It’s the little extras that count in weight loss

Scott McDermott was a competitor in the Ultraman World Championships this past weekend. This column was written before he began the race.

On Nov. 29th I jumped in the ocean at 6:30 a.m. for the start of the Ultraman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

What has really struck me so far is the humble nature of the athletes here. One of the first swims I went on with a bunch of other athletes, I was welcomed into the group and we all chatted like old friends.

I asked one lady named Amber if she had done the race here before “Yes, a few times.” That was it. We talked about where she was from and stuff, nothing major. Amber has won the ladies division for the past three years and holds the course record. She also won Ultraman Canada. In fact, she has never been in an Ultraman that she didn’t outright win and she never said a word about it. I have been training with record holders, past winners etc. and they are just ordinary people – nice people, friendly people, and humble people.

So what makes an ordinary person extraordinary then? As I have been training for this race the past year and training for races around the world over the past nine years, I am clear that it is the little extras that, simple as it may sound, turn ordinary into extraordinary.

Every little training session that you did when you didn’t feel like it.

Every good meal choice when other options existed.

When it comes to race day, it really is the little extras that count. My crew and I were here early to make sure we knew where to go, what things to watch out for and to get used the climate and settle in. Knowing in advance what each turn looks like, which each rest area is best, where to get ice during each day, what restaurants are open and good for the crew, when I can hammer the bike and when I need to conserve my energy – all the little extras.

On the double marathon on day three, we talked about my goals for walk breaks. I have seen athletes stop for a one-minute walk every mile. That is 52 minutes. My plan is to walk for 30 seconds every 4 kms, that’s only 10 minutes. It’s the little extra’s right? Maybe the heat will get me and my plan will change, but we have ice, towels, shade hats, three pairs of shoes to change out in the heat and all the extras we can think of. We are looking for extraordinary!

So many people struggle with weight issues and constantly we talk about food choices and how to reach their goal. I had a client once that wasn’t changing weight as I thought he should, so we went over his meal plan again, double checked everything and reinforced the need to be consistent. A month later no change. I was puzzled. “Is this everything you eat and drink on a daily basis?” Finally we figured it out. He stated that he did have a couple of coffees a day. When I asked what he had in them – we knew our problem – two large double, doubles a day. That is 270 calories per drink, 540 calories a day. It’s the little extras.

I have watched people easily shed 100 lbs, and others struggle at dropping 10 lbs. What’s the difference? The little extras. A walk after supper every single night. Water to drink all day, nothing else liquid. Clean food all day and one day a week of eating whatever. Week after week, month after month, from ordinary to extraordinary. It really is that simple.

Getting here to Kona has been that simple too – just a year of little extras. Every time I trained when I didn’t feel like it, or the weather was poor, or I was tired, or whatever. All those little extras add up and tomorrow, we shall see if I can in fact, be extraordinary for a few days, just like all of these other ordinary people.

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.