My name is Niko. I’m a 35 year-old happily married, shift working, father of two boys. My whole life I have been involved in sport, through high school and my early to mid-twenties I was heavily involved in playing Rugby League and weight training.
Through to my mid-twenties things were going along pretty smoothly, I was healthy, fit, strong and could pretty much eat and drink as much alcohol as I wanted. At the beginning of 2003, while working in a small town called Normanton in north West,Queensland,Australia, disaster struck.
During the afternoon I was playing a game of touch football at the local football field, during the game a young bloke made a break and I gave chase. I couldn’t quite catch him, so just before he got to the try line I decided to make one last effort and dive for him. I vividly remember missing him and landing heavily on my left outstretched arm, next came the pain, excruciating pain. I had actually totally dislocated my left shoulder.
The only ambulance in the town was called and after a wait, came to my assistance. The ambulance then took me to the town hospital, I remember being in a huge amount of pain because my shoulder was still dislocated. As I got taken into the hospital all I could think of was please put my shoulder back in place, thankfully my now wife was by my side.
The next thing I remember was meeting the doctor (the only doctor in town), he then delivered the news that would start 24 hours of pain. The doctor told me that he couldn’t put my shoulder back in place because my shoulder muscle was too bulky! What that meant was I would lie in a hospital bed, dosed up on morphine until the following morning, when the Royal Flying Doctors would arrive and fly me to the nearest major hospital which was Mount Isa Base Hospital.
The next morning I was flown about 600kms to Mount Isa Base Hospital where I was put under anaesthetic and had my shoulder put back in place. This moment in time was the start of a slippery slope health wise.
Upon returning to Normanton I had to have six weeks off work while my shoulder healed in a sling. During that six weeks I continued to eat and drink like I was still active, and my beautiful partner tried to cheer me up, by cooking m all of my favourite foods. After the six weeks I was out of the sling but I continued to be inactive as my shoulder was still in a considerable about of pain.
During mid 2003 my wife and I moved to the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. It was here that I started to catch up with friends, who were astounded at the weight that I had put on. Jarred by some of the comments I joined a local gym. It was the initial health assessment at the gym that put things into perspective. I weighed in at 94kg at 24% body fat at a height of only 178cm or 5’10”.
This was a significant change from the 82kg and 12% body fat that I was prior to injuring my shoulder. So the journey began to get back into shape.
THE WAKE-UP CALL:
After getting these shocking results I immediately went back to what had worked for me before I had injured my shoulder. I started getting stuck into my weights, with a little bit of cardio. I wasn’t concentrating on my nutrition at all, but being only 26 years-old, I managed to shake off most of the fat that I had gained, gained my strength back and put back on a bit of muscle.
However due to ongoing problems I couldn’t get back into playing footy. About 18 months later I ended up having a full shoulder reconstruction to repair the damage. At this time I had a fear that, during my recovery, I would gain all the weight back so I did the unthinkable and put myself on the weight watchers points’ diet.
Having not ever having had to worry about my weight in my life, I was really uneducated as to healthy nutrition. As a result I stuck to the points on the diet; however I was only concerned with the points and not the macro-nutrient breakdown. As a result I didn’t gain any weight, but I actually lost muscle as I was eating no where near enough protein.
After the recovery I returned to playing football, which was great. I managed to keep myself in shape through football training and weight training. During 2006 and the age of 29, we moved from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane, as
we were expecting our first child. It was at this time that I stopped playing regular club football as I was just not enjoying it so much anymore.
When we got to Brisbane I joined a local gym, and just concentrated on weight training and a very little bit of running. Also at this time I started sympathy eating with my pregnant wife, consequently I gained a little bit of weight and my pants went up to a size 36 inch.
During 2007 just before my 30th birthday my oldest son was born, this was one of the greatest days of my life. Being parents for the first time, understandably, we both spent a large amount of time our son. During the first few months of his life my gym membership expired and I decided not to renew it, as I was never getting there to the fact that I wanted to spend all of my spare time with my son and wife.
Instead I decided to get a home gym set for my 30th birthday, my theory being that I could save on travel time and therefore spend more time with my family. The decision to buy the home gym set turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made in relation to my fitness.
A NEW BEGINNING:
Here we go, a new start, my motivation was sky high. I got stuck into the weights like there was no tomorrow, I would head down under the house after my son had gone to sleep and lift weights. I didn’t really have a specific program, I was just training the way that I had been taught years ago as young bloke, you know 3 sets of 10 reps for all exercise, training Monday, Wednesday and Friday with the typical body part split, Chest, Shoulders and Triceps, followed by Back and Biceps and finally Legs. Hey it worked for me during my late teens and early twenties; obviously it was a good program.
WRONG!!!! What I didn’t realise was in my late teens and early twenties I could curl a Big Mac to my mouth and it would have had some benefit, due to the insane amount of testosterone flowing through my body.
Now I was on the other side of 30 and what I didn’t know at the time was my testosterone levels had started to drop years earlier. I’m not saying that I wasn’t getting any results; it’s just that my result weren’t matching the effort and intensity that I was putting in.
As an example of how intensely I was training, I remember late one night training legs, earlier in the night we had eaten tacos for dinner, I trained that hard that I ended up throwing up my tacos onto the lawn in the backyard. I can still remember my wife racing to the backstairs, being worried about what was wrong with me. When I told her that I had just thrown up my tacos she just laughed and shook her head while walking away.
It was through this sort of effort that I could see some small changes, but my body fat levels were still a lot higher than what I would have liked and I was not even close to the same body shape that I was prior to injuring my shoulder.
Although a little disappointed I continued to plug away, reminding myself Rome wasn’t built in a day. At around this time we moved house, consequently I set up my gym in the garage of our new house.
After about 12 months was still training with weights, with not much cardio, however my motivation starting to wain. Sick of not getting the results I began to blame my weight training program and the fact that I just recently turned 31. I began to doubt if I could in fact ever get back into shape, given the fact that I had limited spare time on my hands and I was now starting to get a bit older, I began to wonder if my body shape had changed permanently. I even began to wonder if it was worth the effort, it’s not like I was some massive fat unit, I was still in average shape for a bloke my age.
Instead of quitting I made a decision to have a look on the internet to try and find a new program. Well, isn’t the internet a wealth of knowledge, I didn’t just find one program to use, I found about 3000. So after much deliberation I made a fresh start with a new program, the new program would motivate me to train with enthusiasm.
After a period of time my enthusiasm would start to drop as I could not see the results I was hoping for. As a result I would find a new program, hoping this program would be the program I needed to transform my body.
I went through this process about 3 or 4 times when finally at about the end of 2008 I came up with my own 12 weeks week program that fitted into my lifestyle, training with weight 3 times a week for only 35-40min at a time, and 2 short cardio sessions of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which lasted on 20-30mins.
Inspired I got through the 12 weeks, barely missing a session, and noticed incredible strength gains and a massive improvement in my fitness. It was at this point feeling pretty proud I decided to measure my waist for the first time in years. 92cm!!!!!
Why, how, what the hell? My waist was still 92cm, which I felt wasn’t indicative of the 12 weeks of training that I had just put myself through, yes I was stronger and fitter, but as I looked in the mirror I noticed I was still carrying weight around my mid-section. Sure I had added some muscle to my frame, but a lot of it was still hiding under fat.
THE FINAL PIECE OF THE PUZZLE:
Nutrition!!!! As I would learn this is the piece of the puzzle that I was missing. Without this piece the system doesn’t work. This is the discovery that led to me seeing the changes in my body that I had been craving. You hear quotes about nutrition being about 80 or 90% of the equation when it comes to getting in shape. I don’t subscribe to it being that important, I more look at it being an even part of a plan that involves weight training, cardio and nutrition. Sure you can achieve results through concentrating on one component of the plan, but you will never reach your full potential.
My goals are constantly changing as I continue to challenge myself, however fundamentally they revolve around; keeping my body fat levels low, to get stronger and to become fitter.
I feel at present that I am in the best shape of my life, even better than when I was in my early 20’s. I have a lower body fat percentage and am fitter and stronger than ever before.
I put my current results down to the knowledge that I have gained over the years in relation to training and nutrition. This knowledge is the very reason that I started www.noeXcusefitness.com.au. I want to be able to share the knowledge and show you how I practically use this knowledge in my day to day life through blogging all of my training and knowledge in relation to nutrition and supplementation.
Check out my Google Profile as well.