I have always been active in one form or another. At the age of 13 I was a track runner, 100m and 200m sprints. At school awards presentation day, all the athletic achievement awards were shared equally between me and my friend Rachel. She got swimming, I got sprint, one year she got overall award, the next it was mine.
In my twenties I was queen of aerobics and step classes. I used to go with my friend Janis, complete with wild coloured lycra tights and g-string lycra leotard, obligatory ankle warmers finished the ensemble.
In my thirties it was a bit of everything. I was running and spent a lot of time road riding, in fact my love of my bike went into my forties and I completed the Etape Caledonia amongst a few other races. I loved my bike and I was good at it. I used to train with the guys at Tri Preston triathlon training club and made a lot of friends there. Whilst I never competed in a triathlon (I hate swimming) I did take part in a number of duathlon events. I was also rock climbing with a group of friends from work and did this right up until I ripped a ligament in my shoulder, which stopped my climbing fun for many years. On top of that I became an Insanity addict and admittedly had a crush on Shaun T (yes I know he’s gay and I know his husband is gorgeous, but you can’t help fall in love with the guy!) I was fit, fit, fit!
As my seemingly perfect life started to unravel, so did my workouts. Going through a difficult breakup it took me all my energy to get to work everyday. Dealing with all the shit that is splitting a home, furniture, money, vindictive ex, etc. had my fitness taking a back seat. Add to that selling the house, selling my pushbike and even my Insanity DVDs and moving to America the only exercise I was managing to do was run. I was still able to run a 5k but as time went on even this got more intermittent. Whilst I was in America I went back to my HIIT training and even managed to get Es to do a couple of sessions with me, I purchased some mountain bikes and went out with Es on a few rides, but nothing close to the 25-35 mile regular Saturday rides I had been doing.
The thing with fitness is, it takes a long time to get there, and very little time to lose.
By the time I moved back to the UK, with the busyness that ensued I was running three times a week and that was it. In my twenties that would have been fine, in my forties, it just wasn’t enough. I’ve never been one to put on weight, I’ve been lucky like that, but what I had noticed was I was getting soft, my muscle definition was waning and my cellulite was spreading!! I did not like what I saw in the mirror. Yes, I was still slim (as you can see from my wedding photos) but where were my muscles?
So, realising that my running was just not cutting it anymore I decided to go back to the gym. I have always enjoyed lifting weights and as a women weight lifting can help protect bone density and prevent osteoporosis brought about by age related hormonal changes. I was genuinely shocked when I had my one to one with Dennis my trainer at how much I couldn’t lift. In my gym days I was happily leg pressing 70kg, now I was struggling at half that weight. Being a very impatient person it has taken a lot of self will to not keep piling on the weight. I have concentrated on ensuring that my form is good rather than the amount I am lifting. It’s also worth remembering that I have a number of injuries which have weakened me in various places. The rock climbing accident has weakened one of my shoulders. The motorcycle accident has weakened my hip and my second accident ripped a ligament in my knee. As I’ve got older I also realised that I do not recover from a heavy workout as quickly as I used to and therefore whilst my intensity at the gym is the same, I have to give myself more rest time than I used to.
Currently I’ve overdone it on the shoulder, and I am swallowing ibuprofen and have an ice pack on my scapula. All reminders that despite the fact that I still feel 18 inside, my body needs a little more TLC. So for the next week or so my upper body workout is out of the question, and my lower body will need to be adapted so I am not lifting heavy weight onto my shoulder (barbell squats are out of the window), back to the Smiths machine for the time being.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to look like one of those body builders! I will always have boobs and a bottom, hourglass is my shape, and personally, I don’t think looking so masculine and hard is very attractive. That is not to diminish the hard work and dedication involved, but each to their own, prancing around on stage in a spangled bikini covered in orange false tan is just not me. I do love the fitness model shape however, still womanly but fit and healthy, and whilst I probably won’t look like the 20-somethings you see on Instagram, I do aim to be the best I can be.