Andy Stobbart is not your run-of-the-mill athlete.
He’s a trying triathlete. Armed with the war cry “Fortes Fortuna Juvat” or Fortune Favours the Brave, Andy has overcome debilitating mental health issues, Fibromyalgia also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Colitis. The Sunderland UK based owner of a company specialising in floor safety and deep cleaning, husband and father of two, provides us with motivation and insight into how he’s overcome hurdles and persisted on his journey to being a triathlete with the help of Totum Sport.
Well my story begins where every story does, at the bottom. This is where I was not so long ago. I felt that I had hit rock bottom. I had been diagnosed with numerous mental health issues including Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder and Psychosis, all of which contributed to constant auditory and visual hallucinations and lacklustre self-esteem.
This was coupled with other diagnoses including Fibromyalgia which leads to extreme fatigue and body pain. And then, also Colitis, a chronic digestive disease that causes constant inflammation of the inner lining of my stomach and sometimes colon ulcers. I thought that the level of pain that I was experiencing was something that I needed to live with.
I was taking a mountain of pills morning, noon and night and felt like a walking pharmaceutical myself. The thing is, all the medication although good and necessary, was making me feel toxic, from the inside out, and did little to help me focus on creating balance and the life I am now creating for myself. My story has a happy ending though. I found sport again. And then I found Totum Sport.
Well that’s not entirely true. I had always played football but was pretty much constantly injured, tired and in pain thanks to the gifts that Fibromyalgia brings. I then began coaching and as a football coach we won trophies with every team I managed over 10 years. However, I had pulled up the hand break on sport until my Doctor told me I had Fibro and recommended I did some light exercise. By this I think he meant go for a walk, not take-up long course triathlons. I thought running was out of the question anyway. Boy-oh-boy do I like challenge!
But I was badgered by one of my cold-water swimming mates, who had completed Iron Man Lanzarote, into doing a super sprint triathlon. To my surprise, running in a straight line and it not being a contact sport meant that I could manage, and it grew from there,
That was in September 2019, which is also when I started using Totum Sport 20ml sachets. These help me with cramps during runs, energy and recovery. It’s good stuff and best of all it taught me that hydration isn’t just about water, it’s about electrolytes, nutrients and having the right balance of everything your body needs for optimum homeostasis.
Since then I’ve learned how to swim properly and run. I also found my love for cycling after scoring for a ‘given’ road bike one wet Sunday morning in January too! Now I spend all my money on bike stuff (don’t tell my wife that). That’s after I’ve met the commitments of being a husband and father to Leia and Milo. Today, I define who I am.
Who am I? I am husband, father, successful business owner, football coach, garden enthusiast, cold water addict and aspiring triathlete. I’m from Sunderland in the cold, North East of England. I train on the coast and in the North Sea, I like to travel to the beautiful Lake District to cycle and swim too.
Sport has brought so much more to my life than actual sport. It provides me with focus to realise how grateful and lucky I am to have what I have in my life and to have found myself. More than that I’ve realised that I’m driven and focused and that I don’t let labels define me or even stop me. When I’m told I can’t do something, that’s just the motivation I need to prove them wrong and to drive me forward. One way or another I persevere by trying to achieve my goals and achieve what I set out to do.
I train and I train hard. And for good reason. I train to try to keep my mental health sort of in check and to get me fit, to help keep my joints, muscles and ligaments moving. I currently train six days a week and make time to keep fit when and where I can; mostly in the early mornings and evenings just before dinner or early mornings on a weekend before the family is up and sorted ready for the day. Training and the support of my family have made lockdown that much easier. I wouldn’t be able to train without Totum Sport and the support it provides my body.
From a sport perspective, my aim this year is to complete two 70.3 as in two half Iron Man distance events, and in 2021 and 2022 to do a full distance Iron Man Triathlon. Then, who knows, just find the distance I like and enjoy it. If you’re new to triathlons and looking to start, then just start! Give it a go. Persist and be consistent. Listen to your body. Use Totum Sport for optimum recovery. Cross train and enjoy it!
Connect with Andy Stobbart on https://www.instagram.com/Fibromentalist/