a week for a swim and a workout at Nautilus. I even started running short distances when I walked. In a half a year or so I was down to 75 kilo. I don’t know what I weighted at the beginning since I had no scale, when I got a scale I was at 102,5 kilo. I would guess at least 110 kilo on that pic with me on the sofa.
Ever since I reached my goal weight in the summer of 2007 I have mostly stayed at 75-78 kilo. Currently an average at 78.
To make a long story short, the running part got me hooked. I love the idea of being able to travel with my own legs any distance. Since running did take so much time and energy I dropped the gym and pool. I kept up with some bodyweight and dumbbell circuit training through the years. And when I could not run because of injury I started biking to keep my engine going. In beginning of 2012 I needed a change and went back to a gym. And have kept on going with it since then.
How did you find the site? How has it changed your workouts?
Possibly through John Romaniello. [Ed. note: YOU can sign up to train with John Romaniello in Fitocracy’s new Group Fitness program! Check it out here.]
Changes? Oh yes, changes! Well, it’s easy to get inspired when I see someone else doing a crazy workout and thinking maybe I could do something like that. I have been inspired to go on with an unsafe volume of push ups… I am like a Corvair cursed by Ralph Nader. I got a lot of inspiration when it comes to weightlifting. With all these wonderful people at Fitocracy it’s easy to get inspired.
Do you have any long term goals or direction you plan to take your training?
Evolve, getting better, having fun – I have said that I want to be stronger, faster and better looking at 60 – if I get 2 out of 3, then I have succeeded. When I die I prefer to die like a sports car and not a rust heap.
What are things you’ve learned through trial and error? What areas do you hope to learn more about?
All things all learned by trial and error, whether it is nutrition, weight loss, or training. I don’t hope to learn more, I know I am learning all the time, it’s a never ending story.
Currently, where would you say your weakness lies? Where do you excel?
Weakness might be going on at too many things at once. Excel – I don’t know about that but I think I am pretty good at not quitting, always bouncing back.
What motivates you?
The feeling that body & mind is one unit. It was not that way before. Now? It’s like a love affair :P
Are you using any supplements or special dietary changes to achieve your goals?
Foodwise it’s a lot home cooked stuff, knowing what’s in the food I eat. Also important to eat enough (while on diet or training a lot). Food is the building material and medicine for the body. I take some extra vitamins, minerals (potassium and magnesium), fish oil, D-vitamin on need (when I think I need it). I’m not sure how much that helps. Except for the potassium and magnesium which really have helped me on occasions with cramps and pains in legs.
If you could give advice to someone starting off, what would you tell them?
Life changes are for life, not for the next beach season. Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years from now? And getting a sparring partner, a friend who got similar goals so you can share and travel together. I’ve had daily contact with my friend for 7 years now, sometimes we meet and workout together and then go for a dinner. Yes, he has also kept himself in great shape over these years, instead of going back to fatness as he did after his first weight loss. And our success has a lot to do with keeping in touch.
What’s your ‘secret weapon,’ the thing that pushes you or you feel gives you an edge?
I really don’t want to feel like a sack full of shit.
What has the overall impact of Fitocracy been in your life?
Inspiration, and it’s really great getting in touch with people all around the world. I find that amazing.
One thing I want people to take away from my story is…
Your body is the garden of your mind. Sow the seeds of love, you will get love. Sow the seeds of fitness, you will get fitness. Sow the seeds of weight loss and you will get weight loss. Start wearing shades because your future is going to look bright ;)