10 Jul, 2015

The experience of a lifetime.. And the photos to prove it!

David Richards

Returning from a 2 week holiday last week in Western Australia I can honestly say that I had the experience of a lifetime and it really helped clarify to myself why I train the way I do.

I have always lifted weights yet also felt the need to keep a strong cardiovascular system.  In the MP (Metabolic Precision) world we talk about 3 key training styles in FIRE (Focused Intense Resistance Exercise), ICE (Intense Cardio Exercise) & LIA (Less Intense Activities) training.  Depending on my training goals and whether they be sport, performance or body transformation based at any specific time will determine how much I focus on either one of these at any given time and it is important to remember that each one of these has their own unique benefits for different people and situations.

I find that training a balance of FIRE, ICE & LIA gives me the energy and ability to take on almost any sport or activity I choose and that is super important to me personally.  I enjoy living an active lifestyle and as well as staying lean, strong and healthy I hope that as I approach my forties, fifties and sixties that I can continue to run, jump, swim, surf, cycle or snowboard whenever and wherever I feel like it in the future for as long as possible.

I know a lot of body builders and physique competitors who do not believe in cardiovascular or high intensity interval training for the fear of burning into hard earned muscle gains and potentially restricting performance in their weight training programs which is totally fine if competing on stage is your #1 goal.  However my experiences 2 weeks ago helped confirm why I try and maintain a well balanced program that helps me to achieve the most out of life, and to think of the bigger picture outside the weight room.

"GO, GO, GO..." yelled the boat crew as 10 of us unsuspecting tourists jumped into the middle of the deep blue Indian Ocean just off the Ningaloo Coast in Western Australia.   There was a 9 metre whale shark swimming our way and we had to act quick quickly!  Apparently 1 in 3,000,000 people will ever have the opportunity to swim with a whale shark in the wild, we had just found a 9 metre monster and I didn't want to miss out on this opportunity.

Everybody who jumped into the water caught a glimpse of the majestic beast as he cruised past us but over the next few minutes of trying to swim with him people slowly one by one starting getting tired from the swimming, intense flipper kicking and had to stop to catch their breath.  I had the opportunity of swimming approximately 3-4 metres to the side of this amazing 9 metre whale shark for 2-3 minutes (even stopping for a quick whale shark selfie) before he decided to dive out of sight to the depths of the ocean.

I was in shock and complete awe over what I had just experienced but also a little relieved that I had the chance to catch my breath as my heart by this stage was almost beating out of my wetsuit and my thighs were completely spent from kicking as hard as I could to keep up.   I stopped swimming to take a breath once the shark disappeared out of sight and noticed that the rest of the group had stopped swimming about 50 metres behind me and I was by myself.  The only person ahead of me by about 20 metres at this stage was the dive master from the boat and I started wondering why she was still swimming?

All of a sudden I felt like a client in the middle of an ICE training session when the dive master yelled at me from 20 metres away, "HURRY UP,  he is resurfacing!" Not knowing whether I would have this opportunity again in my life I kicked my exhausted legs with everything I could muster.  That next 60-90 seconds of 100% effort allowed me to slowly catch up and got me to a position where I was able to witness this amazing creature appear out of the deep blue below me and watch him resurface right in front of me.  This gave me the opportunity to swim about 3-4 metres directly behind his gigantic, powerful tail for the next 1-2 minutes as he cruised along directly in front of me.  It was an experience I will never forget and I am certainly glad I had 2 GoPro cameras on me at the time to catch this on video and photo.  If it wasn't for all of those high intensity ICE training sessions I am almost certain I would have missed out on this experience of a lifetime.  

If you are ever feeling frustrated because you are not seeing changes happen fast enough in the mirror sometimes you just have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture because there is a lot more to life than what the mirror/scales tell you and when you are taking good care of your health and body you might discover rewards in ways you never expected.  :)


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