I'm Proof That One Small Step Can Lead to Big, Tall Things
By guest author David Garcia
In fall 2010, I was in the middle of something big … and becoming smaller in the process.
I had lost over 100 pounds and was on my way to ultimately losing 160. That's when I started eyeballing the stepmill at the gym — you know, those machines that look like mini-escalators. I knew they burned a lot of calories and provided an excellent workout, but they intimidated me. One day, I confronted my fear and challenged myself to five minutes climbing stairs. My life hasn't been the same since.
Over time, five minutes grew to six minutes, then eight, ten, fifteen. I started recording the number of stories I climbed, and when I got home, I'd use the Internet to find a skyscraper of equivalent height. I was motivated by seeing these soaring buildings, so I pushed myself. I wondered, "Could I climb the equivalent of the tallest building in Los Angeles? How about the tallest in the country? The world?"
I don't remember how I heard about my first stair climb race, but I knew I had to do it. After months of climbing hypothetical buildings at the gym, I had the chance to race up a stairwell in an actual skyscraper. The thought was both terrifying and exhilarating.
My first race was in early 2012, in a 63-story Los Angeles tower. The finish line was on the roof. My heart was pounding out of my chest when I crossed it, but when I saw the world below me, and realized that my own legs brought me there … Well, it was a feeling unlike any I had ever felt … and I couldn't wait to feel it again.
Now I'm hooked on stair racing. I've done about sixteen races in six different cities. I've joined an awesome, supportive team called "West Coast Labels." I've sprinted up a 32-story building in 5 minutes, 32 seconds, and made it to the roof of a 75-story building in 18.5 minutes. I also share photos and recaps from each race on my health, weight loss and fitness blog, www.keepitupdavid.com.
Ultimately, what I'm most proud of is that I've kept off the 160 pounds I've lost, and stair racing is a huge reason why. These races help me stay focused and challenged, and keep me on track with my health and fitness goals. They give me something to look forward to and something to celebrate.
I've recently become the proud owner of a BowFlex Max Trainer® M5. It's a fantastic machine that engages all my climbing muscles. Do you know what was going through my mind the very first time I used it? This too could be the start of something BIG.
When people ask me how to lose and keep off weight, one thing I tell them is to stay open-minded. Try new things, whether it's foods, sports or activities. You never know when, or in what form, inspiration will strike.
I never set out to be a nationally ranked stair climber, but I am. I never imagined that I'd become so invested in a new sport in my mid-30s, but it happened. All because I took that first step on a stepmill.
What first steps can you take this week?
About David Garcia:
David Garcia has lost and kept off 160 pounds, and is the Los Angeles-based blogger behind www.keepitupdavid.com, where he shares his struggles, successes and everything in between. You may have seen him on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "The Doctors," "Home & Family," on AOL.com's homepage, or in newspapers across Canada.