GFIT changed our lives! I remember when Lebo first introduced the programme, Dudu and I had just got back to the office after our early morning spinning class in the gym. We were the athletes of the company, and generally did our own thing, we felt that participation in the company’s wellness programmes was for the couch potatoes, the people who struggled with weight issues, never used the stairs if they could possibly get in a lift, etc. We both used to run on a daily basis, and go to gym at least four times a week, but then Dudu discovered mountain biking, and really became a fanatic. I sometimes join her for a Sunday morning ride, but my big goal is still running the Comrades. It’s sort of eluded me for the past few years, though, I’ve been really unlucky with picking up injuries, getting sick etc. But I still want to do it!
So we went along to the meeting Lebo called that day, and heard all about the GFIT programme which would give us profile matched eating and exercise plans. Dudu and I decided to give it a miss, we didn’t need that stuff, we knew how to eat and we exercised more than all the other staff put together. But Lebo urged buy-in from all the staff, and suggested that we complete the paperwork and meet with our coaches, before we decided not to participate. In any case, we were challenging other departments to see who would get the best results, and didn’t want to let the side down, so we completed all the paperwork, and then asked to meet with our coaches.
Well, this was an eye opener for me! Dudu sat in when I had my Skype meeting with Coach Ash, who had seen that my goal was to run the Comrades. He asked me some questions about my current training, my diet, my injuries, and then he said, ‘Great, now we can start preparing for the next Comrades!’ He told me about a client, who was overweight and totally sedentary who, with his help and training, ran the Comrades after training with Ash for just over a year, and managed to get a bronze medal. If he could do it, so could I!
Dudu’s Skype session was with Coach Adrian, a veteran mountain biker whose first question was, “Have you done a stage race yet?” Dudu had always felt that she wasn’t ready to ride for a number of days on the trot, over difficult terrain, but Adrian’s enthusiasm and mine of knowledge and experience convinced her to start working towards it with him. He would give her the strength and conditioning that she needed to improve her endurance and ability to sustain a two or three day ride.
Well, the rest of the story is that we each received a very specialized programme to help us with our training, as well as eating guidelines to ensure that we had enough of the right nutrients to nourish us for sustained exertion, such as required by a long run or stage race. Ash helped me to rehabilitate my injuries, and I am now preparing with great confidence for my first Comrades. I have no doubt that I’m going to succeed. I feel not only fit, but also strong physically and mentally. Dudu has done a two-day stage race, and is trying to talk me into joining her on a three day race in a few months’ time. I think I’ll go along as a spectator!
We both now realise how important sport specific training is for athletes at all levels. You can only do so much by yourself, to really excel you need a coach with the right knowledge and experience. The GFIT coaches fit that description perfectly! They’re the best!