Get­ting Into Gear

Malem Hey­mans took charge of his health by in­vest­ing in a bike and clean­ing up his diet

Men's Health - Belly Off Guide - - JOIN THE BELLY OFF! CLUB -

THE GAIN At 98kg I was a full­blown asth­matic with a so-called learn­ing dis­or­der. It had been a grad­ual de­cline, but I hit rock bot­tom when I re­alised that my eat­ing habits and ir­reg­u­lar ex­er­cise rou­tine af­fected not only my health but my stud­ies too.

THE CHANGE I fin­ished my first year at var­sity fail­ing four sub­jects and drop­ping an­other. I’d passed only half my 10 sub­jects, and had no mo­ti­va­tion, not to men­tion self-es­teem. At the end of that first year, I re­alised that I had to do some­thing about my aca­demic per­for­mance; I wasn’t even think­ing about my health at that time. My first step was to spend more time with my text­books and less time pro­cras­ti­nat­ing. But even af­ter spend­ing much more time study­ing, my re­sults hadn’t im­proved much. And hav­ing spent all that time in­doors, I started itch­ing for quick ways to clear my mind. I started tak­ing daily runs, of 30 to 60 min­utes each, around the hockey field – and it soon be­came clear that these breaks had a re­mark­able im­pact on my abil­ity to con­cen­trate on my course­work.

THE STRAT­EGY Tak­ing these quick ex­er­cise breaks as a men­tal and phys­i­cal re­lease ev­ery day was enough for me (or so I thought at the time). I com­pleted the se­mes­ter suc­cess­fully with­out any poor re­sults. At this point I got hold of a moun­tain bike, which turned my daily breather into a fun ad­ven­ture. The re­sult: I fin­ished my sec­ond se­mes­ter with dis­tinc­tions for each sub­ject.

THE RE­WARD I have more self­dis­ci­pline and mo­ti­va­tion than ever. I have a pos­i­tive out­look on life and my aca­demic re­sults are on an­other level.

THE RE­SULT Ex­er­cise turned me into a healthy per­son, men­tally and phys­i­cally. Not only did I lose 20kg (which was a great bonus) but I also com­pleted my un­der­grad­u­ate stud­ies with a to­tal of 14 dis­tinc­tions. I never dreamt of do­ing a master’s de­gree in so­lar en­ergy, but thanks to a health­ier life­style I was able to grad­u­ate with­out ma­jor prob­lems. My asthma is no longer sports-in­duced and I hardly ever strug­gle with it.

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