I have always loved Crossfit. I loved the community aspect. Everyone rooting for everyone else. The last guy across the finish line get the loudest cheer. The training itself was always fun for me too.
In the four years I spents doing Crossfit style strength and conditioning workouts, I was never the strongest, the fastest or the best. In truth I struggled enormously with most things! But I was hopelessly addicted. There is something so insanly satisfying about seeing how far you can push your body. It is also very cool learning new skills, and gaining a different appreciation for what your body can do.
My love affair with the sport ended a little over a year ago. The break up was not mutual. I kept picking up injuries and I was becoming hopelessly frustrated. My coaches did their best to scale workouts for me and help me to train around my issues, but it just wasn’t the same. I felt disconnected from the rest of the class. I just wanted to be able to play with the other kids.
When I ultimately made the decision to walk away from Crossfit, I started working with a great physio, Noel Mallon. When he was finished mending me, I spent some time training with a local personal trainer, Ross Lynch. He was incredible. Patiently and methodically working with me to improve my movement patterns. Making sure I stayed fixed.
Ironically, our pathes crossed accidentally. I asked for a consulation in the gym I had joined and he was assigned to me. I am sure he has had way easier clients. His misfortune turned out to be very lucky for me!
At the time I was teaching Zumba a few times a week and I suppose I was probably too busy to miss Crossfit. That all changed a few months back when I found myself unemployed and then re-employed. Working in Dublin was going to mean scaling back my Zumba classes, and I needed to find something to else to do.
To be completely honest, the second half of 2018 was such a crazy time for me. I stopped focussing on my goals and I piled on a whole load of weight. It also made me question how I want to identify myself. For the previous few years I had enjoyed identifying as a “fit person.” Someone who loved the gym and prioritised it. Someone who made time to train and slotted the other optional things around it.
As Christmas approached and the number of items in my wardrobe that fit me continued to decrease, I did some soul searching. I had to do something to stop this back slide, but what? I toyed with the idea of taking up Jiu Jitsu, or boxing. I looked into joining the commercial gym across the street from the office, but nothing really appealed. None of it seemed like me. I felt as though I had completely lost sight of myself and taking up something else new, was just going to exacerbate this.
Eventually it dawned on me. Go back to Crossfit. I contacted Alan, a coach I knew, but had never trained with. I am sure he thought I was out of mind, as I tried to explain where I was coming from. “I want you to treat me like a complete beginner,” I told him. I went on to explain that I am finally injury free and above all else I want to stay that way. I don’t want the coaches to let me get away with any shitty movement.
When the day came for the first of my Elements classes, I wondered if it was possible to die from anxiety. I was shaking like a leaf as I walked through the door. I received a warm welcome and Alan tried to put me at ease. We got to work right away and soon I was too busy huffing and puffing to worry about nerves.
My God! All I could think was “how the hell have I let myself get so out of shape AGAIN!” The simplest of exercises seemed beyond me. Over the course of our five introductory sessions together, I had that same thought a million times. Each time Alan asked if I was familiar with a certain movement I would parrot “yes, well, I used to able to do that.” I might well have added, in another life. There were times during those classes when I thought I might cry. The combination of shame and dissapointment in myself is a heady one.
Last night was my final introductory sessions and tonight I get to go play with the big kids. To say I am nervous would be a huge understatement. I have been completely humbled over the last couple of weeks. One thing I have going for me now, is that I don’t even have an ego to leave at the door.
I knew coming into this that I had a massive amount of work to do. I am hoping that at least some of it will be like riding a bike! 2019 for me is going to be a year of working on me. Trying to figure out how I want to feel about myself and acting accordingly. I know that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and as long as I can be patient with myself, I think good things are going to happen.
I am not sure if I am quite ready to embrace the Crossfit lifesyle again. The thought of being on a team, even just for a workout, is extremely uncomfortable. I am painfully aware of how much of a liability I would be. It is reminiscent of being picked last for PE. It will be a while I’m sure before I start talking about benchmark workouts, and thinking about entering The Open.
The only positive about being back at square one again is that I get to start over with a little bit of knowledge. I know that it gets easier. In time I will no longer be anxious before workouts and sore after them (at least not as much.) I also know that although the community aspect is nice, at the end of the day it’s down to me. Only I can close the gap between where I am, and where I want to be. Be well xxx
This week we talk to the amazing and inspirational Jacqui Twohig. Jacqui is a prime example of the wonderful things the female body can do. From her own weight loss journey through to bikini competitions to being an expectant mom. Take a listen xxx
This week Fitty is on the comeback train and the girls talk about goal setting and getting ready for 2019!
I sat down with SBG’s Richie Kiely this week. Take a look a at how we got on in Arwen’s Angle on Combat Arena.
This week we talk about the Paleo diet and heart healthy foods!
As the start of my second week in my new job dawned, I was determined to hit the ground running. I went to bed reasonably early (not something I am usually very good at) and awoke refreshed and ready to face the day. I battled the traffic and managed to arrive at my desk in good time. Yay me! No sooner had I made my morning coffee, than the lights went out. Power cut.
It came back after about an hour, so at least we weren’t sitting in the dark (a tiny bit awkward with virtual strangers,) but there was a further delay before our IT systems recovered. I started to become irritated by the interruption. I had a to do list as long as the M50. Besides, even though we were all in the same boat, I didn’t want to seem like I was wasting time.
The frustration quickly melted into amusement as I couldn’t help smile at the irony. It served as a timely reminder that try as we might, we cannot control everything. There will always be times that despite the best laid plans, everything goes tits up.
As the year draws to a close, I always like to reflect on the past 12 months. This morning’s outage pretty much sums up the entire year for me. 2018 has been one false start after another. It has been tempting at times to throw my hands up and shout “what’s the bloody point?” It has taken no small amount of effort to pick myself and dust myself off.
In the words Kipling, of one of my favourite poets,
“If you can make one heap of all your winnings, and risk it on one turn of pitch and toss, and lose, and start again at your beginnings, and never breathe a word about your loss.”
When you think about it, that is exactly what happens when you look for a new job. You accumulate all your experience and skills, your winnings, and risk it in the hopes of obtaining something better. You sacrifice your security, and your comfort and take a giant leap into the unknown. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, my career hasn’t been the only tumultuous part of my life in recent months. I am very much the type of person who needs stability and routine. If one area of my life is in discord, the rest of it will inevitably follow suit.
I am loath to admit the amount of weight I have put on since this time last year. My fitness levels have also taken a huge back slide. In all honesty, I am very much looking forward to January and the natural reset point it always brings.
As I write this, I have a plan in place to get myself back to a level of fitness that I can be happy with. Tomorrow evening, I am joining a Crossfit gym. I know it probably sounds crazy to start a health kick Christmas week, but I have been putting this off long enough. Plus, I know if I delay it any further, chances are I will talk myself out of it.
It can be difficult when not only have you failed to make progress, but you have actually gone backwards, not to feel like a failure. It is hard not to look back with rose tinted glasses, to a time when you were slimmer, fitter or just generally had it more together. However, if there is one thing I have learned, it is that there are peaks and valleys in life. Progress is definitely non-linear.
With a shiny New Year on the horizon, I take comfort in the fact that I have a plan in place, and that I have walked this road before. I know that following in old footsteps is always easier than trying to forge a new path.
Another lesson that is beginning to take root is that I am not my weight. I am not my dress size or my body fat percentage. Neither am I the job title I hold or my bank account balance. Of course, it is easy to “know” these things on a rational level. It is another thing entirely to actually feel it.
I spent more than three decades allowing these things to define me. So much so that when I was unemployed, albeit briefly, I was surprised that people still wanted to be around me. They sought me out and looked to me for my opinion. They asked me for help and tasked me with projects. The value they placed in me wasn’t tied up in my employment status. Why then did I allow a temporary career set back to impact my confidence levels so profoundly?
I know it’s hackneyed, but I firmly believe that things to happen for a reason. Events of the recent past are not far enough behind me yet, for me to have perspective in my rear-view mirror. Their lessons will only begin to take shape in time. In the meantime, I am very hopeful about the future. I eagerly anticipate a few months of relative calm in which to get to work on myself.
In truth, we never know what is around the corner. As prepared and ready as we think we are, there is always something which could potentially upset our little apple cart on the horizon. All we can do is keep going. Keep putting one foot in front of the other in the general direction of our goals. Keep hoping the lights don’t go out. Be well xxx
I had an opportunity to catch up with Dublin born boxer Lynn Hunter Harvey this week. We chatted all things fighting as well as diving into female weight cuts and how to stay safe Internet dating.
Read all about it in Arwen’s Angle on MMA Insider
I love Fitty & Fatty | Fitty and Fatty Ep.12 – Confidence & The Financial Pressure of Christmas, let’s play it!
Check out Arwen’s Angle. A series of articles and interviews I am doing on behalf of MMA Insider