Running for My Life by Ross Oscar Knight

Thursday, April 28, 2011

It was October 18, 2009. I sat alone on a bed at the Ravel Hotel in Long Island City, NY with the room service food I had just ordered. I stood up, lifted my shirt and looked in the mirror. I was embarrassed at what I saw.

1. I was seriously out of shape

2. I was lacking self confidence

3. I was eating unhealthy every day

I immediately called my wife and told her we needed to make a change. We had to take control of our health.

Just two months earlier I had photographed an 11-hr marriage proposal in Washington, DC. I was disguised as a waiter named Spencer. During the shoot I was huffing and puffing climbing up and down the stairs. I had ballooned to almost 190 lbs. My face was round, my stomach was protruding, and I brought my pair of size 36 jeans to wear because they were the only ones that fit comfortably.

After that I had another wake up call. I did an engagement shoot (Robert and Tia) where we had to climb onto the side of a bridge. I posted pictures of me to Facebook in a link titled, “I’ll do anything for my clients.”

What most people don’t know is that I was hanging from the ledge because I did not have the strength to pull myself up on my own. Robert and my former studio manger, Anna Beth, had to help me up the rest of the way.

Although most wedding photographers are active during the actual shooting of a wedding, that does not compensate for the hours of sitting editing and munching on who knows what. I've sat for hours at a time staring at a screen and reaching my hand for whatever carb is closest.

How did I make the change? The first thing I had to do was to get support. I got my wife on board. Just like I write down my business goals, I decided to write down my health goals. As a matter of fact, we both wrote our goals down and put them on the refrigerator door with a magnet. I started on a calorie counting website so that I was accountable for what I was putting in my body. It was a tedious process but I learned a lot. Next, I agreed to start researching new recipes that would be filling but still cut out the high sugar and sodium. Instead of starving myself during the day I made an effort to eat three balanced meals with two snacks in between. The weight began to melt away. I combined my new eating schedule with a workout that included lighter free weights and 30 minutes of cardio three days a week. I began using the machines at the gym that I used to ignore because they looked funny, as a challenge. It took about 5 - 6 months to lose the weight.

Soon enough the gym got boring and I needed more variation. That’s when I joined Crossfit for 6 weeks and then FitWit (my saving grace). FitWit is a mix of high intensity cardio with some weight training and calisthenics as well. Its like recess for adults. I’ve been doing FitWit for a year now and I volunteered as an assistant trainer for a while. I built my strength and endurance with this cross training and I have already been through 4 pairs of shoes.

At 32 (April 30th) I feel like I am in the best shape of my life. In less than 2 years, I lost 28.5 lbs and then gained close to 10 lbs of muscle. Now I am on to my next challenge. I put a team (KNIGHT Team - Berkley+Tiffany, Kevin+Chynna, and Jaymin+Tiffany) together for the Peachtree Road Race and I am also running the New York City Marathon. I can’t wait to achieve more towards my goals!!

My family's medical background is filled with preventable issues and I plan to do all that I can to change history. I am running for my life…



Preston said...

Truly inspirational. I've been following your blog since 2006 and I just had to leave my first comment here. I too am a wedding photographer, but over the years I have really let myself go as far as my health is concerned. But this year I've started forumlating a plan to get in shape

Keep pressing on.

Simi said...

Great stuff, Ross, I totally feel your story and I remember when I hit that point myself. This is just inspiration to me to get back on track! Love the personal share!

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday Ross! You're looking good bro. May you have continued success in all that you do.


Felecia Nolan said...

Happy Birthday old classmate! Your words, endurance, and commitment have truly inspired me to accomplish my goal of increased fitness. I realize that no one can hold me back but "me". Many blessings to you on your special day. Maybe I will see you at the NYC Marathon.

Anonymous said...

Happy Belated Birthday Ross!

What an inspirational entry. I am just waiting to see all of these inspirational words in a book one day. You truly bless others... Continue to shine. I too am on a journey to getting to a healthy place. I wish you and others on this path more than enough.

"Finish strong"


LE said...

Hey Ross! Happy Belated Birthday! I've been a lurker for a while but I just had to say that running is great! I ran my first half marathon (Country Music Marathon-Nashville) yesterday and although it was tough, it was a wonderful accomplishment considering when I first started running a few months ago I couldn't even run a quarter of a mile without huffing and puffing. Take care and blessings on your "run for life"!!!!!!


Krystal Hawkins said...

Awesome!! I remember your shot hanging on the bridge and the first thing I thought was, "If I'm going to get serious about this photography biz, I've GOT to get in shape because that looks hard!" I've since lost 17 lbs and counting. Thanks for not only setting goals, but accomplishing them as well. It's a great example for the photogs that follow you.

Short Coils said...

Wierd how things work out. This was one of my goals this year and I have been going through the same process. It's amazing what happens when you really start focusing on what you are putting in your mouth. You realize that more sodium and sugar is going in there than you realize. Congrats on reaching another one of your goals! And what about your list for the year, any new updates?

Cassandra D. said...

Very, very inspiring!!! I, too, am on my way, right along with ya;-) Thanks for sharing!!

Holly from MD said...

Thank you for the inspiration Ross. With wedding season my workouts have been sporadic as time or sleep allows, but I'm determined to take off some weight. I'll start with a manageable goal of 5 lbs. Keep keepin on! Happy belated birthday! Mine was April 16th so you must be a Taurus. :)

Heather said...

Ross...Great work I'm not surprised.... You attacked this with all the organizational skills you use in your successful business..