For anyone who’s new to Hols Does Fitness, a quick rundown of my catalogue of fitness finds:
Back in 2017 I tried a new fitness class, craze or fad on a weekly basis. I did this primarily because I realised there was SO much out there and by setting myself a challenge I knew I’d actually get around to trying things I’d never get round to otherwise.
I loved my weekly jaunts across London (and occasionally beyond!), met lots of great people, tried loads of new things and learned a LOT about what makes a fitness experience excellent. I am firmly of the opinion that anything which gets people moving and which they actually enjoy is a win, whether that’s CrossFit (my personal jam), yoga, rugby, triathlon or acrobatics. There are so many options out there.
I found it hard to find a one-stop resource explaining what different classes are really all about, and started this blog so that people could get an insight into what really happens in some of the classes they read about and hopefully give them the motivation to go and give something new a try.
An unintended side effect of the challenge was that I travelled to parts of London I would never normally go to. I spend most of my time in the leafy riverside stretch between Twickenham and Barnes and had no reason to venture east or north. Even when seeing friends who live further afield we’d normally meet up centrally because it takes a blimmin long time to get across the city. I loved emerging from a new tube station and seeing what was in store… a bit like climbing the Magic Faraway Tree! London is truly a patchwork of villages and I found it amazing how different areas have completely different vibes, architecture and even smells.
A few years ago, my gym experience had been pretty ‘normal’:
– I’d had memberships at Virgin and David Lloyd, which I used mostly for the spa facilities.
– I’d spent a year or two at a Nuffield gym, where I basically just pounded the treadmill while watching reruns of Friends.
– I’d got into marathons, which I ran a few times a year on my own or with my lovely friends Matt and Hattie, often taking in a city break (Paris, Berlin, San Sebastián… it was all about the post run refeed)
– I’d signed up for a few triathlons and never quite found the motivation to train for them.
Then Blitz CrossFit opened and I found the place and fitness regime I loved. I was already in my 30s at this point and thought I was pretty fit because I could run a marathon at the drop of a hat. I quickly realised a) I really wasn’t that fit and b) there was so much more fun stuff to do than plod the streets day after day. The coaches, members and constant learning and improvement were things that made me want to go there every day and I had that lightbulb moment: a good fitness regime isn’t about forcing yourself train to get rid of your cellulite, bingo wings or wobbly tummy, it’s about doing something you ENJOY. Full stop. Once you find that, you’ll keep going back and that’s when the awesome side effects come… such as jumping out of bed in the morning, having mental clarity and gaining REAL body confidence.
I am reminded of this all the time. In my gym I get people to write up their top gym goal on a board. The most popular by far, especially for women, is to get that elusive first pull up. I remember the days I dreamed of being able to do a pull up; it took me about nine months and wow was it empowering when I finally got the first one. Obviously it didn’t stop there and I keep finding other things I want to do or get better at. I remember going to watch my first CrossFit competition in 2014 and seeing women do these amazing things called muscle-ups (google it… a gymnastics move where you pull yourself up and over suspended rings from a hanging position). I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do such an awesome move, but (again after months of practise) I eventually got one, feeling on top of the world up on those rings! It still makes me smile and realise how far I’ve come each time I do one. I’m never going to be the strongest or fastest in the room, but I step up and do pretty much every activity with a smile on my face.
In summary: find enjoyable ways to move with nice people and you are winning. There are so many ways to do that and hopefully some of my trips will give you an idea of something you might like.
For me, trying new places gives me something to take away every time; whether it’s a new warm up drill, a good cue, a smooth (or not) booking process or simply the way I’m greeted when I arrive. As my coaching mentor numero uno, Jamie Boston, always says – steal from the best, you never stop learning.
So, after a year away (during which time I’ve been busy opening a gym of my own) I’m bringing it back. First up: a chilled start with restorative and yoga Nidra. The review will be up on Monday, but if you want to take a look at some of the places I tried last year in the meantime, have a peek. There are some great ones I’ve been back to several times since then.
I got loads of ideas from other people last time round, so if you’ve heard of something that sounds cool or fancy joining me for a sesh, hit me up!