The Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back

When I was 10 years of age I achieved black belt status in shotokan karate and was Scottish champion by the age of 13. I did very well as an Air Cadet, winning sports awards and gaining my ‘gliding wings’ by the age of 16.

When I grew up I got selected out of hundreds of applicants to be a RAF PTI, before becoming a Parachute Jumping Instructor and was fortunate to be selected to be a member of the ‘world famous’ RAF Falcons. During my time in the RAF I did some amazing things like kayaking the Ardeche river in France, parachuting into Gloucester RUFC vs Leicester RUFC and skydiving from 25,000ft as part of a mock military patrol.

Now the reason I’m telling you all of this is these are my ‘used to’s’. Everyone has them. What I mean is some people aren’t doing much right now but talk about what they used to do. As a personal trainer, it’s one of the things I listen out for when taking on a new client. It rings a bell in my head for me to ask the question…’Why used to?’

Things change, we start work, we find drink, take aways, the opposite sex, go partying, start a family, get a mortgage…a number of pressures that maybe weren’t there before.

Now back to me and ‘The straw that broke the camel’s back’. I’ve had, and am having a great life, some ups and some downs but it got to one day when I realised I was forgetting about me. I was focussing on being there for my personal training clients and for my girlfriend Kirsty when she was due to give birth to our son Sam. I thought as a father-to-be I had to support Kirsty by also eating the food that she craved like cakes, chocolates, chips etc ;-). That’s my excuse anyway but I had not pushed my body like I ‘used to’ and it was beginning to show.

Ladies and Gentlemen…The Straw…

A client of mine, Sarveen took this photo when ‘The Gorilla Circus’ came to town, posted it on her Facebook page and her caption was “well if my personal trainer can have a little paunch 🙂 ..so can I :))”

Poor Camel…no I didn’t ride it but enough was enough. As a personal trainer, I had become a motivator but that was it…on seeing my reaction to the photo Kirsty said “Practise what you preach” and she was right. As an advert to my personal training business, at that time I certainly wasn’t a good one!

Now I am ashamed of this photo but feel that it needs to be shown so you guys can maybe relate to a photo that you don’t like and will hopefully do something about it!

The story would be great if I then told you that I immediately turned things around but I didn’t. Sam was born within a month of this photo and it wasn’t until nine months later at the 2011 Fisherman’s Friend Strongman Run when something happened that I really started to kick my ass (I’ll talk about this on a blog about the Strongman Run). The cogs were turning by doing a few park runs and when I had run the 2010 Run to the Beat Half Marathon in 1hr 46mins 32 secs (my 2009 time was 1hr 32mins 36secs) another sign that I had gone backwards). Some of you may wish that you could do my 2010 time but for me it was waaaaaay off my PB and to be honest what did I expect?!

Now most people will have a ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ moment and will still do nothing about it, just like me.  However I let it affect me enough, so that when another similar moment came along I did! If you feel a moment that lights the fuse, don’t delay as this is a sign that you should do something about it. A photo, a birthday, a comment from someone you love or even dislike.

Make a change for you, your family, your friends or because you have a life that’s worth living so go and live it to its full potential!!!

Thank you Sarveen for doing me a big favour…

Stuart Amory – #FitTeam12

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Bella says:

    Great post Stu, one that we can all relate to in our own way I’m sure! Thanks for putting it out there!

  2. Mike Hill says:

    Sooo many dodgy photos – put down to “bad angle” or “bad light”…. My straw – creeping back slowly to 16st and those “used to” events being 5+ years ago. Now back to 12.5st and hitting regular mini targets. Aiming for PB at Windsor Half in October. Thanks to you & #fitteam12

  3. cmmercer says:

    Great post Stu, so open and honest. Makes you yet more of an inspiration. You should be so proud of what you have achieved in such a short time with #fitteam12

  4. Shelley Small says:

    Love the blog Stu, My straw was meeting a Chinese friend, who is learning French in the same class as me, in the busy market place. She had been on holiday in China and we hadn’t seen each other for 6 months. After the initial hugs and how are you’s, she tried to tell me that she thought I had put on a bit of weight since the last time we had met, but couldn’ find the words in French, so she blew out her cheeks, eyes rolling and intimated with her hands and body what a state I had become! The rest they say ‘ is history’ I have now dropped 3 dress sizes and am feeling much happier in myself thanks to my friend and #Fitteam12

  5. Great blog, really hits home what I felt 3 years ago. I decided enough was enough and I wasn’t turning 30 feeling fat and frumpy. That was the best part of 4 stone and 4 dress sizes ago. I still have 2 and bit stone to lose, but it’s helped my confidence and I feel better for it. It’s a slow and steady process but has me taking up running (or run/walking) properly at the early part of this year and completing my first 5k race, in Richmond, on my birthday, in minus temperatures!
    I never thought I would enjoy running but i do. It improves my mood and makes me feel strong, fit and ready to face anything. So much so I have agreed to take part in a half marathon with my brother (also losing weight and getting fit) in November. A knee injury has set me back a bit but I know we can do it.

  6. Fantastic post, it certainly shows your only human too.

  7. Andy M says:

    Great post Stu, I’ve found my straw having read this as I’m creeping back to 14st having got down to 12st, I need to find a goal or aim to get myself back on track, any ideas?

  8. Ah yes, the dodgy photo. Cousin’s wedding pics for me. My sister got engaged this week, no way am I going to regret her wedding pictures in the same way!
    Thanks for sharing Stu! 🙂

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