More Useful Stuff
Calvin Fisher, 35, Cape Town, Motoring Journalist
WEIGHT BEFORE: 135
WEIGHT AFTER: 97
TIME TO GOAL: 20 months
Obesity creeps up on you. I weighed a sprightly 76kg in 1999, the year I got married. By 2002 I had ballooned to 108kg. In January of 2012 I was a rotund 135kg. I was never into sport and the comfortable life of a graphic designer was taking its toll. A career change into the world of motoring only made things worse, with lavish launch events serving every sort of tasty morsel you can imagine, on top of a diet of junk food and masala-infused Cape Flats cuisine. I barely had enough energy to play with my three sons. The fact that my dad suffered a fatal heart attack at 48 was another concern.
Mountain biking. It looked so zen, so chill. Sinewy okes suspended from the sky, weightlessly leaping from one mound of dirt to the next, emitting plumes of dust as they’d go. I wanted to be weightless too. But I’d settle for significantly lighter, like the two friends of mine who were staring down at my spot in the dirt where I’d crumpled up in exhaustion at the base of the Tokai Forest MTB trail’s incline, barely 100m in. I was buggered, breathless, nauseous and embarrassed. It was December 2011, my most ambitious bike ride in the two months since buying one. Cycling, once a normal activity, had become torturous. I managed a few more short rides, humouring invitations to do the Argus Cycle Tour. “Sure. Sure I’ll do the 110km Argus…”
Seven weeks before the Argus last year, I decided to take the plunge. The time for bullshit was over, and thus my education began. Bicycling and Men’s Health magazines were my school books, every fitness website, blog and group my homepages. Suddenly, I regarded food as fuel, and was loathe to put crap into my “tank”, as I quickly progressed to one ride into the office per week, plus two longer rides on the weekend.
In those seven weeks I melted off 13kg, and completed the race in seven hours and 50 minutes. The feeling of satisfaction was immense. And addictive. I weighed 122kg then, and was fitter than I’d been in over a decade. I started averaging four gym visits a week and this year I did my second Argus at a weight of 107kg, my time dropping to five hours and thirty minutes. Next year I’ll aim for a sub-four time and to be at least 10kg under this year’s weight. My latest obsession is running, and have my eye set on a couple of half marathons. I’ve never felt healthier. I’ve never been quicker, stronger or looked better. The kids can’t keep up.