I had got myself into a 'bad place' which peaked just over 4 years ago. I was massively overweight, had a bad diet, was a heavy smoker & the only exercise I got was stretching my arms when I got up in the morning.
This combined with some genetics was something which saw me in hospital for a few weeks with life threatening blood clots on my lungs. I was 31 years old with a wife and 1 year old daughter and had to sort my life out or die. First step was quit smoking (over 4 years now & never going back) and second was to lose weight (I lost over 10 stone in a year and I've kept most of it off). I started cycling everywhere including to work and eventually started using the gym. I was getting a bit bored so looked up alternatives online and come across Regiment Fitness.
I've been a Regiment Fitness member for about a year now and I know it is a cliche but it has changed my life!
When I went for my trial session and couldn't even run without going purple and stopping every three steps (that was just the warm up) and struggled with everything and couldn't even do a single sit up I didn't think I'd come back, let alone sign up for W.A.R. Adam looked a little concerned when he asked me how I got on at the end of the session and I remember the look on my wife's face when I fell against the back door and didn't move or speak for half an hour when I got home. I started going once a week and struggled to keep up but didn't quit. The support got from my instructors (Nick, Adam, Steve, Tom, Smithy) and the other troopers was immense and I was buzzing that people were so positive. The physical aches and pains were nothing compared to the mental refreshment I felt (& still do) after each session (must be those endorphins I'd heard about for years)!
As time went on I found I could do more. It didn't seem any easier but I could do more. Once a week became twice, then I combined WGC with Hatfield and eventually I was getting (and still do) to 4 sessions a week all the time (work permitting). I didn't need as long to recover after reps, I could do press ups (on my knees), sit ups became doable, I could run a bit and in time I gave everything a go (including burpees!) and COULD do it. I may have some interesting techniques and sweat like I'm underwater but I do the best I can. I got "Star of the Session" a few times which is a bit of fun but means a lot to me. The support from instructors has always been fantastic and over the year everyone has been great but the guys I saw/see most have been especially great (Tom, Rich & Steve Windle @ WGC, Smithy, Luke & Joe @ Hatfield). The fellow members at any session give me priceless support throughout every session and I've made so many new friends too!
I am addicted to Regiment Fitness, and I've got a few others hooked along the way. In fact, I'm always talking about it & encouraging people to come along - I love it!! Now, as of last Saturday I talk about Regiment Fitness AND The W.A.R!! My W.A.R. photos and video on Facebook have got so many likes and comments it humbles me and I feel really proud of what I'm doing!
I signed up for the 12:45 5km wave of W.A.R. well in advance along with a few others from WGC group & I was nervous as I'd never signed up for any kind of physical challenge before but everyone said I'd love it. I continued with my weekly sessions and had signed up for one of the special W.A.R. training sessions at Dunstable Downs a few weeks before the main event. I injured my knee in the build up to W.A.R. training so had some enforced rest but I strapped it up & gave my all at the W.A.R. training. I was glad to be in Smithy's group as he knows me and always pushes me to do the best I can. It was a great session, but THAT HILL was like nothing I'd ever experienced before... somehow I made it!! As W.A.R. got closer I was a mix of nerves and excitement but had this layer of self doubt I couldn't shake.
W.A.R. day arrived and I hadn't slept much, laying awake thinking worst case scenario on each obstacle and doubting my ability to do it. We got there and made our way to the start. Adrenaline was pumping, I was like a kid at Christmas... what a buzz!!! We did a group warm up and we were off. My first ever W.A.R. race (my first race since egg and spoon at school probably)!
The first few obstacles came quickly, the barbed wire crawl was ok, a couple of rips to my t-shirt but I was through... I made it over the giant steps... I got over the tall fence/ladder unscathed. As I approached each obstacle I was battling with my doubts but I had this previously unknown to me grit and determination to just do it.
I completed the obstacles as they arrived with the same doubt/determination and the running was going ok thanks to my mate and his daughter running with me. Running up from the woods I saw a few people I knew including my sister and they were cheering me on. Tom Holliman spotted me heading up the hill towards the firemans pole and ran to meet me and push me on which I appreciated! I came down the pole a bit quick and my knee didn't like it but adrenaline had no time for pain!
Smithy saw me heading for his zip wire and had to properly talk me into doing it as I didn't think I'd be able to hold my body weight. I did & I'm glad he convinced me. Some familiar faces (Rich & Adam) encouraged me as I continued. The paintball was a nasty surprise and I'm still covered in bruises! The scaffolding jump was higher than it looked and Steve was keeping it organised up there as it proved too high for some. I really enjoyed that leap!
Luke saw me heading for the skip and was telling me to hurry up and get in. I slipped as I entered and went right under - bloody cold too!! Got out of that sharpish and flew down the slide nearly rolling down the Downs at the bottom. One obstacle left... The wall. There were a few instructors there and I didn't think I could get over, I couldn't lift myself up but the instructors wouldn't let me quit. One of them had the crazy idea to offer me his shoulder for a foot up and with the support of everyone (which i am very thankful for) I somehow got over (see video) and got to the finish line. As I crossed I could easily have burst into tears, it was such a euphoric feeling!
I finished in 1hr 38mins. The time didn't matter... I DID IT!!!!! My sister and my friends were cheering and we had a few hugs, photos and high fives before heading to get something to drink. I was still absolutely buzzing!
I got home to my family and they were so proud of me, I was proud of me... but my 5 year old Sophie proved to be my No.1 fan, she saw some of my bruises and asked if I was ok then said, "you won a medal and a tshirt, I'm very proud of you!" I had a massive lump in my throat and it was a perfect end to a fantastic day.
As the adrenaline wore off the pain kicked in, including a trip to A&E the day after for a knee injury & a shoulder knock and there were new bruises cropping up each day. That didn't matter though. It didn't dampen my mood, I've been buzzing all week! I've recovered pretty well and I'm going to a session in the morning to see how I get on.
Regiment Fitness is a massive part of my life, it's part of my new lifestyle. I've come a long way and I've got a long way to go with weight loss and fitness but I'm on that way so I'm winning! I can't wait for the next W.A.R, I'm already spreading the word and could be bringing half my office with me too at this rate as everyone has been asking me about it! The only thing I didn't do was raise some sponsors for charity but I'm going to make up for that tenfold next time.
W.A.R. was fantastic! Keep up the great work.