It isn't always a bed of roses. There will always be an ebb and flow to the health and fitness endeavour.
Any endeavour for that matter.
It's the way it is.
To actively fight this ebb and flow, or cast it aside as incongruent with your requirements to succeed - Would be asinine at best.
"You can't change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails to always reach your destination."
That's what it's all about.
That one time I hated fitness
I'd be talking out of my ass, in trying to paint a picture of my experiences as smooth and easy. I've had tonnes of set backs and frustrations.
Have you ever torn a hamstring - With a Scottish National Taekwon-Do Championships around the corner? I did, back in 2010. Mere weeks before the competition. I had no intention of aiming to recover by the time the competition came around. No deadlines.
I won 3 gold medals.
Awwww, isn't he cute?!
I have to confess. 3 Golds was not what I expected to extract. However, I maintained a stubborn determination to adapt to my torn hamstring (It was torn, I had bruising all down the back of my leg for a week) and press on to maximise my chances.
That time I ruptured my ACL
Fast forward 5 years, I had my sights set on the coveted 4th Degree black belt level. And I knew the physical demands to achieve this were challenging at best.
April 2015? Boom. Snap. Whack.
My knee went into all sorts of f*cked up positions. It was bad.
I thought international competition and a 4th degree black belt were now out of the question.
Fast forward to October/November of that year - After lifting many heavy things and re-prioritising my training?
An International 4 Nations Championships saw the England Team take the title for a second consecutive year. A team I was delighted to be a part of.
The really key takeaway was in that, I was super pleased with the performance I provided. I delivered everything for the team, and I sparred a fierce competitor without any issues to the knee.
I felt really good.
Myself, versus a christmas tree, versus team Scotlands challenger.
He's a big boy.
Yerp. I was properly chuffed.
After that, I checked 4th Degree off the bucket list.
I must stress. This post is not about me finding ways to stick my chest up a bit. All me me me me me. Oh, and did I mention. Me?
Definitely not my style.
There is value. Which I hope for you to glean in order to progress yourself. Ideally, to new personal heights and increased Nunchuck skills. Let's see where I'm going with this.
Throughout all of this, was pain, frustration, elation, joy.
You couldn't achieve any of this, if the #1 and #2 greatest enemies to your goals are not in check. I whinged and whined about this in much more detail via the email subscription list last week.
Consistency & Self-belief
NB: You should subscribe :-) No spam and no sharing of your email addresses. I'm not a douche.
But through all this. There was never a moment I hated it.
Though, once upon a time. I really hated it.
Rewind to the Christmas of 2010/2011. All my focus was on the upcoming European Championships in Tallinn, Estonia. My first European competition set in February.
That's an understatement.
I was 72kg in weight - I was instructed that if I wanted a shot. I needed to be sub 64kg. Which is a ludicrous weight for my height and muscle mass. To make matters far worse. I had to do it by a specified time.
One of my really good friends and fellow Taekwon-Do partners in crime - Laura - can testify to the ludicrousness of this goal. Not to mention how pale, thin and weak I looked. My obsession with food became atrocious. There I was crash dieting and eating peanuts for weeks. All of which had to happen throughout the Christmas period.
Y'know, the time where it is 'supposedly' impossible to stay on track? Seriously, cut the crap. That BS doesn't wash with me. I can be nice and understanding about it though ;-)
I digress - Laura's credibility to testify is amplified in that, Laura was actually there as a competitor herself. She was kicking ass on the ladies team.
I actually made it. I weighed in at 63.1kg - 9 kilos lighter than I am today at a healthy weight - This was after a 30 minute skipping bout in the hotel sauna with all my clothes on.
I felt like crap.
"Hey, that's me. You're probably wondering how I got here.."
Moreover, when it came to competition time I felt so weak and unfit. The toll that this crash diet had taken on my body and my psychology, was crushing. I was lucky to come away with a European Bronze. But in sparring, I got absolutely destroyed.
Post competition, I ballooned all the way up to 76kg. 4kg's heavier than when I started.
I mean WTF?
Incase you haven't guessed already. I f**king hated it. The training, the time, the effort, the mental toll, the journey. All of it.
It sucked out the very enjoyment I gain from a challenge. It literally drained the energy from my body and my soul. And I knew that these deadline terms are not the conditions I thrive under. And experience has shown, they're not the conditions that everybody needs to thrives under.
NB: Yes there are thousands of people who thrive under those sorts of conditions. But context - not to mention the cost/benefit ratio - is relevant.
You usually find them in the upper echelons of sporting levels. But if you are training in order to boost your confidence, health, vitality, enjoyment, consistency and body composition - You do not need to impose these deadlines and pressures.
If you suck the joy out of your challenges, you will cease to progress. Take it from me. Chill, learn, have an open mind, sit back and enjoy the process.
That's what truly matters.
If you were expecting some sort of PDF strategy guide called "2 Simple Life Hacks to LOVE training again guaranteed instant results! Plus a free cookie!"
You took the wrong turn.
Yup. Good ol' vanilla wisdom.