My name is Sam Ferguson, I am a fitness instructor and personal trainer at gym64 Dunfermline. I consider myself to be a pretty fit person and I am currently training so that one day I can compete in powerlifting but I was not always like this. Up until around the age of 20, I was overweight. In fact I was probably obese. Although I do not know what weight I was exactly (I was too scared to check) I can give some reference points. For example I can tell you that I weigh the same now as I did when I was 14 (around 14 stone) and I estimate that I was at least 17/18 stone at my heaviest. I was quite possibly one of the unhealthiest people ever, I smoked, I drank alcohol regularly and drank irn bru by the bottle.
I get asked a lot about how I lost all the weight, what diet did I use, what training plan did I use? Many people think the answer is the perfect program or the right diet, but the truth is I changed because I stopped trying to look good. When I was overweight I still went to the gym, I used weights and done cardio but I got nowhere. I had no goal, I was doing exercises for the sake of it in the hopes I would one day look good. I can remember the exact moment I changed, I was doing a circuit class and I couldn’t breathe! We were only 4 exercise in and I thought I was going to collapse. I was so embarrassed. Later that day I tried to go for a run thinking maybe I just was having a bad morning, I made it about 400m before I had to stop, again feeling like I couldn’t breathe. I decided enough was enough and that I had to get fitter.
Instead of focusing on how I looked I put all my efforts into being a runner. I started running 4-5 times a week, at first it was more a walk/run kind of plan. Most importantly I set myself a goal, I signed up for 10k. I gave myself 6 months to prepare and I put all my efforts into it. I became obsessed, I was going to run that 10k without having to stop, I started researching what I could do to make me a better runner, I started gradually cutting out irn bru and replacing it with diluting juice. After focusing strictly on my running performance the results were amazing. I gave myself 6 months to run a 10k without stopping, I accomplished this in 2 months (even though it did take well over an hour). I started aiming for better and better times. I eventually completed that 10k in 54 minutes as I picked up an injury half way through but I was still obsessed, I kept running and aiming to be faster and better, I arranged my life around my training, fitting it in no matter what. A year later I ran a 5k in under 18 minute and a 10k in 40.15. I had done better than I ever imagined I would.
I did eventually start weighing myself and at my lightest I was 78kg (roughly 12 stone), I got bored of running and started looking towards weightlifting which I how I got here. The point that I am trying to get across is to focus on performance rather than how you look. If you are obsessed with how you look and you focus all your training to improve it you will never be satisfied, people told me that I had lost so much weight, that I looked amazing but when I looked in the mirror I still saw my imperfections, I still saw the fat kid I used to be. I will always hold the belief that if you are truly fit and strong you will look fit and strong, make yourself powerful and you will feel powerful. Focus on being better not looking better and remember it’s okay to be a little obsessed, the most successful people are.
By Sam Ferguson