At the age of 23, I was passenger in a car that was involved in an accident. In the incident I broke 3 vertebrae at the top of my back, putting an end to my semi-professional football career.
12 years later, weighing 18 stone (114kg) and suffering with many health issues, including walking with a limp for 2 years due to knee pain, I started on a journey to become more mobile again, driven by the fact that being an upcoming father, I didn’t want to be a fat dad that couldn’t play with my daughter.
A lifestyle change happened - I moved more and ate better, quickly losing 30lbs (13.6kg). I felt good, so in addition to mobility exercises, I started to jog. It was slow and it was for a few minutes at a time but that was the start. Jogging became running and then I plucked up the courage to try Parkrun. 5km was about my limit. I was doing 10km-15km running per week which really was all my body could cope with. Months later, as my weight continued to lower, I entered a half marathon. Training had gone well and so was the race, until mile 12, when I tore my achilles. I hopped the last mile to the finish, I needed to get to that line. I needed to complete this challenge that I’d set myself.
The injury meant I couldn’t run for 5 months. I feared what that meant. Was I about to undo all of my hard work and put on weight again?
My physio suggested that a months rest could be followed by swimming and cycling/spin classes, to keep my fitness. He also suggested joining the local triathlon club as they had coached sessions (as I hadn’t swam or cycled since I was 10). This was the winter of 2016.
During the summer of 2017, I competed in my first super sprint triathlon - the shortest distance triathlon, and loved it. I ended the season with an open water triathlon, winning the Novice category. In the process, I caught Weil's Disease and was again unable to train for a period of time. In October that year, I was diagnosed with an enlarged heart as a side effect of Weil's disease but I was freed to start training again.
This made me look for a coach, to ensure I was training my heart safely. I started training with the highly regarded Richard Goode and within 6 months I had made such improvements that we entered the Team GB age group Duathlon qualifiers - a 10km run - 40km bike - 5km run event. I managed to claim the final slot in the GB age group team for the Duathlon World Championships in Fyn, Denmark just 5 weeks later (note the location and my Instagram name @fat2fyn). Finishing 19th in my age group at the World Championships, as a relative beginner, was the springboard to increasing my focus on training. It was no longer a weight loss hobby.
The increase in training volume meant I had to fuel better and this is where my stomach issues came to the fore. Every time I went "long distance", I either had stomach issues if I had eaten or I "bonked" having not had enough fuel. I avoided all group training, in case of embarrassment. That was until I started using Revvies.
Now I train early mornings on an empty stomach but fuelled by Revvies Energy Strips and electrolytes. This gives me enough fuel to push harder for longer, without concerns about my stomach.
My performances have improved hugely since using Revvies, thanks to being confident in my stomach whilst training and racing. Now I look forward to progressing towards a successful Long Course/Ironman Triathlon future.
By Lee Ross