Darren from Pendle

31 May 2016


Darren Shaw has gone from being warned his health was so poor he could suffer a heart attack to completing an Ironman competition with the help of the Healthy Lifestyles Team to get him started. 

During a visit to the GP for a health check after not feeling too well, Darren had a series of health checks and was found to be in the red for all of his results, including high cholesterol, high body fat and poor general health.  This was a shock to Darren as he regularly rode his mountain bike at weekends and thought his lifestyle was ok.  The prognosis was that he would have to go onto medication to control his cholesterol and stood a high chance of becoming a diabetic. 

Darren who was only 42 was shocked and came away wondering what to do.  He then came to the Healthy Lifestyle Team and his lifestyle, nutrition, physical activity levels and general health was assessed.  The team agreed that he was at the point of no return and immediate action was needed to get Darren fit and healthy.  A 12 week plan was drawn up to help Darren loose on average 2lbs a week.  This included a workbook to keep a record of both physical activity and diet and included helpful challenges and information to be done during the 12 week course of action.  

When Darren first started with his physical activity sessions he could only walk 3km in around 30 mins and found this very hard.  The initial workouts were just walks and easy exercises like core stability work.  When Darren was doing his Mountain biking he used to struggle along at the back and found the up hills and longer rides hard work and would not recover from these, feeling very tired.  He now finds himself been able to ride with the group up front and be able to up the gears and push the pace on feeling great and recovering quickly after a hard hill climb.   

One of the big challenges for Darren was to change his poor diet.  This meant that he needed help from the team with his diet and plan what he was going to eat prior to doing any training.  Some days going training straight from work was hard, but when he got there the exercise was easy and often he found the days he least felt like training became some of his best sessions.  He also found that when training became part of his daily routine, it was a lot easier to achieve.  

Darren said:

“After a long day at work and feeling tired the secret is not just to go home, you have to make it part of your daily routine not an extra.  Do not go home as you will not get to the gym if you do and you will then start on the downward cycle again.  Make it fit. If you want to do it you will make time or if you can’t really be bothered you will find loads of excuses not to go and will fail or not do it.” 

A year after starting on his journey with the Healthy Lifestyles Team, Darren completed his first sprint triathlon and has gone on to complete more triathlons, open water races, cycle sportives, half marathons as well as training regularly four times a week. 

Four years after first coming to the Healthy Lifestyles Team, Darren has just completed the Barcelona Ironman.  This involves a 2.4 mile sea swim, 112 mile bike race, and 26.2 mile run.  Darren completed this amazing feat in 12 hours and 22 minutes.  He has also lost three stone in weight, lowered his cholesterol levels and body fat percentage, and has a healthy BMI of 25.  If your doctor has warned you that you have high cholesterol or blood pressure and are in poor general health, the Healthy Lifestyles Team can help you to make the changes you need to improve your health.