Then & Now
Then & Now
Prior to January 2013, my life was on the typical and pre-determined track of climbing the career ladder, making money, marriage, mortgage, kids, retiring and it's all over. I, like so many men of my age, suffered from depression and I masked this by drinking far too much and leading a destructive and unhealthy lifestyle.
At this point, I attended a mates wedding where 6 weeks prior, my vest had fit but now, I was unable to button it up. After numerous opportunities given to me by family and close friends to change my lifestyle it took until this precise moment to finally say the words.....enough is enough. I was the fat funny guy at every function but deep down was so insecure and scared about myself, that I struggled to stand in front of a group and talk from the fear of rejection and what they may think of me.
Within the next 5 months I set about a journey that would change my life forever. I lost nearly 30kgs, stopped drinking and started eating a nutritious and healthy diet with no junk or processed food. My entire life, job, relationships, health, sleep and attitude changed as a result. I know the exact moment where it started and I'll never forget it. Through this whole process, I also met a person that not only helped me on my journey, but is the most determined and driven person I've ever known, with her own equally transformative story. She is my biggest supporter and business partner and I admire her drive, determination and never give up attitude. Together, April and I continue to transform our own lives as well as helping others.
My soul aim and purpose in life is simple. To encourage and inspire others to truly live your life everyday, to chase your goals and dreams and to be ultimately the best version of yourself. I literally practice what I preach. I set goals, eat a plant-based diet, very rarely drink alcohol and get up every single day with an aim to be better than yesterday.
I've got some big goals that I will achieve over the next few years and would love for you to join me on the journey.
Here's my motto or formula to the success I've achieved in my life. Although you may think that this relates only to sporting achievement, I believe that every goal should be looked at in this or a similar way.
Both exercise and nutrition form part of the success of any goal. I have a firm belief that with the correct diet and regular exercise your life as a whole will be more fulfilling and as a bonus you'll more than likely live a fair bit longer and achieve more.
When we leave this planet for the last time, for whatever destination you believe you're headed to, you will be determined by a couple of dates on a headstone and a statement. Your life will be summed up in one sentence and the best part about it is that you have from TODAY forward to have an impact on what that statement may be.
The value of a positive mindset can never been underestimated. Let's face it, we've all woken up on various mornings of our life and wondered why we are where we are, or been negative on what the day might bring. Have a goal to limit these negative days and everything else will fall into place. I believe in sending out positive vibes and the universe will return positive experiences naturally. To be positive everyday takes some serious effort, some crystal clear goals, a nutritious diet, exercise and having people around you that support you. All these ingredients go into making your mindset.
If you're engaged in the process of achievement everyday, you will achieve whatever it is you set out to achieve, whether it's achieving a sporting goal, a business goal or a personal goal like being the best parent you can be. Mindset is everything. It sort of comes back to the glass half full/empty principle. How are you going to perform today? There are numerous metaphors to which you can use like the 'lemons to lemonade story' but as corny as some of them are, they all ring true. If you're engaged with a positive mindset you will see the opportunity that life presents you everyday.
I haven't always felt and acted like this and still some days I struggle but if you can identify what your enablers are to having a negative mindset, you can usually also then identify what your enablers are to having a positive mindset. For me, my negative enablers to having a negative mindset are slacking off on my diet, lack of or no exercise, no goals and drinking alcohol excessively. To overcome these thoughts and not have to deal with them, I eat well, exercise most days, set and have goals all the time and don't drink alcohol. Sound simple? Well it actually isn't too hard. I surround myself with a group of people who have similar beliefs and am accountable to a few of them on how I think, act and perform.
Mindset is absolutely everything. I'm a big believer that if you believe you are, you are. It might not be today, tomorrow, next week or next year but at some stage you'll make it. If you think you're a bit stuck where you are, if you hate your job or your life, it's time to change! The best thing to do is change just one thing at a time. For example, if you have a can of energy drink for breakfast, try and stop it by eliminating it for just a day, then a couple of days, then a week. Habits take time to change and at times it can be a slow process. Don't beat yourself up too much if you slip up either. The important thing is only to identify this and get back to the better habit or action as quickly as possible.
Its also important to remember not to try and change things you can't have any effect on. For example, don't ever wait for others to change their views, beliefs or actions before you change yourself. Too often we can be drawn back to a negative mindset by those around us. Move to a different circle and don't spend too much time trying to change the circle that you're in. This can prove to be a pointless process.
Move positively towards your goals and dreams every single day.
My philosophy on goal setting is simple - Set a goal. Write it down. Create a plan. Follow it everyday. Achieve it. Repeat process.
There are no real 'tricks' or secrets to goal setting but i do ensure to follow the below;
Set a goal that is directly related to YOUR values and beliefs - The time should be invested into this valuable area because if you use the values of family, friends or anyone else then put simply, you'll not achieve the goal. It's not yours. It's someone else's goal. If you're desire to achieve the goal is not greater than the desire to do something or indeed anything else, you will do the something or anything else and the goal will be forgotten.
Surround yourself with the people that will help you achieve your goal - Tell others what your goals are. Don't keep them a secret as it can often be beneficial when tougher times arise, that others know how to assist you to get to your ultimate destination. Be careful of spending time and energy with those that don't support your goal. These people will make it difficult for you to achieve. Ensure that those around you will support you through the process.
Enjoy the process - There's no point setting a goal if you're not going to enjoy the steps to get there. An example of this could be if you wanted to be a race car driver. I would imagine that the goal would require you to spend hundreds if not thousands of hours acquiring your driving skills. If you didn't enjoy this process, which could include mental training, physical training and hours upon hours of waiting at a track for a drive, then you'll more than likely never achieve the goal. On the flip side if you genuinely loved every minute hanging around speaking with professional drivers, working on cars and watching thousands of hours of previous racing then you're probably on the right track.
Ensure you know what's involved before you embark - A good solid plan will help motivate you if the goal is for you. I often speak to people who would like to run either a marathon or half marathon. My first question is always are you prepared to spend the time required running to achieve the goal? Depending on where you start there could be up to 6-12 months of training to achieve this. You may run up to 90% of the race distance in training 5-6 times before you actually complete the goal. You will know pretty quickly if the goal is the right one for you or not. Your eyes will either brighten up or glaze over quickly depending on which side of the goal fence you're on. I'll leave it with you to work out which person will achieve the goal.
Visualisation - When I completed my first Ironman triathlon race, I wrote down how the finish line would look, what I'd be wearing, who would be there, how I would feel, how the weather would be and even who would welcome me home. I read this a minimum of once a week for nearly a year prior to the event. I still have the note in my phone. I was amazed at just how close this visualization was to the actual even that unfolded. If you can see it you can do it.
My sport. My love. My passion. My world.
My triathlon life began way back in 2004 when after a cycling trip to France I decided to come home to Australia and tackle the Nepean Triathlon. I guess my first triathlon experience was similar to many people I see today. I rocked up with my bike, my runners and my budgie smugglers. I had no idea. What was a transition? What was a timing chip? Where do I run again? I can honestly say I loved it and thought at the time that this was my new sport. I did a couple more shorter races out at Kurnell that season but I guess I wasn't ready to commit to the sport. Believe it or not in 2004, I was quiet a bit reserved compared to where I am now. I lacked confidence to talk to new people and I didn't have any support from anyone around me to compete or train in the sport. Again, I think this is a common experience of some people and can often be a reason not to continue.
As life went on i'd somewhat forgotten about triathlon. I'd piled on a heap of weight, was partying too much however I constantly thought of this thing called 'Ironman' and even entered once or twice but never got into any sort of shape to tackle what I thought was the ultimate thing in the sport.
In February 2013 I entered my 3rd Ironman. From memory I had made two previous 'entry donations' to Ironman and not attended the event after not committing to a structured training plan. This time was different. I was different. My mind had completely changed. I was starting to lose weight from my peak at 110kgs and I was totally committed to this goal.
I went through 2013 losing weight and completing 5 sprints races, one Olympic distance event and 3 half ironman events. It was a big year!!
On the 23rd of March 2014 I lined up on the start line of Ironman Melbourne and realised what I had already achieved more than anything previously in my life. 12 hours and 22 minutes later that achievement would become my second biggest achievement as I realised a dream id harbored for many years. I heard those words and I'll never forget it...'GREG MCDERMOTT YOU ARE AN IRONMAN'.
Far from this moment being the ultimate for me in the sport it was only the beginning of what will be a lifelong love for the sport. I went onto complete Ironman Cairns 10 weeks later and finished off 2014 with a stack of medals from triathlon and even qualified for the 2015 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Austria.
In August 2015 I lined up on the start line with the very best athletes in the world and completed my first ever World Championship event. Then my goals got even bigger. I completed Ultraman Australia 2016 in Noosa in May 2016 which was an ultra distance triathlon covering 520kms over 3 days. One of the hardest races of my life without a doubt.
Most recently I completed a lap of Australia on my push bike covering 14,284kms, averaging 180km daily and completed this monumental challenge over 78 days non-stop. Read more.
Not only is the sport of triathlon amazing but the people I've met through it have been nothing short of remarkable. The support, friendship and motivation I get from the triathlon community on a daily basis is unbelievable. The Hills Triathlon Club is one of the best organisations I've been involved with so can't wait for my triathlon life to continue to grow and flourish.
Diet and nutrition are one of the biggest parts of leading a full and healthy life free of chronic disease and full of fun, achievement and success.
If you had asked me when I was 25 what part nutrition played in a healthy life I would've told you that it didn't really matter and as long as you exercise and keep a healthy weight then you'll be fine. Thankfully I've somewhat matured from this view.
When both training for and competing in endurance events, nutrition is a critical part for not only my performance but recovery. Great nutrition will limit injury and this will ultimately improve performance as time on the massage table or sideline will get you no where fast.
Although I relate nutrition to endurance sport as this is what I'm involved in, the same ethos can be used for everyday life. A diet full of vitamins and minerals through a variety of wholefoods will not only keep you away from the doctors surgery but will allow your body to perform at its peak on a daily basis.
What do I eat?
I eat a wholefood plant-based diet. This means I eat all real foods except those which are from or are produced by an animal. Throughout my journey over the past few years I have researched diet and nutrition extensively and discovered that there was a much healthier, compassionate and environmentally sustainable way to eat than the traditional western diet. Yes, this sounds controversial at times, however, my belief that we should leave the planet simply in a better or equivalent state to where we found it, could not fit with consuming and using animal products. I also hold a firm belief that my body recovers better and performs better without meat and diary products in my diet.
I hope to encourage as many people as possible to research their own food choices as opposed to believing the marketing of big food companies and government organisations. We live in an awesome time where this information is so readily available and so there is no longer an excuse not to know all the information before making a decision about yours and indeed your families dietary and nutritional choices.