Like most people, I loved being in my comfort zone. For most of my life, I did what’s required to stay above average, from education to career to relationships to fitness.
A 24-year-old 6’1 foot introvert boy, weighing 245 pounds (113kgs), with a standard East Asian background, who loves food, technology, entertainment, and watching sports while working as a software engineer in wall st.
It all started on a cold evening in march 2017 in one world trade center. In the Banana Republic dressing room!!
Saw a 50% sale sign, got excited to check out what I could find !! As always I went straight to the xl shirts section, saw a great pattern, picked a couple and went to the dressing room, thinking Man, I got some good Deal !! And then this happened. I couldn’t fit in an XL shirt, tried a different shirt, but it’s the same story. I looked into the mirror and asked myself “Where are you going in life yeswanth ?”. I left them there and stepped out making a decision.
“I will come back to the same store in nov for thanksgiving and buy a L size shirt”.
That was my only thought. How? I don’t know!!! What am I going to do? I don’t know! The only thing I was sure about was ‘Why?’. It is not for my mom or my dad or the society. It is for ME. A way to take control over my life.
When you know ‘why’ you are doing this, you will figure out ‘what’ and ‘how’ you could reach your goals.
‘What’ and ‘How’ – I started educating myself, started looking for people who can inspire, motivate and help me. Growth is always in the minority. The 80/20 rule applies everywhere in life. Out of 10 people you know, only 2 will stand out. They do things differently, it’s true for me as well. Of all the people who I know in the office, one brother stood out – his attitude and habits in life and career “Tulasi Bayya”. Unlike most people, he had a positive and active life even after getting married for 5+ years. He plays cricket, goes to the gym, he asked me to come join him and his friend.
Success is always in minority, always strive to be the 20% in your choice of field.
March 2nd 2017 is when I signed up for the gym in Planet fitness for 10$ a month. It took me 4 months to drop to 224 pounds (101kg) from 245 pounds (112kg ). Making small changes in my lifestyle – the food I eat, the people I hang out with and the habits I build. I am not perfect, but I was persistent and consistent. Another 10 months to get to 185pounds that’s a drop of 60 pounds(30kg). Almost after 14 months, I went back to the very same dressing room, found my perfect size , a Medium. Yes, I fit into a M sized shirt , not even L.
Persistence can help you get things but consistency is what lets you keep them.
During this period I went through a lot of ups and downs and frustrations. I thought to myself if it would ever happen. People laughed at me, said I was dreaming, it’s impossible. But I focused on things I could do and the choices I could make. For one, I never followed any diets (say no to diets). I always believed in lifestyle change, there are no shortcuts for life. For anything worthwhile, there is a price you need to pay.
bigger the goal, bigger the price.
During all these periods one thing that kept me at bay and focused is my ‘why’. It’s not just that I want to get fit but I also wanted to surprise my parents. All my life people kept saying step out, be conscious of intake, don’t be lazy. None of these words lasted the journey from ears to heart, my mindset was always ‘why should I ?’ , I am happy like this. They never judged me. They kept loving me for who I am. Parents, that’s what they do. I made my ‘why’ not just personal, but emotional. Something that matters to me. For the next 9 months, I avoided social media, sending pictures, face time calls. My goal was to see happiness in their eyes. Eventually, I changed and became fit. It happened in November 2017.
Make your ‘why’ emotional and personal.
Once I achieved my goal, I observed myself drifting again. When I was fit with abs and developed a lifestyle, I started to go back to my comfort zone. So my mind started exploring for growth, challenges. This is when my colleague, Savas said “my friend build a relationship with nature, you would never step back in the gym”. Guess what? I never ran outdoors in my life. I just had the stamina to run a couple of miles as part of cardio. I signed up for my first 10k trail race in Bear mountain along with Savas.
when the student is ready teacher appears.
During my first 10k race, I met my inspiration in endurance sports – The Ultramarathon man Dean Karnanaez , for the first time through Savas. It’s not a story or theory, but I met a human in his late 50’s, who ran 300+ miles in one go and he’ was running 50miles in the same race where I was excited about a 10km.
In that moment I realized life is all about perspective. If you feel strong, good, fit, wealthy, successful, the question is – What are you comparing it with? If your goal is to grow, learn humility.
life is always about perspective, there is no good and bad.
This point was a major milestone in my fitness journey, where I started falling in love with running. I brought the same principles from my weight loss journey – persistence and consistency. In 17 days, I ran my first half marathon. In 66 days, I ran my first full marathon, which is 26.2miles (42km). I never had friends or family in my life, who were runners or into endurance sports. So I had no reference points or opinions. I went with my gut feeling and personal goals, focusing on improvement. Later I realized 80% of people who train for a half marathon take 18-24weeks!! During this time I realized, I no longer need medals to motivate me to run, did my first 50k Manhattan perimeter run
your mind is your biggest barrier in life, you get what you expect.
By the end of 2018, in less than 8 months, I ran over 1000miles with 10+ marathons and 20+ half marathons. Now I can see myself drifting again. Now what? What’s my next goal? I started looking and the Major 6 came as an answer. It’s not just running, but running with the best in the world. Qualifying for Boston Marathon, running 100miles, becoming an Ironman. This is where I set my goals, a goal that can take 3 to 5 years to even apply or think about qualifying.
A clear goal leads to a clear path to clear steps.
For the next year, my training went on and off. It’s not about the task that’s challenging. It’s always simple – its the life that you need to learn to master. Weight loss is simply about creating a caloric deficit, marathon is about running one step at a time. But the toughest part is handling LIFE, which happens all around. I gained over 25 pounds throughout 6 months, when I got married. But this time it just took 2 months to get back to where I am now. Why? Because it’s a path that I already traveled. I moved fast with confidence.
growth always happens three steps forward and two steps backward
During this phase when I was getting back to my peak performance, I did a self endurance test, a 50miles run (85kms) on Christmas Eve 2019. Now I needed a new purpose to keep me moving forward, and it came through my mentor mission of a charity ride #theepicbikeride. A 1000 mile ride from new york city through Canada to back to USA Michigan Grand Rapids. I wanted to be a part of the journey. Changing goals from personal to bigger causes. Not running for medals, but to raise funds. My challenge was, I never rode a bike in the USA. In fact, I don’t even own one. But I figured it out and started learning about biking and the fundamentals of it.
A goal helps you to do better but growth helps you to become better
So far in 2020, I have reached many milestones. I did my first duathlon half ironman (116km) and 100mile bike ride along with my wife Priya. From not owning a bike to riding 100miles for 8 hours in one go. It took us 6 months. How ? went back to basics – persistence with consistency.
Less than 60 days away from the #theepicbikeride , I am writing this blog. Can’t wait to experience it to the fullest and grow through it. Multi-day ride with people whom I admire and look upto.
To go forward we need to move forward
Current goals: Training for a 100miles race for Aug 1st, 2020 and to be part of the Epic Ride . And I have just started my journey.
Why am I sharing this? I learned from my mentor,
“success is not about you but how many people are better of because of you”
If I can help motivate, inspire or build belief in at-least one person to achieve their goals, I would consider I have done my part.
My Mission #betorchbearer
Be a person who leads or inspires others in working towards a valued goal.
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