Welcome back for another week of Get Constructive and following my recent introduction to diet, I have a special post to share with you. This post is also going to mark the official launch of Get Constructive and a number of online and personal services that will be available to all of you through this site.
This is an exciting time for all of us and there’s no better way to start this than sharing the story of a friend of mine. He’s the good looking rooster in today’s lead-in photo; an earthworks supervisor experienced past his years; a loving father of two; and ultimately one of us- an every day guy making his way in the construction industry that has made some serious changes in his life and stands as an inspiration to all of us.
This is the story of my mate, Eddie Rae.
I first met Eddie while cutting my teeth as a site engineer, stabilising flood-affected highways in regional Queensland in 2012. At the age of 28, he was the youngest of the works supervisors on the contract but having spent more than 10 years driving graders, scrapers, stabilisers and eventually managing work crews; he was wise beyond his years and was well respected across the company.
He was a stocky lad at the time, enjoyed the occasional pub meal and a pint and hadn’t been in the gym regularly since his wedding in 2009. Going back even further, like many children of our generation, Eddie had struggled with his weight as a youngster after being prescribed steroid medication to rebuild multiple collapsed lung episodes as a result of severe asthma.
At this stage, I had just finished a stint in competition martial arts and would make my way to any gym I could find in the local townships. I noticed despite the current routine, Eddie was always up for some banter about training and he told me of the effort he made for his wedding, cutting down to 84kg.
Following the birth of his first child and a stint in Bundaberg, living with a rowdy young stabilising crew that had nightly sticky date pudding cooking competitions and their fair share of big nights, combined with the stresses we all feel in long days working away and stacking up the extra hours to provide for a young family… Ultimately, when it came to any thoughts of health and fitness- Eddie gave up.
Eddie had stacked it on and at 174cm tall, he was sitting at just over 100kgs. When his second child arrived, a beautiful baby girl, Eddie’s wife came up with the idea of both of them doing a 6-week challenge through a personal training business she was affiliated with.
It seemed impossible. The big fella couldn’t run more than 50m without pulling up for a breather and for his initial fitness test he had to complete a circuit including a run up 104 stairs in which he logged a time of 21 minutes.
He was at the toughest part of the challenge- the start… the first step up the mountain. He didn’t want to disappoint his wife so he pushed through the six weeks, not only dropping 12kgs but developing something he never expected – a love for running.
Over the next six months, the training slowly increased to around 5-6 hours or 40-50km of running each week and he started tightening up his daily diet, aiming for around 1500 easy-to-manage calories per day in the form of protein shakes, a couple of serves of fruit, plenty of vegetables and interchanging proteins, usually between tinned salmon and tuna. For nightly meals he ate whatever his lovely wife prepared but made sure it was served on a small sized dinner plate to loosely control portion size. Even when allowing a few cheat meals on weekends, he did his best to keep it within his calorie limit.
Fast forward now six months and he keeps conquering mountains. After a life-changing weight loss of 30kgs the guy looks and feels amazing. He’s set a new record for his stair run at 6:41mins and in the true spirit of Aussie mateship, he dedicated his most recent run to current and past-serving injured, wounded or ill Australian diggers in the 2015 ANZAC Run, running 11.4km in 52:43mins and more than doubling his initial goal for funds raised towards the Mates4Mates foundation.
It’s an inspirational story, one that even pushes me harder. It drives me to sit down an put this into words in the hope it might help you too. Oh, and Eddies next challenge- he has already started training for a half marathon that he hopes to run in 1 hour and 40 minutes.
This is about an every day bloke that builds roads 60 hours a week and with the support of his wife he managed to change not only his appearance and improve his health and fitness; but he changed his entire life situation through some smart choices and serious dedication. Eddie has increased the quality, and more than likely the length of his life to the unmeasurable benefit of his whole family.
All of our journeys are different, we all have our own challenges but I am here to tell you that if Eddie can do it, and you really want it- you can too. So have a read over my recent posts, drop me an email or a line in the comments and let’s Get Constructive!