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Monday, July 22, 2013

From Obese to Elite

I went to the doctor today for an annual check-up, and I informed him of my weight loss and the fact that I am a runner and training for a half marathon.

He did the usual stuff after we went over my history: checking my ears, throat, lungs, heartbeat. He noted that my BMI was very good and well within the healthy range. Then he did something that surprised me. Now knowing that I was a pretty intensive runner, he had me lie down on the exam table and then took my heart rate to measure my resting heart rate.

When he announced the resultant number, it was all I could do not to drop my jaw in shock.

He measured my resting heart rate at 44.


According the to the Mayo Clinic, that is about the resting heart rate of a well-trained endurance athlete. Another site suggests it is the heart rate of an "elite athlete."

Luckily I had told my doctor that I was a runner, because he said that otherwise, that sort of heart rate would cause concern (bradycardia), but for me just signals "a great deal of cardiovascular activity."

But let's think about what a resting heart rate of 44 really means. It means that my heart is now able to work so ridiculously efficiently as a result of all my cardiovascular exercise (running) that it only need beat 44 times a minute in order to deliver the necessary amount of oxygen throughout my body. Most healthy adults (who don't run 15-20 miles a week as I do) have an average resting heart rate of 60-100 beats per minute.

My mind is still basically exploding from this news. Eighteen months ago I was obese and sedentary. Even just six months ago, several months after I'd started running, I'd measured my resting heart rate to be nearly 90. The title of this blog post is quite literal. In 18 months, I have gone from obese to elite athlete.

Recently, I'd been having some motivation problems. I had been feeling defeated by recent (small) weight gain and less than favorable training sessions. However, this news has most certainly strengthened my resolve, to the point where I cannot wait for that next 80 minute run.

I am an elite athlete.

There is no possible way I could let that go to waste.


  1. That is a really great motivation for sure! Just make sure new doctors know that! I went to a CVS clinic once just to get checked on and they nurse was like.. are you okay? your heart rate... i said umm yes. Asked if I exercises (I guess this is a surprising thing in the US?), i said I ran. End of convo lol

    Yay for elite progress!

  2. Congrats on the great news! And reminds me it is probably time to schedule the annual checkup for myself soon too.