Monday, 1 May 2017

Quarter-Life Crisis Challenge: May 2017

A month of throwing myself into fitness has done my head - and my body - a world of good.


I don't think I've ever given exercise a real chance. I absolutely hated it at school as I found that the combination of excess weight and a crippling fear of being flustered, sweaty and/or out of breath in front of other people made Games and P.E. lessons an unbearable hour of anxiety, self-loathing and humiliation each week. As a result, I did everything I could to avoid it while still maintaining a consistent string of As for effort.

In my first year of university I joined a gym after losing 4 stone during my gap year, but the one I chose in central London may have looked really fun from the outside, but in reality was super pretentious, unwelcoming and absolutely terrifying. Everyone in there looked liked they'd stepped out of an Instagram fitness account - filter included - and I don't think I've ever felt so judged or out of place in my entire life. My induction with a personal trainer escalated into me being bullied into a series of extremely expensive sessions where he set me tasks I couldn't do or that scared me, and I was frequently double booked with other clients. I've been put off gyms ever since and quite publicly vowed not to join one again as I thought I'd be fine at home on my own.

This was the perfect challenge as I've completely and utterly proved myself wrong. I felt the only way to properly throw myself into this was to have some guidance from people that actually know what they're doing, and so I took my physio's advice and joined my local PureGym. He also recommended a personal trainer, and within a few days I'd paid for a membership, emailed the PT and booked an induction. I decided that for 30 days I'd try anything and everything - if all else failed and I ended up hating it, I'd only wasted a month, so what's the worst that could happen?

It's been a roaring success. My PT, Lianne, is resolutely lovely, reassuring, endlessly knowledgeable and doesn't judge me for occasionally needing to sit down or cling to the equipment when I can't breathe and feel a little faint (ending my first session with her on the floor and woozy wasn't my finest hour but I've got better!). Having someone to push me to do the last few reps, go for another minute on the climber - I hate it but it's worth it - and take me round the gym as I'm still scared of some of the equipment is an absolute godsend. In addition to 2 sessions a week with Lianne, I'm doing a Pilates class and 2 spin classes. I tried yoga and hated it with a passion so I've given that up as a bad job, and I attempted a women's tone class but wasn't particularly keen. I think 5 sessions a week will do for now, but I'm hoping to try other classes too over the next month or so. There's no specific goal in mind, but maybe that's not a bad thing.

(gold stars - reading / silver dots - film / green dots - saving money / green stars - workouts / silver stars - brain-training / blue dots - learning / red stars - social media / yellow dots - organisation / orange dots - dot-to-dot / round weights - fitness)

Booking in so many classes and sessions has meant that I've had to up my organisation levels again to keep my calendar from overwhelming me; I've read more books than normal and seen an obscene number of films; and I've bought another dot-to-dot book to keep me occupied in the evenings. It's been a busy month!


For May, I fancied broadening my horizons and learning again, but as I now have so many things on the go I didn't want to have to do anything too time consuming. As a result I've settled on 30 days of TED talks. How much time I have each day will depend on the length of the talk I watch, and I'd like to cover a broad range of topics, if possible.

So, 30 days of TED talks...go!

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