Before I started I would struggle to run for a minute.
Chris Bartlett, 33, is an electrician from Southampton who enjoys the NFL, Formula 1 and watching live bands perform. Chris’s story will resonate with many of us – Previously a keen footballer and surfer, over the last 8 years other commitments have taken priority and Chris has seen his weight gradually increase. With exercise a distant memory and a baby on the way, Chris decided it was time to make a change.
Having discovered he was to become a Dad later this year, it was all the motivation Chris needed to start to become more active again. Commited to being a positive role model to his wife and child, in addition to joining Bitterne Leisure Centre, he signed up for a Free Parklives Couch to 5k running group in Southampton.
Chris found the combination of gym training and running longer distances outside suited him better than just running on a treadmill, which he found gave him shin splints and tightness in his lower legs.
Often when trying to get into exercise, we can overdo it, feel defeated and give up just when we’re getting started. Couch to 5K works because it starts with a mixture of running and walking and in the process gradually builds up your stamina and fitness levels.
To keep you motivated to complete a training programme Chris recommends having an exercise partner who will help you stay on track. “Some weeks I just didn’t feel like going for a run. By being part of a group, and having a running partner, it was much harder to make up an excuse as I felt I’d be letting both the group and my partner down.”
Chris has clearly felt the benefits from becoming more active.
“Before I started I would struggle to run for a minute. Last week I ran for 30 minutes on 3 separate occasions. I feel fitter than I have done in years and definitely have more energy.”
We caught up with Chris on the final week of the Parklives Couch to 5k programme to find out how he felt after completing his first 5k run.
In addition to exercising more, Chris makes a conscious effort to eat more healthily. However, he does admit to finding it difficult to be consistent especially after a long day at work when the temptation to eat ready meals, rather than cook from scratch, is great.
Having successfully completed the Couch to 5k programme, we asked Chris what the future of being active looked like.
“I will still keep running and may even enter a Parkrun. There are also plenty of other activities around that I’d also like to try, so watch this space.”