Aspire’s 21-Day Challenge- Challenger Spotlight: Russell Hally
Never judge a book by its cover.
It never ceases to amaze me what the human body is capable of when you have the right mindset. Russell is the perfect example of this.
July’s 21-Day Challenge was one of the best I’ve been a part of. The amount of camaraderie and can-do attitude inspired me to begin my own 12-week transformation. Hey, even us “fit guys” slack on occasion. Russell was the epitome of what this challenge is about; A strong will and an attitude to try something new.
Russell was kind enough to share his experience with us and his own personal write-up is below
Safety is always #1! In group training sessions we encourage participants to push themselves but not beyond what they are physically capable of. We always offer modifications to exercises if the original is too advanced to perform safely.
Unfortunately, with novel exercises such as tire flips the temptation can be too great to resist. While we do our best to encourage modifications injuries can and do happen on the rare occasion. We do everything we can to minimize these events, but it’s impossible to prevent all. The participants assume all risks when performing any and all exercise.
When these events happen the most important thing you can do is let the muscle recover before continuing your exercise program. Ok, that’s all. ;)
Russell’s narrative for the 21-Day Challenge
I am 64 years old soon to be 65 in November of this year. I have always been interested in fitness, and normally lift weights 4 times a week on Monday, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Yet since recently returning to Bangkok in March I have succumbed to Bangkok’s dessert culture, eating various cakes and Bingsoo concoctions with my coffee, and found my weight at an all time high of 83 kg. Six months previously I had been around 75kg.
I knew the solution, a better diet. But the progression would be a month to wean myself off sugar, then another 2-3 months of counting calories and closing down my eating window to 6-8 hours a day (IF or intermittent fasting). I became aware of the 21-day challenge from a travel blog written by Johnny Ward. He is a young Irishman who has managed to visit 194 of 197 countries by age 32. Surprisingly he lives in Bangkok and recommended the 21-day program (with before and after photos) as a way to fight the ill effects of not being able to control one’s diet while traveling abroad.
With Johnny’s carpe diem message resonating in my head and my own desire to drop the weight, I enrolled in the course which happened to be starting in 3 days time. I liked the structure and camaraderie of the group exercise courses and was keen to give it my best. The workouts were tough but the coaching was top notch. They really know how to push you to your limits and get a little more out of you. That being said, they always offer modifications to make sure you do the exercises without hurting yourself.
Unfortunately, on day 2 I still managed to suffer a slight back strain. It was while I was doing the tire flipping exercise on the gym roof. Under the guidance of the coach I took a couple days off and fortunately I was able to resume the fray on Monday of week 2, having missed a few days of workouts. During this downtime, I adhered to my diet.
The workouts for the next two weeks were brutal. I knew I could complete the course if my 64-year-old body held up. I was able to shake off the aches and pains. The prison yard vibe of the rooftop workouts were amoung the hardest but also the most popular. The workouts exposed many of my core weaknesses, but in the end, it’s like they say “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. My body held.
I went from 82.8 to 75.5 kg (-7.3kg) but more importantly I feel a new found core strength. But there is work to do, which is why sustainability is so important. Getting fit takes work for sure, but it’s worth it because it’s paying dividends 24/7, so you want to get even fitter and get even bigger dividends. With that in mind, I intend to expand the experiment for another two months and then reevaluate. During this time the most important thing will be to adhere to a sensible diet.
Russell was an unstoppable machine during these 21-Days. He is the perfect example of the dedication needed to get this kind of result. He was at the club ready to workout 5 minutes before every class. He paid meticulous attention to his nutrition and didn’t hesitate to ask questions or get help with exercises. Here are some more examples of how meticulous Russell was during the 21-Day Challenge.
As a coach, there is one thing you will always see; you get out what you put in. We can give you the tools, it’s up to you to use them.
I hope this inspires you to stop making excuses. Even at the age of 64 Russell doesn’t let anything stop him. Great job Russell, you’re an inspiration!
Thanks for reading. Have a good one.