For many people exercise is something you do. Possibly even something you dread or something that fills you with eurphoria upon completion.
We all have our reasons for pulling on our lycra and channeling the burn.
My love of fitness isn’t something I have had for a lifetime.
True, at school, I made the teams, my competitive streak ensured I was a decent contender in all the “girl” sports. I played hockey, netball, ran and swam.
At 16, school PE ended, I found boys more exciting than seeking out any after school clubs. By the time I was 18, I did very little in the way of exercise, had found a new hobby in inhaling nicotine into my lungs and was all about the social.
In reflection, I was a bit of a prat. Rather than building a strong body, I put mine through a bit of abuse.
As a new friend pointed out to me recently, “you only get one body, so why not treat it with the upmost respect.”
I didn’t moderate – I didn’t exercise, I just ate crap, drank shite, and thought smoking was cool – denying any addiction.
I didn’t really start to find fitness until I ran my first marathon, aged 28, after having twins.
I only did that because someone laughed in my face when I said I was thinking about it. To be honest, I can see why they laughed – I didn’t really have the figure for running.
My desire to prove someone wrong turned out to be the fuel for my initial return to fitness.
Three marathons later – I accepted that I bloody hate running and this would not be the sport that would motivate me to put my trainers on each day.
Then I found my passion.
Little did I know I was finding something more than exercise. From the day I stepped into a CrossFit box four years ago, my life has changed in ways I never envisioned.
(Forgive me – as I know it sounds a little gushy)
In four years I have achieved things that my 22 year old self didn’t even imagine possible for my rather tubby, unhealthy shape.
Yet, as much as I love the burn, thrive on the workouts and lifting weights.
The real reason I rock up day after day is because of the people.
One thing I didn’t expect to find when I joined a gym was an army of friends.
This weekend the true side of community in CrossFit was beautifully demonstrated in our gym. One member, a rather delightful young girl, who has an annoying set of abs upon her personage, has recently needed the support of charity – Neurocare – as her father has faced recent brain surgery. Flipping lovely bloke with a rather incredible daughter.
This weekend, the gym gave something back to them, and hopefully gave her a bucketful of happy memories alongside some decent aches and pains.
We competed in a charity event, to raise money for Neurocare. Unifying two local CrossFit boxes in the area, trying every movement to the best of our ability. (Some peoples abilities were better than mine – who wants to handstand press up anyway!)
We competed for our friend.
We competed to raise money.
We pushed ourselves because when someone close to you faces hardship, the realisation that you only get one life, one body hits hard – and it can be a sharp reminder to enjoy every second and respect what you have.
It was a day that involved far too many wall balls, and maybe a little too much cake, definitely not enough costumes – but the ones in play were epic!
But it was a day that felt like it was wrapped in a hug, with a warmth spreading through the gym that I didn’t consider, all those years ago, would come hand in hand with my exercise regime.
A day where piling is perfectly acceptable, because it only happens when you are passionate and trying your damnest.
Yesterday, I cried, I laughed, I winced a lot and may have weed a little. I took a few moments to stare around my gym, a place where I spend far too much time but probably does me the most good. I realised that people can be simply amazing, and yesterday many of my friends shone a little brighter.
It was a good day to be alive.
We get one life, one body, it took me too long to realise that every moment counts – I don’t intend to waste another.