It all started in front of the mirror. I was 27 years old and out of shape and I did not do any physical activity. I had been unaware until then of how my lifestyle had harmed me, because the physical changes took place so slowly that a great deal of damage had been done before they became visible. I remember that day very well, as everything happened very naturally. I was in a clothes shop to buy a new pair of trousers, the last in a long line recently. I was in the changing-room trying on a pair which, no surprise, were too tight for me.
I looked at myself in the mirror to see how they looked on me. I saw an awkward and overweight person looking back, trying to get into clothes which were too small for him. I felt sick. It was the first time I realised how my body had changed. In my mind, I heard the words spoken by a doctor just a few days before, during a check-up: “Loglisci… accept my advice as a friend rather than as a doctor: you should play sport.Go swimming, it would be good for you”. It was a knock-out blow, which left me reeling, I almost fell over, but managed to stay on my feet. I actually stood up and straightened my back. I looked at myself in the mirror again, looked myself straight in the eyes and said three simple but important words: “Enough is enough”. The first year of the course was genuine torture, both physical and mental. I was in agony right from the early hours of the morning on lesson days. The very thought of having to enter the water and swim for 30 minutes, with the smell of chlorine in my nose, the water in my mouth, the breathlessness and my heart beating so hard I thought I would have a heart attack absolutely terrified me. But I just had to remember those three words I said to myself in front of the mirror to find the courage I needed. “Enough is enough” I had told myself and I knew there was no turning back. I kept repeating them to myself, particularly when I was in the middle of the pool, clutching the board like a shipwrecked survivor grasping a piece of wood in the sea, while a small voice in my head kept saying: “Why bother? Your belly is not that big … lots of people don’t practice sports and they are absolutely fine!”. I managed to survive those early months in this way, then I signed up for the second year and started seeing the first physical benefits. This was when the virtuous circle of hard work and better health started, which then turned into a genuine passion for swimming, followed by the desire to improve and to compete. I started competing at 31 years of age.
I am now 40 and I have been swimming competitively at Master level for ten years and also in Triathlons for the past three years. I now have what I would call an athlete’s physique. I feel physically and mentally ready to face any challenge, even in my day-to-day life. When I realised what had happened to me, I began telling others about it, first by writing a blog and then collecting together my experiences in a book called “Come ho imparato a nuotare da grande – ritrovando salute e forma fisica”(“How I learned to swim as an adult and regained my health and my body”- English version coming soon), available on Amazon. What happened to me is not rare, it is actually very frequent. That is why I keep telling others about it. I love sharing my experiences with others who have a similar story to my own, with that gratifying “mirror” effect, but I also like offering concrete advice to people who have not started practising any sports, even though their conscience tells them every day: “Hey buddy, there’s no more time to lose”.
The one piece of advice I would give to anyone who does not practice any sport is: “…if I managed to do it, anyone can”.