Updated: Dec 28, 2019
I’m not one to shy away from a challenge. Oh my god do I put myself through hell. This will be the first time in four years where I will be pursuing a career in an industry that I am qualified in and that I love without juggling studies on the side.
The health and fitness industry is ever-changing. Discoveries of best practice and scientific explanation/justification are constantly being updated and reinforced - which is what makes this job so exciting for me. As I’ve said - I love a challenge. To hold myself accountable to offer the best, validated and most recent information I can, will inevitably mean I am progressing and providing the best service that promotes fitness, performance and well-being.
It’s funny, I’ve been in a place for years now where I could not tell you what I thought progression actually meant. I could give examples, I could measure it in someone or anyone else’s achievements but my own.
Setting a target so high for myself under tremendous pressure to succeed is probably one of my most self destructive attributes I have. Calm, cool and collected (with a great sense of humour) is probably how I’m perceived to a lot of you who have had the absolute delight of meeting me. And to be honest, I like to think those are some of the contributing traits that could be used to define me… however - this is not always the case.
So through the stresses that I have so willingly put myself through academically and emotionally I had lost faith in my own abilities - leading to terrible disbelief that I will achieve or accomplish anything in this life (Jesus, this is dark - moving on swiftly). HOWEVER, and a big one at that, I can say that ticking off diplomas in an area that is so vital in my life and in so many others, I have found that sense of achievement again.
Keeping that cool sometimes seems so far-fetched to me in times of emotional dysfunction (let’s give it that term). After years of palming off the idea that we should take time to actually listen to our thoughts - I finally gave a second thought. This idea from Dr Steve Peters, that you have the opportunity to change your own behaviour by considering sections of your mind can often be conflicting and lead to unwanted feelings or behaviours.
The idea that your brain is a muscle and needs to be exercised like any other is something that I can comprehend. Breaking habits and cycles of the mind, I believe, is something to overcome and will be a huge factor in my future plans.
It has only been in the last few months where I’ve actually thought - I’m fairly fit now. I’ve played hockey pretty much until now, since I was ten. Loved it. Never took it too seriously. An injury ended my last season and I can’t say it’s felt like a need to return. So… NEW GOAL.
WHAT’S NEXT? Okay, so this may sound mad but I thought let’s give a triathlon a go. No, I’ve never ran more than 10km in one go. No, I’ve never ridden a road bike. BUT I have competitively swam… In my year 6 swimming gala - crushed it.
Mind Over Matter
Since this mental idea had popped into my head, I have been researching athlete’s journeys/progressions/achievements to understand why they also shared this crazy desire. Mindset. If I have learned one thing, it is all about your own personal goal. The why.
Fiona Oakes is in her fifties. She holds the fastest time to complete a marathon on each continent. Oh and she doesn't have any knee caps!
Luke Tyburski turned to endurance racing to battle depression - he partook in his own challenge of an ultimate triathlon from Morocco to Monaco. He basically crawled over that finish line.
The unbelievable Alex Hannold - free solo climber who ascended a 3,000ft wall without rope!
Now I’m not saying that I’ll be participating in something remotely as impressive as these guys, however, they are living proof that the body is definitely the second calling in what makes a successful athlete - an endurance one at least.
My mind is nowhere near conditioned to endure such challenges but it’s definitely ready to be squished and moulded and reshaped for a better me.
Just yesterday I trained with my pal. A painful endurace of skierg, wall balls, burpees and box jumps. My mind went straight to the end. “I’m not doing that last bit, no way - I’ve ran out of steam. I hurt.” Pish. The last bit felt the same as the first - if not easier. Positive mindset. I do want to enjoy the experience and not just endure it though. This is where professionals come in.
I’m meeting with a gentleman to discuss what it takes to compete in a triathlon. The commitment, the training, nutrition - all of it. Like I said, this is the very start. The first hurdle of setting my mind to a challenge.
ANXIETY ALERT: already thinking this is a big mistake. I will make myself look like a muppet. My injury will reappear. I will come to the realisation that I have no natural ability for any of the three disciplines and I’m going to have to go backwards to be able to move forwards.