Improving with Age

At 41 years of age I never expected to be in better physical condition then I was in my 20’s and 30’s. I have grown up being physically active and participating in competitive sports my entire life. Soccer, track, cross country, basketball, ultimate frisbee….I was always doing something. I’ve raced triathlons, ran half marathons….hiked the West Coast Trail….I love a challenge. I jokingly tell people that physical activity was my natural Ritalin. I’m sure if I was growing up today I would probably be medicated because of my hyper activity and difficulty focusing on any particular task for any particular length of time. Sports were different. If it was a sport I connected with I had all the patience in the world and could perform it repeatedly without ever getting distracted or bored.

Once I graduated university in 2000, things began to change. My diet was terrible and no amount of physical activity could make up for poor nutrition. As I hit my 30’s I could see the decline of my metabolism and could not understand how I could train for hours and hours a week and have such poor body composition. I also noticed an increase in autoimmune issues such as arthritis in my right knee. I was also constantly fighting bronchitis and lung infections.

In 2008 I knew I needed to make a change and knew that change had to include my approach to eating. I tried the Zone with limited success but chronic headaches and any body composition change was immediately met with bingeing as I found it to be a lifestyle I could not maintain. One good thing about the Zone was it made me realize how the fuel I put into my body had a direct correlation with how I felt, and of course how I looked. The power of gluten crack was really hard to kick. Around this time I met Robb Wolf, and the Whole 30 crew and tried (and failed) at several attempts of completing a Whole 30. Between 2009 – 2011 I also met the incredible Steve Maxwell and Erwan LeCorre.

These men began to change my philosophy towards my training – pain did not have to equal gain. Quality was much more important than quantity….and they introduced me to more efficient and beneficial ways to move that I still use today…and will continue to use for the rest of my life. Things were starting to change. And then it happened! In January 2012 I finally successfully completed a Whole 30!!! It was a month before my 40th birthday so I think I was extra motivated to stop making excuses. And funnily enough I wound up doing 40 days instead of 30. I felt the gluten-crack switch in my brain turn off. I felt more in control of the choices I was making, and which foods I reacted negatively to and felt strong enough to avoid (or at least limit) consuming them.

The year before that happened (2011) I met Jason Dolby and John Wild Buckley of the OKC. These amazing men introduced me to the awesomeness of kettlebell sport. They reignited my competitive side and motivated me to try my hand at learning the sport and competing. Unfortunately it took almost a year from the time we met until I actually had the courage to step on the platform, and make the necessary changes to my diet…. which happened in January 2012….which coincidentally was also the time I lost my first kettlebell competition. That, combined with my looming 40th birthday a month later helped me get off my ass and stop sucking! After my “Whole 40” I had dropped over 10kg in 3 months and competed in my next kettlebell competition. And then I was officially bit by the kettlebell bug. Since that time I have managed to stay on track through my MovNat implementation – which supported both my movement patterns and eating patterns (thanks to Clifton Harski who taught me to be less of an asshole with my food choices), my mobility work (thanks to Steve Maxwell), and of course my kettlebell training with Jason Dolby, which I do really believe has enhanced my lean body composition as well as overall strength.

This entire journey has really been at least 4 years in the making  – with the results being most noticeable in the last 2 years. I am so glad that I remained consistent and vigilant and met some amazing athletes who inspired, motivated and also lent me their support. Next month will mark my first year training under Jason Dolby and the OKC. With his guidance I continue to make huge gains in my performance as I continue to work my way up the GS ladder. Below are some stunning reminders of what a little (o.k – A LOT) of hard work can do.

Chuala TransformationCynBeforeAfter

I should also add that body composition was really the least of the gains I have made since making some serious changes to my lifestyle. The pictures are also photographic evidence of how much my kettlebell sport skills have dramatically improved and become much more badass!! I also went from contemplating surgery on my arthritic knee to laughing at the notion and living practically pain free (with zero interruptions to my training). My confidence and self-esteem has increased from constantly hiding behind baggy outfits to discovering the awesomeness of Glyder apparel and Lululemon 🙂 Feats of strength I was able to perform at a heavier weight, I have still maintained being much leaner.  Overall, I’m much more positive, optimistic, healthier and happier….


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