Dealing with setbacks

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My humorous. Not where it’s meant to be.

Nobody’s invincible. We all know that, but it’s easy to forget when you’re on a roll, training is going well, you’re in good health and you have goals that you really can reach, if you just carry on. So when the rug is pulled from under you, what do you do? A few weeks ago, I had just completed an ultra marathon and was heading into training for a road marathon when I fell on a bouncy castle (yes, I know, I’m 40 – my mum has already mentioned this) and dislocated my shoulder.

 

So it’s all change. Ten days in a sling, four weeks with no high-impact or weight-bearing exercise. Sixteen weeks recovery with physio. It would be easy to get down about this. And at times I have been, but the thing that’s most surprising is that it’s actually not that bad. Sure, I had to drop out of the marathon, and not being allowed to drive has been a pain but, overall, I’ve realised that it’s ok.

First obvious problem is training. I was worried I would lose fitness, lose all the hard work I’d put in. But all that hard work is in fact still paying off – if you have incorporated fitness and training into your everyday life, it takes quite a while to lose. And I’m lucky, I’m a PT, so I have devised a couple of zero-impact, cardio and resistance workouts that I’m confident will keep me going while I wait to get stronger.

Second problem is work. I can’t demo new moves, I can’t drive to see clients. After a disastrous morning where I insisted I could walk from client to client with a kettlebell, yoga mat and bag all hanging off one shoulder (the good one), I realised I could ask for help. This can be really difficult, even when people outright offer, when you’re used to doing everything yourself. But the relief when you do and (in my case) don’t have to try to figure out a new non-weights routine for your client, don’t have to get cover for teaching a class… the relief. Look at it this way, if someone you cared about needed help; nothing crazy, just a lift in the car or lending something for a few days, you absolutely would do it! You wouldn’t even think twice about it. Take the help when it’s offered. Ask when you need it.

I guess I’m just advocating positive thinking and positive action. Not a new concept, but certainly a good one. And maybe that marathon would have been a boring one anyway.

 

Finding your get-up-and-go

This is the time of year everyone’s looking for ways to get fit. It’s a lot to do with making new year’s resolutions and a lot to do with the guilt of Christmas excess too. And for what might be the first time, I am facing that challenge too – to pick myself up and improve my fitness. Just before Christmas I hurt my back. I mean, properly, can’t stand, can’t sit, can’t move territory. I’ve never had that before; never had to completely stop all exercise, and it sucked. Also, it happened at exactly the wrong time of year, so I was burning about 4 calories a day but consuming about 40,000, in mince pies and red wine alone. Roughly. So now I’m facing that daunting task of getting back to where I was.

If you’re in a similar situation you’ll appreciate it’s not great. But it has given me insight into what it’s like and how to motivate myself from here and I’ll take that as a positive; a good tool for my skill box. Best motivator so far? Telling myself I can stop after five minutes if I really can’t bear it. Once I’ve got going, it’s really not that bad, and the five-minute cut-off is forgotten. If you’re in the same boat, I’d love to hear your tips too!

Kettle bell ideas…

Kettle bells from Powerhouse FitnessLast week I got the chance to try out my new kettle bells (from Powerhouse Fitness) with one of my clients. So far so good – she uses a kettle bell at home but said these are an easier grip as the handle is that bit wider. We tried out some one-handed moves (as she’s used to the classic swings) and they really are just an easier grip than either of us have used before.

Try this: backward lunges, each time passing a lighter kettle bell underneath your front, bent leg (from inside to outside of the leg). So if your right leg lunges back, the right hand passes the kettle bell under the bent leg to the left hand. Stand up again and repeat on the other side. Start with a lighter weight to get the knack and the rhythm before progressing.
Always lunge backwards for this exercise.

Summer support act

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High Support Pregnancy Exercise Top (£49.99) Supportive Maternity Fitness Shorts (£34.99), Fitta Mamma:
http://www.fittamamma.com

Maternity clothing, especially for exercise, can feel like a big outlay for something you’re not going to wear for more than a few months, but you might find you get more than your money’s-worth because it’s actually brilliant post-natally too. Wearing it after your pregnancy will give you lots of support while you get back in shape and some brands do keep this in mind so that the design stays flattering, regardless of what stage you’re at (a huge boon when you’re not feeling your most glamorous!). I took this snap of Katie last summer, trying out support apparel from Fitta Mamma – she got on with it really well and wore it for several weeks after having her baby.