The ways being fit changed my life and potentially saved others

Snappy title right? But obviously internet hyperbole for views right? Wrong! It’s that time of year where a lot of you are resolving to get fit loose weight and look better in your clothes and bathing suit.  But I know that being fit has allowed me to save at least 2 lives and possibly dozens more but more on that later.

In the meantime being what others would call in shape or at the very least modestly fit lets me do amazing things.  In some ways it always has but its not until recently I started to realize it. And it’s even more recently that I now know why I’m starting to understand why that is.  I have been in decent shape for most of my adult life save for two years in and around 2012 and 2013.  I was consuming too many empty calories and never really straying far from the couch. At the beginning of 2014 I changed that in a big way and I’m back to being in the best shape of my life.  Having lost those 25 pounds its worth noting my BMI never went over 24.5 and I was never overweight.  When I was heavier I never felt right in my skin, I always felt bloated and took gas pills like crazy, I hated how I looked in mirrors, pictures and god forbid naked.  As such I didn’t do much I didn’t want to go out and dress up in nice clothes and everyday I didn’t do something about it I hated myself more.  That lead to eve more TV time and wine just making the whole thing worse.  Plus it was all I could think about I scrutinized every picture of me, I felt my belly shaking against the seat belt every km I drove and blamed everything wrong on my appearance.  I was tiered all the time and ate out constantly since I was too tiered to cook. I passed up so many opportunities to do fun things, I didn’t want to go out socially having nothing I felt good in, shopping was the worst, no I didn’t fancy a swim, no I don’t want you to see me wheezing on a bike and no I don’t want to get out of the house at all thank you very much.

In 2014 I started to eat right and cut out alcohol and I lost 10 pounds in a month I was starting to feel right again and decided to watch my shows on the elliptical I’d hidden in the basement so it would at lest mock me less often.  But that got boring quick so I started running again, that got boring too so I took my old Raleigh Sarrengetti RSX mountain bike in to be serviced for the first time in 7 years and by the time that summer was over I was underweight, had 4 pack abs (is that a thing?), had logged 700 km, most of them in the woods and pulled off my best time ever for a dirty century ride.

Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 1.45.59 PMSince then I’ve moderated a bit and am now back at a BMI of 18.5 from a bit less, but an unseasonably warm december day still calls for dropping everything and hitting the mud. This fall I didn’t com,e DFL (dead f#%king last) in my first triathlon with my 35 lb mountain bike either.  I’m back to practicing yoga regularly including my tuesday nights in the worlds most beautiful studio at least that I’ve seen.  But more than anything now I don’t miss out on anything.  Harbour swim for Canada day on a whim, check, a night out who’s driving and I have just the outfit and sure I’ll do that charity mud run with you since hubby woke up with a cold.  I feel better have more energy (no I’m not on stimulants energy) and no I don’t want to sit down for a minute and relax, thank you very much.

Screen Shot 2015-12-26 at 10.30.39 PM

                   Sail Loft Yoga Studio, The Lodge

So why your still reading right how can being fit lead to saving lives?  well I’ve probably cheated there by increasing my chances.  No not by any nefarious ways I used to be a lifeguard and as such I’ve pulled about 25 struggling or injured swimmers from the water on shift.  Was I ever the only shift on guard, no, were other decent swimmers around who probably could have done the same, yes.  But there are three other cases the time I pulled the 850 Sportsman ATV (quad in some places I think) off Richard when he crashed it in the driveway.  He ended up with a few bad gashes on his face and one hell of a concussion but had I not been in at least 1/4 decent shape at the time I’m not sure I could have without calling for help.  The one time I’m pretty sure it came down to me was probably the time fitness mattered most.  It was later in the evening when the guards were off duty at Queensland Beach when I was taking a walk with Richard’s nieces down the driveway.  We were playing at the water’s edge and learning more about floating and blowing bubbles when I noticed a pre-teen boy was being dragged out in his inflatable boat by a tidal rip current.  When he was about 150 m away I yelled to ask if he needed help.  He was paddling fairly hard but making no progress and he said he was fine.  So we continued our lessons but I kept my eye on the situation. About 5 minuets later he called for help but now he was over 300 m away and being pulled out faster despite his now furious paddling.  There were about 50 other people spread over the 700 m of beach but by this time it was pretty hard to tell he was even out there.  I sat the girls on a rock and told them not to move no matter what and headed out.  The boy sobbed his name to me when asked upon my arrival and as I turned to head back dragging the line the boat and the boy the shore was further away than even I had ever seen it before.  For the first 10 minuets and what felt like an eternity we made little progress even after he had calmed down and resumed paddling. We made it out of the rip and I had defaulted to the breaststroke from an all out crawl  and we were with in 50 m of shore when his dad finally entered the water at a gallop and went under the moment the water was over his head.  I dropped the line raced for the man reaching him within seconds on him going under after what would have been his last gasp.  I dove down retrieving him and placed him in a pia carry and paced him in knee deep water before dragging the boy in the last few feet.  His paddling had paid off at this point and he was only a few stokes behind me.  His dad choked out his thanks between spitting out the salt water he’d swallowed and eventually vomiting.  I tried to explain to him that he should seek medical attention since in his case secondary drowning was a very real concern.

Screen Shot 2015-12-26 at 11.05.26 PM                        Queensland Beach, Nova Scotia

Would some one else present have been able to swim the half mile and fight the rip current, maybe.  Would his dad have evenly found his legs or someone else called for help, very possibly but even still I’m glad I was there.  I’m also glad I was able to preform CPR the one time I needed to until help arrived 20 minutes later.  CPR is notoriously exhausting and the first doing compressions could not continue within a few minuets.  As is usually the case it was unsuccessful but I didn’t have to give up and I have no regrets that I could have done more.  So I guess I’m trying to convey that you never know how being healthy and fit will ultimately change your life or someone else’s.

So my advice is to just change one big thing.  Fix your diet, walk for 30 minutes a day, snack healthy or get to the gym three days a week.  Trying to do it all is a recipe for disaster and once you change one thing the rest will start to fall into place.


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