A Personal Commitment to Change

Easter Sunday marked the official end of the Eight Week Challenge (8WC) run by the Original Bootcamp team.

Inspired by the amazing results achieved by previous participants, a couple of hundred people signed up to change their diet and exercise habits to improve their general wellbeing.

It’s called a challenge for a reason.

Sticking with it takes discipline, commitment and at times, extreme willpower. Over the eight weeks you retrain your body’s dietary demands, eschewing quick fix sugar hits and satiating fats in favour of lean protein and healthy vegetables. Alcoholic beverages were replaced with chocolate flavoured protein shakes and water. After a while you too can be convinced that sparkling water really is champagne for the soul!

This healthy approach is balanced with a regular exercise program of daily workouts delivered via the boot camp sessions or the regular encouragement emails.

All in all, the eight weeks went by very quickly and in hindsight, the rigours of complying with the challenge weren’t that demanding at all.

But the results are quite simply amazing.

Before entering the 8WC I thought I was pretty fit and in reasonable shape. Since then, I have lost nearly two stone (around 13 kg) and improved my strength, speed and stamina. People are getting sick of me proudly stating that I haven’t been this weight and shape since my rowing days in the late 1980s!

Yet my results are far from extraordinary. Many of the participants lost kilos of fat and packed on lean muscle. Some even look good enough to adorn the covers of fitness magazines. In fact, previous participants have actually become fitness models as a result of the 8WC.

While the desire to look or feel better may be the motivating factor for many of the 8WC participants there is a serious lesson to be learned through such a competition.

In a world where obesity and its related ailments are growing epidemics, events like the 8WC prove that change is within all of us and a lifetime of amazing health benefits can be achieved in a very short space of time – by anyone prepared to make the commitment.

It also suggests that the well-meaning calls by nanny state health advocates for governments to legislate against temptation is futile and counterproductive.

Almost every state of the human condition begins with free will and the desire for something. Individuals will then make their choices and some individuals will inevitably make the wrong ones. When it comes to diet and exercise, an occasional poor choice won’t do too much damage, but regularly choosing fast food over fresh will inevitably have long-term consequences.

It’s the same when it comes to saving money or racking up debt, working hard or lazing about, using drugs or maintaining a clear head. Every choice you make has consequences – including some that you won’t like.

Unfortunately in today’s day and age, an increasing number of people expect others to pick up the tab attached to their own poor decisions.

Obesity is met with demands for taxpayers to pay for gastric band surgery. Lack of savings by young people see economically illiterate calls to increase government grants for first home buyers and drug users are too often characterised as victims rather than people who willingly chose a path that can have devastating consequences.

In short, the culture of personal responsibility is rapidly disappearing into the embrace of government accountability. Every chorus demanding the government do more to counter the many social ills afflicting our nation is received by too many parliamentarians as a siren song to re-election.

It’s time we said enough is enough. Government cannot and should not be considered your panacea. Change, restoration and improvement in our personal circumstances is up to each and every one of us.

The myriad of success stories in a diverse array of fields – from people who have achieved amazing things through their own efforts – is testament to that.

If you are in any doubt, look at the achievements of the people who completed the Original Bootcamp 8WC. They should serve as an inspiration to us all.

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