By Boris Sarabeev.
It was 2012 in a hot summer day in a local café in Sofia, Bulgaria. A young man, at the age of 25, was looking for…well…the problem was, he didn’t know what he was looking for! It was just a regular time-wasting weekend doing nothing. That lazy man was 125kg heavy, doing no sports, no physical activity and with no work-life balance. The only planned activities in his routine was go to work (or to a coffee) and sit on a chair.
Suddenly, something caught his eye. The image was blurry and chubby. The intense sunlight shining through the coffee’ windows made him move a little bit on the chair so he could focus better. An awful mimic came up on his face. He didn’t like what he saw. It was a rounded human being with a sick-looking face and empty expression in the eyes. The scarier thing came after that – he realized that he was looking his reflection at the mirror. And that was the life-cha nging event of his story.
That guy was me.
I was devastated. My face became even more pale and sick-looking. Even though I was 25, I seemed to be a 35-old man smashed by life (which was not the case). Questions popped-up in my mind – “What am I doing? How I managed to get here? Why do I look so awful?” I was overweight with a lot of good reasons to get healthier and not a lot of good ones to stay the same way.
The next couple of days were days of thinking, of more questioning, and a lot of analysis (that’s the dramatic turn-over and the Rocky theme song started in my head). I cleaned my refrigerator from all the junk food, found my old running shoes, found my old running clothes (well, honestly, they didn’t fit me, so I had to buy new ones) and I decided to start a new life.
Of course, at the beginning it was easy – I was motivated! I quickly lost 5kg and was eating healthy. But as we all know when there are no clear targets, not enough knowledge of how things should happen and no plan, sooner or later we are reaching the dead end. And yes, I know what you are waiting for…. when the Win4Youth thing will pop-up in my story? Well, right-here! At the right moment, at the right place! (another dramatic turn ). Bogdan Stavrev, the 2012 W4Y Ambassador from Bulgaria, stepped into my life as an old master-jedi, teacher, guru…. The core values of W4Y – training smart, incremental changes, trying to help the youngsters, supporting and motivating your colleagues and friends – were the missing pieces in my story. The picture to being active, and being healthy wasn’t just about me, but also about all those around me. From that moment, in that cafe I realized that having a good life-work balance was crucial.
Let me tell you how things have evolved since 2013. I decided to apply for an ambassador spot for the Athens Marathon. That training months were the most demanding, but also the happiest and most meaningful in my life. Thanks to the W4Y, I re-discovered what it means to be an active person, how to face nutrition as a science and to care about my health. I went through a lot of ups and downs – health problems, personal issues and many more.
Still, the process helped me to grow as an individual – I understood the true meaning of persistence, determination and sacrifice. Thanks to the W4Y Program, and the changes in my life after that, I managed to (hold your breath!) lose 40kg and finished all sorts of athletic endurance hurdles which changed my state of mind and significantly expanded my horizon. It’s refreshing to not worry about going for a run with my friends or a hike with colleagues, any many more.
My conclusion? 1) You must work every day for your dreams and goals, but more important than that is that you must work SMART for them. 2) There will always be obstacles, problems, periods when you want to give up. But don’t! 3) Always think bigger and don’t forget about your main goal! Step-by-step, day-by-day you’ll manage to do it.
Just stay “hungry” and set yourself reasonable targets to keep you outside of your comfort zone. 4) Don’t ever forget: you’re always a role model for someone – be it your friends, your family, your kids, your colleagues, or even a stranger that you’ll meet on the street. In the end, you’re not alone and there are many that are there to help you as you will help another.
IF I CAN DO IT, ANYONE CAN!