An “unhappy appearance” that led to a million skips in 207 days

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By Avenash Ramzan

There is a general concept that the first step to fixing a problem is actually admitting there is one.

For Adam Alves, embracing that mantra has borne fruits after he had somehow lost the plot September last when he embarked on a vacation.

By the end of the year, he was completely immersed in all the fine dining, alcoholic beverages, liming and frolic that usually come with the Christmas season.

“It just went downhill,” he told News Room Sport. “…pretty much a free for all, coupled with no physical activity.”

“Unhappy with my appearance”

Alves, a former national junior lawn tennis and table tennis player, had also started playing squash, but by the time that vacation came around, there were less frequent visits to the court.

“I’ve struggled with my weight for the majority of my adult life. I lose some, then I gain and the vicious cycle repeats itself. Over the second half of last year, my weight started to go up once again and especially during the Christmas season I had put on a lot of weight,” he reflected.

“I had refused to go on a scale for the longest while, but when I did just before the new year I was the heaviest I’ve been in a decade. I decided enough was enough, my clothes were becoming tight (some I couldn’t even fit into anymore) and I was generally unhappy with my appearance.”

Being disgusted by what he saw in the mirror, the 31-year-old opted to reach for his skipping rope, found a corner in the yard and started skipping on January 1, 2020.

But, there was a target, and it was a huge, almost bizarre undertaking, given his struggles with fitness over the preceding months. Alves’ aim was to clock one million skips within a certain timeframe.

“I wanted to set myself a long-term, but achievable goal. I decided on skipping because I could skip reasonably well and I could do it right at home any time of day. When I set out to do the million, I initially planned on doing 3,000 skips a day for 333 days, while taking a few days break in between,” he related.

“On day one, I did my 3,000 in 40 minutes. I continued skipping for 40 minutes throughout the journey. I continued to get better, I made less mistakes and eventually began doing more skips within the 40 minutes. I even made a spreadsheet to track my progress. Also, with COVID-19, I was lucky that I had started an exercise routine that I could do while being quarantined.”

Adam Alves kept track of his progress on a daily basis

Motivated by results

There were some days during the weeks and months that ensued that Alves just wanted to retire to bed after a hard day’s work. However, “my commitment to what I wanted to achieve kept me going.”

“I began to see results- clothes started fitting better and I started to lose some weight. That definitely encouraged me to continue. I also stated what my goal was on social media and started posting videos of me skipping daily. So I used that as a method of accountability,” Alves stated.

On July 25, 2020, Alves achieved the million milestone in a stunning 207 days, a whopping 126 days less than what he had planned. That meant he was doing an average of 4,830 skips per day, 1,830 more than what he initially set out to do.

Moments after the crossing the mark, Alves, who lost about 30lbs during the process, posted on social media: “The journey is not over, but I’m happy to close this chapter of my fitness journey. If I can achieve this, then you all can achieve anything! Just put your head down and stay committed.”

A sense of pride

“The last week was a major struggle for me. I think it’s because I saw the finish line, but couldn’t get there in one jump. I didn’t think I did anything special, but when people tell me that they were inspired and motivated to start working out it definitely gives me a sense of pride,” Alves noted, adding that he was relieved to reach the mark.

Alves said persons who face a similar situation as he did during the latter half of 2019 should “set attainable and realistic goals” in their fitness pursuits, and also place emphasis on a proper diet.

“The worst thing you can do is set a lofty target and discourage yourself after day one. The hardest thing to do is start, but once you start and begin seeing results you won’t want to stop,” Alves advised.

“Do not try to be better than anybody else. Just try to be better than you were yesterday. And don’t expect results overnight. Real change takes time so work hard and stay consistent. You cannot out-exercise a bad diet. A healthy diet is just as important or even more important than exercise.”

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