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  • Writer's picturePaul Gray


Personal blog of an unfit and overweight physio!

Christmas 2019 – weight 15st 6lbs (98kg) BMI 30.2

I have always loved Christmas, and hopefully always will, food, drink and family!  However, this last Christmas I pushed my weight into the obese category.  Everybody I spoke to was shocked, “but you're not obese” they would say politely.  Well facts speak volumes, I am(was).  Initially I used it as a badge of honour, putting on ½ a stone over Christmas was such a good thing.  But was it?

I have never been super fit/athletic.  I work with people who are.  Ultramarathon runners, Ironmen/women, CrossFit athletes and others.  I have been in the gym with them and realised how little I can do.  As a physio I know the exercises and have done them, sort of.  However, I tell people to do them more.  Every day I tell people that exercise is good, you need to get strong, being overweight isn't good for your joints, knees etc.  The things we have heard from health professionals before.  Except now, I had my voice telling me that!  

In March 2019, I was lucky enough to go to Prague with Rocktape, to their European conference.  When I was there, I leant loads, however it was when I was in the gym, I really seen the problems.  Rocktape seems to have every athlete as their instructors, ultramarathon runners, Pilates instructors, CrossFit athletes, Instagram stars and more, I think I was closer to competing as a Sumo than anything else!  This was the first of my wake-up calls.

I came back and was thinking, I need to do something.  But like so many others, those thoughts quickly evaporated.  Beer, cake and BBQ all consumed my summer and I took to my gentle go to exercise of running.  In the past I have been able to run the Illuminator 15mile cross county run.  For anyone in the North East of Scotland this is an amazing run.  15 miles, at night in October over amazing scenery, all lit up by fellow runners and walkers.  I even managed a not too shabby time of 3hrs and 30 mins.  For me that was quite an achievement.  I have done 10Ks and could run a 10K in around an hour with not much training.

For anyone who has had the dubious pleasure of being treated by me, you will know, many injuries are the result of doing too much too quickly after doing too little.  I have had my issues in the past with feet, knees and hips, and again the pain came back, some niggling foot and hip pains.  So again, the running stopped.

October 2019 allowed me to develop my private business, I opened in Energie Fitness.  This was an amazing opportunity, my own personal business in the place I want to work.  I can get people into the gym and get THEM, lifting heavy stuff and getting fitter.  But, how can I encourage patients to do something I cannot.

As a busy dad, I work in the NHS full time, I have a private business I do approx. 8-10 hours per week, I occasionally teach and then I have to get my family to put up with me!  I never had time. So, I por myself into my new business, exercise goes even further down the priority list.  Weekends are busy and I am too tired and lazy to do anything.  Now we get to Christmas, my most recent wake up call.  

Just after Christmas I said to myself, I want to be able to do some push-ups, I need to be fitter.  What a crazy goal eh!  Some people want to run a marathon, some cycle 100 miles, me I want to be competent to do some decent push ups.  This is always something I have struggled with.  My leg strength through playing cricket has been ok, arm strength of a T-Rex.  Any push ups I have done in the past have been poor quality and wide arm.  So I start small, girly (knee) push ups in the privacy of my own living room in the evenings.  Not many but a start.

I start going to the gym, slowly and on the things, I am familiar with at first.  The treadmill, the bike, light dumbbells, nothing too much.  Slowly I start to enjoy it.  Weight reduces and I can do a bit more without looking like I’m passing out!  Its around this time, while I am on the bike, I start watching TED talks.  A great way to spend 15 minutes.  On it there is a great TED talk on exercise.  The speaker is Ogie Shaw, (, and he talks brilliantly on the mental battle of fitness.  This struck a bit of a chord with me.  Small changes and done regularly reap benefits.  Strange I know, I have only said this to my patients for the last 18yrs!  

Where am I at now, well lockdown in Covid ha

s certainly disrupted my training.  Before lockdown I have achieved a PB in deadlift and squat, 130kg and 85kg.  Not much, but for me, a real achievement.  Just ask my wife, I come home on a Saturday morning after my heavy session and tell her how much I have lifted, is she impressed?  Inside I am sure she is, but she hides it so well! So what have I had to do?  Fitness tracker apps are everywhere; however I have never really stuck with one till now.  MyZone has worked well for me, constant monitoring of HR and what range you are in.  A monthly goal of how much to do, nice easy interface.  All just seems to click, for me!  At home I have some light weights, unable to get more than 45kg.  Also 2,

8kg kettlebells.  Certainly, nowhere near the amount I was lifting.  However, I have been consistent, to a point.  I have seen my weight come down and my ability go up.  Now able to do 20 push ups, not pretty but proper.  Even with a seriously dodgy wrist.  Also they are getting easier and less intimidating.

I would like this blog to be about me learning to be a bit healthier, some of the reasons behind it and some of the research to back it up.  I hope to encourage some of the people I know who want to be healthier to move more.  Do what you enjoy doing.  If you don’t know what you enjoy, try something, if you don’t like it, do something else, but just move more. In the words of some clever people and the Rocktape moto, Ancora Imparo.  Don’t know what it means, please look it up.

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