Tag Archives: fitness

Fighting Fit

So, last weekend I went to Combat Academy, I was invited along with my Lifestyle:MK co-host Audrey who had met the brains, and brawn behind the enterprise earlier that week on a T.V show. On a Sunday morning, in a unassuming part of Leighton Buzzard which on the drive there led me up the garden path quite literally. To find out more – please CLICK HERE

We finally realised that we had arrived when we spotted people standing around in camo fatigues – is that even the right word? Berets were also employed. It all looked very serious. And I am not a serious person (despite all the ranting blogs I throw around!) so I was genuinely worried that I would immediately find a clash of personalities. There were smiles and warm welcomes from everyone, we were then ushered into the porta-cabin that serves at the head quarters. It was open with plenty of room, and the people already in the room were again welcoming. Not long after we sat down, we had another group of girls join us – who were also invited, including the utterly inspiring Rozana McGrattan who has been through so much growing up on the streets in Sao Paulo – she has released a book titled Street Girl which you can pick up easily on Amazon by CLICKING HERE (although I am sure other booksellers carry it).

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It was a lovely environment, we all talked about ourselves, that is, everyone in the room, staff, senior members, and of course, those of us hoping for a spa day (thanks Aud) and it was a really relaxed atmosphere. We felt a little closer to each other, breaking the ice. Once that was over, we had a little training session discussing common mistakes, issues and how to avoid, and what to do in certain situations. This was laying down the theory behind both predictor and prey and putting things into context before the laying of hands.

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Now, given the choice, I would have stayed out of the physical part of the day. I didn’t think I would be fit enough, that I would catch on, I was worried about my shape (I am squishy). Would I be able to do any of these things, would my leggings stay up? (the last is a legitimate concern!) And of course I didn’t want to make a complete prat out of myself in front of strangers, and worse, professionals who no doubt would be judging me.

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It got worse, after warming up, being show some simple moves, instead of being split into small groups, we would be going out in front of the rest of the group? KILL ME NOW! But the atmosphere was wholly supportive, cheers and clapping. And while you are in the moment, you actually do forget everything. It was fun, the first part of the training was about distance and how to keep the distance between you and your aggressor. Which reminded me of the boxing training I did all that time ago.

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As the training progressed, it got progressively harder, punches coming, remembering to block, and block well. Looking for openings and grappling with people who were making it harder and harder. Oh and did I mention that we also had to drop and pin someone? I am sure I am not using the correct terminology. But for those seconds (felt like hours) I wasn’t worried about what I looked like, I wasn’t pulling at my t shirt, shifting my weight, avoiding peoples stares. I was in the moment, I was doing my best, I was learning skills that I genuinely could use.

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During the time we were outside, there was a real sense of family, we cheered each other one, we congratulated each other. It felt like a group of friends, not people who to a degree had never met each other. We felt elated when we did well, we were not looking for our team mates to do badly, we were watching their techniques and cheering when they nailed it. At no point did it feel like we were being judged for anything other than how we implemented what we had learnt.

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Toward the end the session, we got to watch the instructors and regulars pitch against each other, it was interesting to see how simple techniques and ideas could be used in different ways. And inspiring, very inspiring! The day was finished off by a debrief where we all had a chance to chat and go over what we had learnt and how we felt about the day. Even though I initially had reservations about the boot camp, and given the choice, there are many, many things I would have chosen to do? I really, really enjoyed it! Four hours flew by, all preconceptions that I had when I first arrived were quickly, and thoroughly dispelled. There was no macho, regimented, army atmosphere.

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What you will find, and what I found, is a safe, supportive environment. You will learn a lot about yourself, about habits you have, what you may want to change. The thinking is based in fact, and practised. You come away with a lot to think about, and have the understanding of why, and not just how. And you feel like you made friends, and that everyone there wants to help, and support you, and for you to succeed. And you don’t get to go before a round of hugs. All barriers that may have been in place, any nerves, any apprehensions that you had when you first get out of your car…. all completely gone by that last hug.

And I am going back tomorrow for another round – wish me luck! 

Truth behind injury

Specifically, my injury. I can’t and won’t talk about another persons injury – as if!

So, a few years ago, I came off a horse, I thought we would be continuing to the right of a bush, my horse decided at the last moment, to go left. I had a Hollywood worthy pitch over her head, landing first on my head and then on my booty (which luckily has plenty of padding). The worst thing was a. realising the other 2 riders hadn’t noticed, and secondly… most importantly to me …. how the hell was I going to get back on…. Yikes. But I managed it – I have years of experience of adjusting stirrups on the hoof so we didn’t hang around.

I didn’t really think much of it for the rest of the hack, I had bigger things to worry about, but once I got off… oh boy! Every part of my felt bruised. So off i went to the pub and enjoyed the rest of my afternoon.

Wow that was a short blog!

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But that wasn’t what I wanted to write about – shortly after my stunt dive, I developed a lump on the arch of my left foot. I am the worlds worst patient and will only go to my doctor when it becomes borderline fatal. But after six weeks, a pea sized lump was on my foot, and I couldn’t walk properly. So off I go to the GP…. I get fobbed off and asked to wait another 6 weeks. I go back to the GP and get told that I need to book an apt with another doctor at the surgery who would remove the lump under local anesthetic. Not a good patient, remember? So off I got to reception and book in an apt and duly attend in another couple of weeks for – what I thought – was an apt to remove the lump. But no, I am instead referred to my local podiatry department – another 6 weeks waiting, still not entirely sure what is going on… now I am going to have to cut this short because it is already ridiculous. I go to podiatry, I have a steroid injection directly into the lump. I go back for a follow up after 6 weeks, and get told that the injection should have been in my ankle… After another 6 weeks I go back to the GP because at each stage I had had a different diagnosis. At this point having already seen 5 medical professions, I finally see a doctor who can diagnose the issue and give me advice. Great.

During this time i have continued with my dancing, classes, workouts and walking (I walk for at least an hour a day to and from work) and consequently have managed to cause irreparable damage to the tendon on my foot, congratulations to me. It was certainly a combination of not understanding what the cause was, what the injury was, and certainly not having the right information on how to best treat it.

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So what does that mean for me now? Well frankly it means chronic pain in my foot, whereas I had previously had pain on getting up after being stationary for a while thanks to the plantar fasciitus, now I often find it painful and tender on the side and top of my foot, difficult to negotiate stairs, sudden onset of pain. Basically every step I take is painful, with the added bonus pain. It means that I stopped dancing, I quit high impact, and I slowed down.

What else does it mean….it means, that I got fat. I mean I was never thin, I was not skinny, but I had toned and honed my body so that I didn’t hate looking at it, that I would wear a body con dress and feel happy. But you know what, diet? Yeah you can have a questionable diet when you are burning those calories, but the moment you stop? Yeah that.

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Blue Weights, Green Apple, and Tape Measure

Things change, I used to run long distance as a teenager, worked with animals as long as I could remember, dancing has always been part of my life, but when you grown up, things change. Your body changes. What doesn’t change is your responsibility to your body. I am fat, I am not happy about it. And yes, I can say that I stopped my usual forms of exercise because of injury, certainly if I hadn’t had the injury I am unlikely to have stopped.

But equally, I could have paid more attention to what I was (am) eating, I could have made sure that I wasn’t putting in more energy than was being expended, especially as my job has become more and more sedimentary. I certainly should have looked at alternative forms of exercise. But I didn’t.

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This is what I am trying to say is that IT HAS TO STOP – I have literally no excuse, the pain is chronic, it won’t get better, I put up with it daily so I can damned well put up with it during some classes. With that in mind, I have signed up to a new local dance class, and I am hoping to go to a skate class as well. And you know, if the pain gets all that bad, I could even pop an anti-inflamatory…

No more excuses people, this girl, can and will stop hiding being the injury. It isn’t what makes me, it won’t be what kills me.

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A body of expectation

So in the show, and I guess, a follow on from my Body Shaming post a few weeks ago…. unrealistic expectations of body image. 

The images we see everywhere, in films, on TV, in advertising…. it is all smoke and mirrors, even day to day, people wear slimming aids, support wear, enhancing underwear, and dress to suit their shape. 

When you look at yourself in the mirror? Are you happy? I know I am not, some people look fantastic naked – others… (like me) look much better in clothing. And I mean that from a personal perspective. I don’t make a habit of looking at people naked, but all those I have seen in a state of undress look fantastic! For example, the always stunning Aura – she is a fantastic model – check out her page : Aura – Alt Model and I love seeing what she has come up with. But don’t get me wrong, I don’t look at her with any jealousy!

But when we are subjected to images from every direction it is easy to start doubting yourself, so it is important to make sure you understand the work that goes into the images you are seeing – for example, Victoria’s Secret Angels that walk in the VS catwalk show are contracted for 12 months, where personal trainers, chefs, physiotherapists, nutritionists are all on hand to make sure that they are on top form for their show. They aren’t living the same life as many of us. 

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Then we have people like Liz Hurley and Elle Macpherson who are refusing to let age be anything but a number. Liz quotes ; ‘it’s part of my job description to not be too fat. As you get older you have to make more effort’. She apparently avoids sweets, bread, pasta, cheese and crisps. For both these women, it is vital to their career to make sacrifices. 

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But more and more, we hear that children are thinking they need to diet – you know something is wrong. It is important to make sure that children understand the work that goes into looking so good. There is a rise in eating disorders in children. Reading more and more stories of people having ribs removed so they can have a more slender waist. The models, people in the public eye, like Liz are role models, but as much as they can do interviews and explain what does into their daily regime, people do need to make sure they take this in, and it filters down to the next generation. We need to start looking toward out athletes to provide a good role model for not only children, but everyone. Is there any other industry that has such a varied range of bodies, in both men and women? Any other industry where you body will not be judged on the outside alone? Where strength, commitment and endurance are lauded? So while I am not for a moment knocking the hard work the ladies I have mentioned already in this post, maybe we can look at people like Jessica Ennis-Hill as role models?

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Jessica Ennis-Hill competes in the womens long jump during the Loughborough European Athletics Permit Meet at Loughborough University, Loughborough.

What I am trying to say, is that transparency is great, and we need it. But you need to be honest with yourself. You need to be prepared to do some work. By blaming models for their bodies, is body shaming. It isn’t okay just because they are slender, and tanned, that they are tall, they work hard, and although I wish society would not put so much pressure on women to conform, beating each other up about it is not going to change anything! 

Remember, you are beautiful, you are strong, and it is your body. You are the only person that should matter when making any decisions with regard to your body, how you dress, how you eat. It does mean you take responsibility. It also means, appreciate the work that goes into that ‘perfect’ body you wish you had. Don’t try and find something negative when looking at WWE’s Naomi – just remember all the training, bumps, bruises, all the missed holidays, all the nice food she won’t be treating herself.

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In case you missed our show this week :

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