My story

I had a healthy enough childhood, with the only known issues being hayfever, which I would get pretty bad every spring (in Sydney). I played a range of sports but nothing too seriously, and cruised through my twenties with my health all fine.  Like millions of others, I ended up working in an office based occupation, and then married and I guess 'settled down'.  Within a couple of years, my weight went up quite a few kilos, as I took advantage of my wife's good cooking (and victuals provided by her Italian parents as well...) plus the growing effects of spending most of each day seated.

In my mid thirties, I moved the family to Canberra to take advantage of better job opportunities there (yes, a public servant).  We moved there in summer, which was wonderfully hot without the humidity of Sydney.  Autumn was perfect.....then winter hit.  Ouch was that first winter cold.  We got through that through buying lots of warm clothing and cranking up the unit's heating, and then came spring.  And my hayfever went through the roof. Awful, awful, awful.  Mega sneezing fits, eyes I could scratch out, immune system running amok.  Some days I just could not work it was that bad.

Then it got worse.  One night, I woke up gasping for air.  OK, not quite gasping, but wheezing really badly.  So bad I had to eventually get dressed and drive over to the nearby 24 hour medical clinic.  The doctor examined me and confirmed very constricted airways and said that I had probably developed late-onset asthma.  She prescribed the usual preventive and reliever medication (via 'puffers') and sent me home.  The next night, the wheezing came on, but the reliever did not relieve.  Back to the same doctor at 2am, who prescribed stronger treatment, via a nebuliser and facemask.  I found this worked and let me sleep halfway through the night if I spent an hour on it before going to bed and again at 3am or so.  Not much fun at all.

Then we moved house.  I lined up three friends to help move (yes, self move), all of whom begged off on the day.  Terrific.  My wife had the newborn to look after, so I had to do all the loading, driving and unloading myself.  My wheezing increased through the day, in response to which I just thought I would take more puffer at the end of it all.  Wrong.  I got to the end of it all and made it back to our new house and could barely stand.  My wife called my brother, who came and took me to emergency.  They took one look at me and took me straight behind for urgent treatment.  The registrar hooked me up to steroid drip and then stood watching the meter monitoring oxygen levels in my blood.  He looked really anxious and I could tell he was thinking 'great, I'm gonna lose one on my shift - not fair!!' I wondered if my time was up.

Clearly, it wasn't.  The levels slowly rose, and I spent four days recovering in a normal ward bed.  The registrar came to visit and confirmed what I thought, and said the level was at a low enough level that most do not come out of.

That scared me into action.  I went back to my gp and asked what I could do to alleviate my asthma (yes, you still often have to ask!).  She said swimming might help, so that's what I did, and it did help.  Then I though perhaps riding a bicycle to work and back might also help, so started doing that.  Slowly, my breathing improved, with the wheezing only returning in spring, with hayfever. 

Our house was around 16 kilometres from work, with some chunky hills.  Doing those 32k's a day five days a week over a few years got me very fit - and developed chunky quads to beat those hills with even!  I felt great.  And so my addiction to health and fitness began.

I began playing badminton once a week, then twice a week when I got better.  Quite high level badminton - which is an extremely high cardio sport.   I took up a past hobby/sport from my adolescence - dirt bike riding.  Then, to support that, I got into high intensity interval training to develop my cardio capacity (to survive motocross racing!!).  And finally, I introduced resistance training to ensure I had to physical strength I needed to make the most of all these activities.  And finally, to complement all this, I developed a passion researching (and, of course, experimenting with) optimal nutrition and diet, and lifestyle maintenance (meditation - the unsung hero in the mix).