My Weighted Vest Experiment

Not many people realise that as a kid, I was a chubby little boy. Although it didn’t stop me getting involved in sports, the other challenges that come with being overweight, like self-image issues, emotional bullying etc. definitely were there. After trying all the diets I could find, I finally got some good advice and started to lose the weight. But no matter how much weight you lose, the memory of how it feels always stays with you.

As you can imagine, I work with a lot of people who are carrying excess weight, and some people are carrying a lot heavier than I was. As I mentioned, the excess weight never comes alone, it always comes with and physical challenges that are hard to understand if never experienced.

So to try and understand these challenges a little better, last year I undertook an experiment where I wore a 10kg (approx. 1 ½ stone) weighted vest for two weeks, not just in my workouts but throughout the day. The results were very interesting. Here is what I found and what some takeaway points which could help us all:

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1) The first and obvious thing I found, all movement was a lot harder work. I had to take into consideration movements that I never thought about before, like getting out of the car, going up the stairs.

2) After a few hours my knee and back started to ache

3) One thing I didn’t foresee happening was that I initially kept losing my balance. Especially when doing simple things like bending down to pick something up from the floor

4) Due to the excess weight, midway through the afternoon I started to feel a lot more tired. A result of this, I started looking for more stimulants like coffee and sugar.

5) I tried to wear clothes on top of the vest to make it look as realistic as possible, and I must admit I became a lot more sensitive of what others thought. Of course the real feelings couldn’t be truly replicated and dealing with those is more than we can touch on in this article, but it was a great insight.

Takeaway points:

* As soon as I took the vest off, the feelings of lightness, mobility and energy were tremendous and really inspired me to carry on encouraging others (and you!) to improve their health so they too can experience it.

* I got used to it. After wearing it for a few days, it’s very easy to forget the extra weight is there and accept the feelings of lethargy and pain. It is all too easy to accept lower standards, thinking “it’s not so bad”. NEVER DO THIS, every now and again list the standards you want for your life and keep working towards them.

* Moving your body is essential to improving health and simply feeling better. But with many people finding places like the gym intimidating, don’t be afraid to discover ways of movement that you enjoy and don’t hurt. Walking, dancing, sport anything! Go for it.

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