Monday, April 26, 2010

Johan Stemmet - a PFG Story

Johan lost 38kg / 83 lbs and this past weekend just set a PB at Ironman South Africa with a 10:10:13
and you can get his 2010 IMSA race Report at
This is what 38kg look like
What does 38kg or 83.7lbs look like? Almost Two bags of Tile Adhesive or two of these kayaks at 19kg's each.

With Ironman South Africa less than 7 days away, one tend to think back a lot during the week leading up to IM at
what you've done the last couple of weeks or even a year to take on one of the greatest one day challenges there is.

But not often do one think back more than a year ago and realize how your life has changed. As I said before I believe and I think a lot of people will agree you don't train for an Ironman but you start to live an Ironman lifestyle and the training just comes with the lifestyle.

Now to get back to the heading, what does 38kg or 83.7lbs look like. You may wanna ask why the question, well that's the amount of body weight I lost since I started my journey towards living an Ironman lifestyle (which will hopefully be number 5 this weekend).

This is what I looked like in 2003, weighing a massive 116kg or 255lbs. After looking at this photo on our trip to Germany in 2003 I realized that is not the person I wanna be for the rest of my life and need to do something.

The road to "recovery" all started in 2003 when I just couldn't take it living in this huge overweight body. I had high cholesterol, blood pressure and sugar and the doctor told me I must start living healthy. Being a very active sportsman (Wrestling and Judo) for more than 16 years I took a 10 year sabbatical from sport and gained more than half my body weight as I was at 74kg when I stopped being an active sportman.

Hard to believe but from this, an active wrestler (photo was taken just after I won the National title in 1988) to this a beer drinking, take away freak. At one stage I had KFC EVERY day of my life. It was my standard lunch order at the KFC across the dealership

Then the loooong and hard road started to get back into shape. At that stage I only wanted to loose some weight and didn't realize that it was the first step towards a new lifestyle.

At first I started walking, shuffling and then it became a slow jog which later but very later became a run. I can still remember how for months I just could not run more than 30 minutes. Whatever I tried I just bonked at 30 minutes. One day I decided to push to 40 minutes and had to walk for a minute and run for a minute but I got there. It was if I broke that barrier and from there on I increased the kms gradualy but very slowly.

To think nowadays my Friday night easy run is a 40 minute run and I hardly break a sweat. It is just an easy run I do before the weekends big mileage.

One of my first road races in 2004, of which I was part of a relay team and my part of the relay was a massive 5km at that stage.

I then started doing some 10km races which became 21km races and I ended up doing my first marathon in 2005.

I sort of got bored by only running and started looking for a new challenge and was introduced to cycling as we know it. Cycling was nothing new to me but in the commute form not the sports equivalent. From Grade 1 to Grade 12, during my whole school career I biked to school and back home. The bike was also my transport mode to my friends, sport practise and any or every function there was.

After completing my first ultra marathon and cycling the odd race here and there a friend introduced me to Triathlon and as they say the rest is history.

Amazing to think back at my first sprint distance triathlon where I swam the whole 600 meters breast stroke and had to hang on to the life guards surf board from time to time and suffered like crazy on the run to where I am today. With some luck but also very hard training I was able to compete at the World Ironman Championships in Hawaii last year

Anybody can complete an Ironman and start living an Ironman lifestyle, it just take some time to get there but most importantly you must enjoy it!

Ps: I am now weighing 78kg or 171.6lbs, not where I wanted to be as my race weight is 76kg but I will get there some day.

Pss: Below is some pictures out of my passport from the different visas I needed over the years. It starts at 2003 to 2007. I always get the funny look at Customs when I present my passport.


DRog said...

Truly an inspiration. I am struck by the race photo from 04', and the fitness level Johan was at compared to the fitness level now. Especially the difference in the background is remarkable, now the background participants are elite racer's. Unreal...this is a great frickin story...I'm grateful to have found it so early on in my mission for IM.

skierz said...

what an awesome progression! incredible, from photo number 1 to the last one with a 10:10 finisher certificate! an inspiration for all! Way to go Johan!