Fitness In The Park!

Let’s be honest, gym membership is expensive.  With subscriptions ranging from $50 to $150 per month it’s no wonder most people don’t hit the gym. I mean, how many of us can afford those prices, definitely not me!  If you have been following my health and fitness journey on social media you will already know that I managed to lose 10kgs in a year through eating right and without attending a single gym session.  This is what this meet up in the park is going to be all about, helping you achieve your fitness goals without breaking a budget.

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The event is open to everyone and I am encouraging you to come through no matter your fitness levels.  Remember we are always learning new things everyday and this will be a platform to share experiences and map a way forward for your fitness journey.

For more information on the event you can call or WhatsApp the numbers on the flyer.  You can also check out my Fitness Blog for different articles on health and fitness over here.  Alternatively you can Like my Facebook page to join a team that is seriously enthusiastic about fitness.

This the first of many events to come and I hope to see you there!

MaKupsy© 2017

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#UrsulaChallenge

I have to be honest with you, when I initially started working out I never in my wildest dreams thought that it would inspire so many people around me.  It has been and continues to be an interesting fitness journey.  I created a WhatsApp group with amazing individuals and everyday we push each other do to better than we did the day before.  Within the group there are Fitness Instructors, Physiotherapists, Lawyers, IT Personnel, Secretaries, University Students, Bloggers…tell you what, the list is endless and the group is diverse.

The great thing about it is thanks to technology we don’t have to be all in one place to run, just a running application on your mobile device and you are good to go.  There are runners from the UK, Algeria, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa,Zambia, Zimbabwe.  Minus running we get to learn different languages, cultures and foods.  Okay, I will have to expand on this on a different day, for now let  me talk about the #UrsulaChallenge

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Flyer by @KingKGC (Twitter)

The last challenge we had, Taku won hands down.  We have a rule that whoever wins the challenge is the one who will choose what the next challenge will entail.  I decided to have a little twist to it because I realised that to keep the motivation alive runners who are improving need to get some form of recognition as well and so Ursula was the lucky runner to get chosen. She has been running with the team since October and she has outdid herself, even running after a long day when all she wanted to do was sleep.

There are a few additions to her challenge which are:

  • Participants are to weigh in on Monday morning or Sunday evening and have their weight recorded.

You are encouraged to weigh in at the same time you weighed yourself at the beginning of the challenge and to use the same scale.

The one who loses the most weight during this weeks challenge gets 15 bonus points.

P.S The weight loss is for those who have it as their goal to lose weight, if not please do not worry yourself with the weigh in.

  • There will be a cook off on the Rest Day of the challenge.  The participant who sends through a plate that has healthy  food options, is well presented and appealing to the eye will get 5 bonus points.

I hope you will take part in this challenge, trust me, if you are a fitness enthusiast you will completely enjoy it and probably come back for more.  All the best in the upcoming challenge team, and may the best runner win!

#UrsulaChallenge #RunWithFitnessBae

P.S We always use Nike+(read as being resistant to change) for the challenges but this time the rules are more flexible and participants can use Strava, Cardio Trainer, Adidas and NRC.

Share. Like. Join.

©MaKupsy 2016

#NatalieChallenge

Good morning #TeamFitness we have a big week ahead of us. Here are the Rules for the upcoming #NatalieChallenge.  The challenge has started today and we already have a handful of runners who have clocked in today’s distance.  The WhatsApp group has grown and it now has 40 members.  If you would like to read on the previous challenge please click on this here.

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As you already know we will be running predetermined distances for 5 days;

Monday 4km
Tuesday 4.5km
Wednesday 5km
Thursday 5.5km
Friday 6 km

Here is how we will be scoring the challenge to determine a winner.

1. Points
We will use a simple points system based on how you place in a day. Depending on the number of runners. Say if we have 20 runners; 1st place gets 20 points, 2nd place gets 19 and so on until 20th place who gets 1 point. If you do not run you will be awarded 0 points.

As the days progress points will be added in a log system and most points is awarded 1st place and so on.

2. Bonus points
Over the course of the challenge bonus points will be awarded as follows;

3. Completion bonus
5 points will be awarded for completing the challenge (5 days) to everyone who does.

4. Improvement bonus
5 points will be awarded to the 3 individuals with the most improved paces measured as the biggest difference between your first day pace (min/km) versus your fastest pace thereafter.

5. Continuous Improvement bonus
10 points will be awarded to any individual who improves their pace on each day. As in they go faster everyday for days 2, 3, 4 & 5.

6. Daily climber
From day 2 to 5, the individual with the biggest climb measured as difference between previous day ranking and current day ranking (overall points log) will be awarded 3 bonus points. Where there is a tie all individuals receive 3 bonus points.

7. #RunWithFitnessBae Bonus
Any individual who posts their run on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtags #RunWithFitnessBae, #NatalieChallenge and #FitnessBae earns one extra point per day.

8. Fast Finisher bonus
If your last km in a particular run is your fastest km as measured by pace min/km, you are awarded an additional bonus point. One per person per day.

Bonus points will carry the same weight as ordinary points.

Penalties and disqualification
There will be NO penalties leveled on runners nor will people be disqualified or withdraw. Once you’re in you’re in.

Those are your rules everyone. Remember to have fun!

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P.S. Please support the #RunWithFitnessBae on Thunderclap it won’t take a minute of your time and no you don’t have to run as well.  It’s just a way of spreading the word for the Running Challenge.

Please also like my Fitness page on Facebook.

Get fit or die trying…

©MaKupsy 2016

A Journey Through Thick & Thin

We are investors in our lives, shareholders to the consequences of our actions. Shareholders because we never quite admit to all our mistakes, we apportion part of them to others.  Maybe that’s the reason why some people also lay claim to contributing to our successes when we do well.  That’s what l believe partly contributes to our natural denial as human beings.

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My denial for many years has been mostly about my state of health or rather “weight”. Growing up in an African setup the myth that weight signifies success is the very source of pride for many overweight people. We seek to hide using the complement of our culture giving respect to the large and hugely bodied figures who roam our streets. It is no accident that some even aspire to become bigger body wise while using the wrong route to getting there. However, my denial was slightly different from the normal African standard. I grew up in a middle class family that could afford to place before me a plate of sadza and meat more often than the average family in our country. We hardly lacked in resources and l was encouraged to finish my plate like “all good kids” are expected to. Unknown to my well-meaning parents is that l was consistently “slightly” overfed over a couple decades of my life as a kid and a teenager. During this process l came to be known as the chubby kid.

Chubby was a good thing and that was my means of standing out from the rest of the pack. The great irony is l never really sucked in sport, l made 1st team volleyball at all the schools l attended and l was on a good day, a descent goalkeeper. For me food became less about eating to live and more about eating to be always full. When you hardly lack you become very generous with your portions and portions eventually had me very rounded up. (So to speak)  My earliest memory of how much l was overweight was when as a 15year old l tipped the scale at about 80kg during a blood donation which l found to be quite amusing. Publicly l displayed pride that l was possibly in the top 5 heaviest students in our age group. Quietly though l was slightly embarrassed that l was one of the odd ones out. I wanted to belong not to become a freak show (no offense to my counterparts). By the time l reached University l had become quite obese. That phase of my life saw me pile on more weight due to the rigorous requirements of my program and my own share of laziness.

Fast forward to my 2012 l was weighing about 110kg and 2013 brought an extra 10kg onto my scale. By then my lifestyle revolved around long hours at work, a very outgoing weekend schedule filled with braais and not a drop of physical activity. It was amusing that even my workplace was located 200m from where l would drop off my lifts and l would use the elevator to our 3rd floor offices so that basically summed up an activity deficient lifestyle.

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Realities of being overweight

At one point in my denial that my situation needed a change, l got so big l blew open my work suite and had to ask my lovely girlfriend to buy a needle and thread for me. Yes you guessed correctly, she promptly delivered the goods and l had to sew up my trousers in the gents while she waited for me at reception in shock. She was always kind in her approach with me though she was getting extremely worried with each day passing. I had a challenge getting into high rise vehicles and there was always a risk l would blow a pair of trousers. I am a short guy, let’s just say am slightly below 170cm so carrying 120kg was a health hazard (this is the last time l will write the figure!) l was very huge. More shockingly l was on the chronic side of the BMI index. With time more realities started to settle into my life, for example during a boozers game of soccer l was out of breadth after every defensive play by the goals even if the goalkeeper is the least active player on the field. Whenever my work lift was not working l would have to remove my work suite jacket so that l could cover up my wet shirt by the time l got to our floor. It would be greatly embarrassing to face corporate clients in a wet suit. So the dry jacket covered up the wet shirt from the climb up. Soon even in winter l could no longer wear a suit without having a vest worn below the formal shirt. Sometimes l would sweat profusely if the air-conditioner was not working properly. Remember my point about denial? Yes, my denial only served to give me educated reasons on why all this was happening. I would blame the clothes and not the body. I would blame the air-conditioner, blame the flight of stairs, blame the hot coffee l just drank and sometimes blame the pressure of work on my state of sweat.

The wake-up call

There were a series of wake-up calls that came in slow succession which lead to some change.

  1. One day while l was on a business trip l ate so much l almost suffocated in my sleep. Seems as l was turning in bed after a generous meal the food found its way up my canal and l woke up without any air choking on my own vomit. Luckily the gag reflex we possess naturally assisted me somewhat to avert danger. This story is known by only 5 close people in my life, but it’s important that many more understand the dangers of over-eating.
  2. The next time l received my wake-up call was when my snoring got so bad that people l would travel with volunteered to have me get a private room to myself and not share the hotel room with them. I took that to mean more freedom for me but it was only when my cousins recorded me snoring on their smartphone that l saw how bad it really was. It sounded like l was dying, l was shocked and it was extremely embarrassing. The saddest part is l never had the maturity or enlightenment to do anything about it.
  3. For short stints l under ate because it seemed like l kept gaining. Soon l was hunting for trousers in the unlabeled area looking for old stock on the no size section of the department store. I would wear trousers for very tall people and have to get a tailor to cut almost half the length on the legs to get my fit.

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The unlikely invitation

I grew up in the lovely City of Kings, Bulawayo.  Late 2013 my job took me to Harare for a fixed term period to be part of a project at work. While there a brother of mine would ask me to meet him at his gym so l could grab a free lift home. It was during this period that his trainer became fond of me often encouraging me to come watch their sessions but l would laugh it off. With a society that does not see many thriving weight loss stories l stuck to television shows to get visual inspiration but l never amassed enough interest (read as courage) to start my own journey. Many weeks later my brother informed me that l had been offered free membership at his gym for a week and if l liked it then l would formally join and start paying subscriptions. Till now over 3years later, l have never tasted the hell l went through that week. The 1st day l could hardly walk, l was grossly unfit and l skipped the shower after and went to sleep in my brothers car. He found me snoring and till this day he tells anyone who cares to listen that l almost died at gym. But dying evaded me, the next day my joints were protesting, my lung capacity seemed hugely insufficient and l was begging to die. But my trainer assured me that l would not die! I never believed him, l cursed at him (in French) and l felt everyone in the class was showing off.

They say never compare your journey to that of others. There were figures in the gym that looked bigger than me and l never understood why they were having a good time while l was suffering. I have no academic reason for this but somehow when the week was over l paid for the whole month in one go. I never stopped attending and within two weeks l saw a lot of changes. An old pair of pants that l had decommissioned suddenly started fitting, l could go for 10minutes in class and not need a break then soon l could talk during the session. Interestingly round about that time Corporate24 opened their premises in Harare and they had a machine that could record height, weight, and temperatureplus body fat percentage. It was during my soon to be many visits there that l started seeing the weight fall away as their scale machine offered more privacy than the public scales out there. Soon my belt loops started moving backwards. I was ecstatic!However the process is never smooth, many before me claimed not to see the changes and many more felt it was a phase. Somehow the maturity started settling in and l needed less re-assurance from people and more assurance from my clothes that l had really shed weight. That is when the best days of my life became sculpted.

Research is key

Many myths exist on the road to weight loss. Many supposed scientific researchers exist in the world of fitness.

  • You will meet those who tell you not to take carbs as the means to real weight loss.
  • Some will advocate for a meat free diet.
  • Others will swear by a liquid only diet.

Put simply, you will bump into a lot of different theories.

When l successfully lost my first 15kg the situation changed for me. I could no longer sustain a good rate of weight loss on my once a day gym session and eat whatever l wanted. That’s when l taught myself nutrition through our dear old cousin Google, some books and expert advice through various trainers. I found that there is no one size fits all approach to weight loss. I soon found out there is no such thing as being big boned and small portions do not necessarily lead to weight loss (its actually the quality of your nutrition and of course limiting serving size that leads to long-term success).

 

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What my breakfast now looks like on some days.

l began doing morning runs, threw away my over –sized t-shirts l used for running and invested in fitness clothing even to the extent of buying my 1st running shoes. Starting at 3.1km l would finish that distance in 40mins. Soon the time started dropping; l asked my trainer to include me on his weekend schedule.  In 5 months l had lost a whooping 20kgs and l was more confident and focused.

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I rewarded myself with regular cheat meals. I started to challenge myself, increase my running distances and train the right way so as to avoid injuries. Soon even the skeptics began to throw good vibes my way. By the time l had lost 25kg l became swamped with enquiries and my trainer who was now a very close friend of mine was on the receiving end of new clients. Life changed, l fell from size 46 to 38, couldn’t remember when the last time was when l last wore trousers or shorts in the 30’s. By the time l moved back to Bulawayo l had a plan once back home.

  1. Within my 1st week l had joined a gym.
  2. I was now running 5km 3 times a week and using jump rope heavily.
  3. By the time l went below 90kg l was running 6km 5 times a week.
  4. l was doing morning runs, aerobics after and to top it up an evening session.

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I have to clarify that l hit 85kg 2years after l started my weight loss journey so take your time to build descent consistency. When l hit the 40kg lost mark l was now rocking size 34pants with descent loose skin. 78kg l became a 10kilometer specialist and then l became a competitor in distance races. 2015 October l ran my 1st competitive 10km race. March 2016 l ran my 1st 21km race the PPC Matopos Ultramarathon then July 2016 l ran my 2nd Half Marathon at the Victoria Falls Marathon.

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The realities of an unlikely journey

Yes l have fallen off the wagon, had bad weeks and many more better weeks. The art in this journey is to never quit. To be mature enough to take criticism constructively and to also embrace pain. There is a lot more happening in my life now, l’m busier with my job but l have created a schedule around all this chaos around me to keep fit. What many should know is keeping fit to maintain weight loss is a lifestyle. You can’t really take a year off this journey, it’s a continuous journey.

My milestones currently are that l do not snore anymore, so it’s safe to sit next to me on the bus on a long trip. Somehow l haven’t had a flue in 3years and l credit my morning runs for that. I have a totally new wardrobe now with much nicer gear than before. I have made friends through this lifestyle but the best part is l have become a positive influence on many individuals. Two friends l recruited have lost a combined 30kilos this year alone and it keeps getting better. I have a lot planned ahead and l look forward to doing more. Maybe run the Comrades Marathon one day, do the Ironman Race and participate on the Spartan Race. But before that l need to learn how to swim!

Unlikely journeys have unlikely results, l set out to lose a bit of weight to retain my old clothes. I ended up getting rid of my new clothes to purchase new ones. I hope this unnecessarily long biography helps someone out there who has no idea what to do; to believe and pursue lasting change.

I am not losing weight, I am getting rid of it.  I have no intention of finding it again!

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Feel free to get in touch on social media on either Instagram or Facebook for inspiration on how to go from obese to healthy and active.

Thank you to Chris for featuring on my blog today, you are a real gem!  I hope this inspires anyone going through a tough time with trying to lose weight.  It is possible to get the body of your dreams.

Have you gone through a weight loss journey?  What prompted you to finally make a change and get active?  I would love to hear from you.

 

©MaKupsy 2016

 

Friendship

Friendships usually start because of common ground, and for Tanya and I, pregnancy brought us together.  I noticed we had a mutual friend on Facebook and decided to add her to my friend’s list.  It’s good to note that some good comes out of these social networks right?  We were both in our third trimester and both going through all the changes that come with pregnancy.  I gave birth first and told her all the traumatising things I went through during labour (and added a bit of lies here and there for dramatic effect);  and nearly a month later she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, who is now my son-in-law to be because he is just too cute.

We kept in touch over the phone mostly and only got to meet in person a year later.  We have been very good friends ever since then.  She is like a sister to me.  We have our fair share of fights, where we can go months on end sulking for no reason.  I have concluded that it must be a “last born syndrome” that we both suffer from so we both come with pride issues.  Times we are not talking and being childish, I miss her terribly.  When we do get back in touch, it’s like we never stopped talking at all.

I have never had a friend who simply does not stop chatting.  We are on Whatsapp from 5am till 10pm each and every day and we never run out of things to say. We share almost everything, from tips on how to raise our children better, goals and aspirations, new recipes to try out, sex stories, gossip in small doses, YEAH RIGHT and almost everything else that women who are super close share.  Even on days I am not in chat mode I will ignore everyone else and chat with her instead because we are just a crazy pair.  She is a one in a million character and if you are not used to her you would think this little missy has issues.  Oh, by the way, she is really small but has a big mouth it is simply unbelievable!!

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Tanya

She is one of the few people who are close and dear to me because with her I can be myself and not worry about being judged or ridiculed.  We are open and honest with each other and because of her some days I have pushed myself when all I wanted to do was chill out and do nothing.  I wrote this post to let her know that I am glad that she is in my life and that no matter what’s going on between us, be it on the “mute” days or on the days we are really getting along she is and always will be the one friend I am glad I have and will always cherish.   Through her I have learnt to pursue my dreams, be more giving and caring, to realise that everyone including myself deserve nothing but the best.  Thank you for being a great friend Tanya, you are loved from the moon and back.

MaKupsy