Having been training last night on the hottest day of the year and consequently struggling to get in and out my desk due to the burning feeling… I thought it would be a good time to give some of the back story as to why this will be such a bloody big challenge both mentally and physically for me. The setup in this picture is much more of a normal life for me now *most of the time*, but it certainly was not the story in my 20’s. Exercise has always been a necessary evil for me.
Actually, for many years it felt like an unnecessary evil and that sitting on the sofa eating 6 packs of crisps in a go, was a much better idea. I had perfected the list of excuses that would get me out of exercise after numerous failed attempts at joining gyms, Pilates classes, late night swimming, Zumba and netball teams. Every time I started something new, I would be pumped for a few weeks, then no doubt, fall off the wagon… actually I was probably never on the wagon.
I am aware now that back then I was envious of everyone else who seemed to not only enjoy exercise but also stick to it for longer than a few weeks. All I was focused on was *being thinner* and wanted dramatic results to appear more svelte yet at the same time continue to eat a family sized bag of Doritos.
As I hit my 30’s, I read a really interesting article about self-image and exercise and the role your mind plays in your approach to exercise. Amongst other things, it quotes “many people hate to work out because we’ve been taught to do it for the wrong reason” and I love this. This was my truth. I only ever wanted to do it so I was thinner and had less wobbly bits. The reality is wanting to feel physically stronger, less anxious, have an outlet for thinking and more than anything give time for my mind to relax and chill, was actually why I wanted to exercise. When I cracked that, it was full steam ahead!
I got myself a personal trainer, Dan @daneeles_pt, who has been nothing short of amazing. I can actually lift a few weights now, do a plank for 45 seconds and even more than one press-up! He has been a huge support to my mental attitude towards exercise and shown me that every time you think you have nothing more left; your mental attitude can always help you to go a bit further. It has taught me that exercise is about getting stronger both mentally and physical.
In the last 6 months I have definitely had days and weeks off but each time the feeling I am left with is how much I miss feeling strong and having the space to work out. I have spent many an hour with my best mate (us sunning it up in mallorca) discussing our HIIT workouts and how it makes us feel better. In fact after a few days away she reminded how much a couple of weeks off exercising had made me feel so rubbish. The next 9 months will have many more off days in training for this ride, but for the moment I am super excited to be loving exercise for the first time ever and seeing how much it helps me prepare for this glorius bike ride next year.