No pain no gain!

I am in pain today. I think I’ve bruised my ribs, or possibly worse. I wish I could tell you that I did it whilst trying a challenging problem on the climbing wall, or riding a massive wave on my bodyboard. Unfortunately, though, I fell on the treadmill at the gym. I wouldn’t mind so much if I’d been running at the time, but I was wiping the machine down ready for the next user when my foot slipped off the side. I feel such a fool!

So no working out for me for a few days! I never thought I’d say this, but I miss not going to the gym. This reminded me of a post I wrote on another blog of mine thetravelbug, so I thought I’d reblog it for you:

I Can’t Believe I’m a Gym Bunny

‘I’ve surprised myself once again with my latest passion. I never thought I’d say this, but I love going to the gym. Until a couple of months ago, I’d only worked out in a gym once before in my life. Whilst working my very first summer season as a rep in Austria, one of my colleagues had persuaded me to go with him to the gym at one of our hotels. I found it too repetitive at the time, and I soon got bored and distracted. Plus, the cross-trainer put me off because I looked like a frog in a blender.
So what made me give it another go? I hear you ask. Well, since my vow to try at least one new activity every year, I’ve found myself doing things that I never thought I would and revisiting some activities that I didn’t get off to the best start with first time round. Although I’ve been a lot fitter the past couple of years, my stamina is something that I still really struggle with. I’ve tried taking up running (I have the most beautiful park right on my doorstep), but I have problems with my feet and so training can be hit and miss. Even on days when my feet don’t hurt too bad, I have to be careful where I’m running in case I fall over and hurt them even more. I also wanted to build up my strength to help improve my rock climbing.
As I was already using the local sports and community centres for swimming and exercise classes, I’d heard about the Cardiff Active card. For a monthly fee, you get unlimited access to all Cardiff Council gyms, exercise classes and swimming pools. Plus you get a gym induction included. When I found out that I get a further 25% discount as an employee of the company that I work for, I went straight to get my application form.
I’m getting my moneys worth using my Active card for all the activities at the centres, but what I love most at the moment is the gym. I usually work out there two or three times a week, and I’ve overcome my distraction problem by taking along my MP3 player to listen to. The weights have been great to build up my strength and help me to climb better, and I can tell that my stamina has improved greatly already. The best thing is that I can run really easily on the treadmill because it’s a smooth surface and I don’t have to worry about doing further damage to my feet. So far I’ve worked up to running for 10 minutes straight, which for me is a huge achievement. My goal is to run the Cardiff 5k Race for Life, and I hope to be able to sign up for it next year. Wish me luck x’

Author’s note: Since I first wrote this post I’ve improved my running even more (apart from when I fall off the treadmill). I now run 2.5km as a warm up, and I’m well on my way to being ready for the 5k next year.

 

 

Convincing myself is the hardest part

‘Try something new’ is a common theme through my blogs. I’m constantly encouraging people to attempt different activities and make manageable, positive changes in their life. So I must be the most super-extrovert, confident person in the world, right?

Wrong. When I try something new, I am the biggest scaredy cat in the world. I get nervous at the thought of doing something that I don’t already know how to do, I worry about meeting new people, and I generally just convince myself that I’ll mess up and everyone will laugh at me. To be fair, that has happened to me, although thankfully very rarely.

The thing with me is, though, that deep down inside I really want to be that super-exrtrovert, confident person. So I make myself take the plunge. I ignore all my own excuses, and force myself to go to that new exercise class or sign up for night school.

This week, I forced myself to go to climbing club. For the past couple of years I’ve pretty much climbed with the same partner. We met on a climbing course and discovered we liked each others company, plus we were able to climb at times that suited the both of us. This happy union continued until this summer, when my climbing partner dropped the bombshell that she was moving to London. Although I was happy for her, I was also petrified at the thought of having to find a new partner to climb with. The only other option would be to quit, but I really like climbing so I don’t want to do that.

Instead, I’ve been using guerrilla tactics to solve my problem. I put a notice up on the ‘Looking for a climbing partner?’ notice board at my local climbing centre, I’m phoning other people on the board and I’ve started going to climbing club.

I won’t lie, I was bricking it the first time I went up to the social secretary on duty and asked if anyone else was climbing the same level as me. Rather than laugh and point, though, he welcomed be with a handshake and introduced me to Phil, who I spent the next couple of hours having a laugh and climbing with. It really pushed me in my climbing too, and I ended up climbing at a much higher grade than I usually would.

Today a got a message from another climber who saw my advert on the notice board. We’ve arranged to meet up tomorrow at the wall. I am, of course, really nervous. Somewhere inside my head, though, my little rational voice is fighting to be heard, and it’s saying that it’ll be OK.

Taking a ‘step’ into the unknown

Every year, I challenge myself to visit at least one new place and try at least one new activity. If you haven’t already guessed from my terrible pun in the title of this post, which I apologise profusely for, my latest attempt at a new activity is ‘Step Class’.

The step class at my local community centre is between my usual gym time and yoga class, so I quite often catch bits of it as I walk past to use the changing rooms. Since I first saw all those energetic steppers bouncing away, I’ve wanted to give step class a try, but I kept putting it off and making excuses. Why do we do that? I get really nervous before I go into any new group situation for the first time, and I know it’s ridiculous. I’ll either like it, or not. If it’s the latter, then I just won’t go again, as in the case of the Core Strength Workout that I tried at the local climbing wall (http://thetravelbug.blog.co.uk/2012/02/14/core-strength-12782430/ for anyone who hasn’t read my old blog). So, this week, I had a word with myself and promised myself I’d make it to step class. And I am so glad that I did, because not only was it a good workout but I had a blast doing it.

For anyone else who is old enough to remember, the step instructor reminds me of Victoria Wood in the sketch where she played the substitute aerobics instructor. And I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. She is brilliant. She has so much energy and enthusiasm, and she constantly looks out for us clueless beginners who watch in confusion as the experienced regulars throw themselves into the more difficult routines. Even with my dance background, I think it’s going to take me a few weeks until I can keep up with them.

The hour flew by so quickly because I was enjoying it so much and concentrating so hard on what I was doing. Personally, I really enjoy sports where I have to think, so step class is perfect for me. It took me back to my dancing days, having to remember routines and make sure you’re on the correct leg and using your arms at the same time.

My only worry is that after a few weeks the class could get a bit repetitive. I’m hoping that she mixes it up a bit now and then. For now, though, I’m loving step. Bring on the next class!