Go Hard or Go Home?

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Oh hey there! It’s been a while! I figured it was time for a little training update from myself.

Earlier in the year, I announced that I would be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in September, so that was to be my training goal for the year. For one reason or another, that never happened, so I had to refocus. I became a spin instructor back in March and have been finding my groove with that. I’m absolutely loving teaching and seeing people loving their workout has helped me hone in on what I’m here to do. It really does give me an unparalleled level of joy.

My own approach to training has shifted somewhat. Last year, training for the Etape, training took up all my time. After that, I got back into my running and went in heavy with the weights. In January, I injured my back while lifting and that put me out of action for a while. Talk about a wake up call. I’ve always maintained that I train because I love my body, not because I hate it, but I realised that I’d almost started punishing myself. If the workout wasn’t crazy hard, if I wasn’t physically, mentally and emotionally drained after each one, I hadn’t tried hard enough and I’d beat myself up for it. On days I didn’t work out, my internal dialogue was not pleasant.

Hmm, something wasn’t right. That’s never why I got into this. It’s meant to make me feel good. I’m never gonna be an Olympic athlete. I don’t feel the need to be the fastest, strongest, most ripped or whatever. I actually just want to be fit for the life I lead. I want to be active and supple and most importantly, happy, for as long as possible.

So, I scaled it right back. Heavy lifting in the gym has been replaced with a couple of dumb bells I use at home as often as I like. Runs where I feel like a failure if I don’t run further than I did the last time have been replaced by short runs that take in some sights. Feeling crappy about not working out has been replaced by getting up and taking my dog on a nice long walk, because that’s still moving, so it still counts.

I read this post a while back on the militarisation of fitness and I thought ‘my God, that’s me!’ and perhaps I’ve encouraged that in others with the dialogue I’ve had on this site. I think when I first got into fitness, I was just so excited by it, so enthused by how it made me feel, that I wanted everyone to feel like that. I think in my attempt to encourage others, some of my language may actually have been somewhat bullying (though I didn’t recognise it at the time). We’ll become healthier as a society when the fitness game stops being about one upping each other, about pushing so hard that you puke, about punishing your body. It simply doesn’t have to be that way.

One of my goals this year was to become more mindful. A huge part of that come around through fitness for me. I’m being kinder to myself (and therefore others) in relation to my body and the way I workout. I’m thinking about it in a much more holistic way. I’m thinking much further down the line in terms of health, rather than just looking hot for right now. That’s not to say I don’t give it my all when I train. I still love a tough workout, I still love to sweat and have to pick myself up off the floor at the end of a good session, I just know how to take my foot off the pedal and balance it out now.

So ‘go hard or go home’? I’d rather go happy.

If you’d like to take a spin class with me sometime, I teach at BOOM Cycle in Holborn: Mondays 5:20pm, Wednesdays 7:15pm, Thursdays 7:30am and Saturdays 10am.

3 Responses to “Go Hard or Go Home?”
  1. Kirsty says:

    I couldn’t agree more. While I’ve never had the discipline or inclination for workouts that made me throw up, I used to feel that if my legs weren’t giving me grief on the way home from the gym then I hadn’t worked hard enough, or if I wasnt’ lifting my maximum and then some every session, I wasn’t lifting heavy enough.

    I’m halfway through a pre-comp programme which I doubted the effectiveness of at first as I’m still not lifting near my maximum, yet I’m seeing impressive results in my all round strength which will lead to PBs (I hope) at my next competition. Fancy that – gains without wiping myself out at every session :)

  2. Chloe says:

    These posts always create such a conflict in my opinions- I am a ‘go hard or go home’ girl’. If I do something I want to feel like I’ve given it my best shot, even if it’s just a 20 minute cycle to work, I like to get there and know that I got there not in my best time, but no slower than usual, if my partner and I go to the gym, I want to leave feeling like we achieved something more than just being able to say we set foot over the threshold. But ‘Go hard or go home’ is not something I ever ever want to use as a measure against others- other peoples goals and abilities are different to mine and therefore it’s not fair or relevant to judge myself or them against the same. I think the truth is, we all know when we’re cheating ourselves out of giving anything, not just a workout or a sport our best shot, and there’s a balance to be had in setting goals to understand what your best needs to be for that session, ride or run.

  3. Penny says:

    Hi .. I’m 51 years old… Exercise has always been a part of my life. I love all sports.. However, as I grew older I realised I realised that I was suffering coughs and colds, headaches, a sweet tooth..addiction to coffee etc. All at the tender age of 25! I was introduced to the idea of supporting my exercise routine with supplements. The change was remarkable. The sweet tooth disappeared, my coffee addiction diaappeard, and I can’t remeber the last time I had a headache. My weight today stays the same as when I was 25. My body fat is probably way highter than yours – 24% ..but yet I feel really well. I still love the combination of exercise and nutrition.. a balance of 20% exercise to 80% watching what I am consuming, (without being too restrictive..LOL) seems to be best for my system. Whats not to like about keeping the system stong and healthy? Keep up the exercise, but ladies.. please look at the other 80% you are doing too!