Tag Archives: Fitness

Don’t Give Up… Get Dirty.

I innocently said, “I’d love to do something like that”. Never knowing just how much I meant it.

Eight months ago, when I started this particular leg of my journey, I considered myself unmemorable. Call it a lack of self confidence. I had this tragic habit of looking at anything challenging and assuming it was beyond me. What a terrible way to live.

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This last year has been wonderful for me, even the pitfalls and struggles have served to build me up and, in the end, make me stronger.

Because without challenges, we cannot grow. And without growth, we do not live.

I’m not going to say that it was meeting any one person that changed my outlook, or that one day I woke up a new woman. Though there are certainly people and events that contributed; I have found that you’re more likely to be changed by a series of small, nearly unnoticeable events than one cataclysmic happening.

The obstacle course was just one day. Just one more thing I’m able to do. Just one more reason to be proud of who I am.

The difference between me today, and the me I was a year ago, is that not only do I know what I need to do to improve who I am, and where my life is going, but I’m not afraid of it. Whether I am alone or supported by family and friends, I will succeed. All I need to do… is do it.

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I’m smart enough to know when I’ve hit a limit and when I’ve just given up. Though I work hard, I haven’t yet worked ‘as hard as I can’. Our breaking points have nothing to do with the strength of our bodies – they are determined entirely by the strength of our will. The moments when I give up, they have never been because I can’t go on. They have always been because I won’t.

It doesn’t make me a failure. It gives me something to work on.

It might seem odd, to have learnt so much about who I am, in the confines of a gym. But it’s true. What before was “I can’t” has become “I will” – and as I do more and more of what I had assumed was impossible for me, (because it simply wasn’t ‘me’), I realize just how far I have yet to go. This isn’t daunting. It’s exciting. What am I going to do tomorrow, or a year from now, that I have never yet dreamed of?

What an exhilarating rush, to realize that your potential is so vast, you could never imagine the full breadth and width of it.

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Next Up. Spartan Sprint.

 

What Are You Capable Of?

Climbing Upward

There is a great deal to be said for accomplishing something that a former version of yourself would have been convinced she could not do. There is more to be said for realizing that, while it’s a great achievement, it doesn’t represent a fraction of what you are capable of.

It is easy to say, life is good enough, I’m doing ok – lets not mess with the status quo. Seems like a solid, responsible thing to do. It’s not. The status quo is there for you to beat, stomp on, crumple up and eventually leave behind you in the dirt. If you don’t, you are doing the least responsible thing you can, because you’re not living up to your potential. And if you’re not living up to your potential, you are wasting the most precious commodity you have. Your life. (And, as I’m sure my mother would be happy to tell you, wasting what you’re given is not even remotely responsible of you.)

Why the speech? I beat a milestone this weekend, actually in a way, I beat a few. I started kickboxing because it was something I had always wanted to try, and never thought I would do. Beginning was a huge stepping stone for me. Because of this, I began to learn a little bit about strength, about confidence and a whole lot about myself.

kickboxingFor example. I’m not a mouse. Some people would tell you that I am, but I’m not. A mouse wouldn’t have been willing to compete in a karate/kickboxing tournament. But I did. And came home with a Silver in Sparring. Is the little trophy sitting on my shelf going to change the world? The chances are slim. Did it bestow me with some all-powerful skill? I don’t think so. (But if it does I’ll let you know.) But that doesn’t make it any less of an achievement to be proud of. I can tick off another box, move another step forward, and that is always a reason to hold your head high.

Today I got to trade in my white hand wraps (the sign of an un-tried beginner) for the happy glow of yellow wraps — a sign to all that I have moved up in the world. I’m still a beginner, which is perfectly fine because I am aware of just how much I have to learn; but I am better than I was, and will continue to improve.

I’ve set a new goal for myself – if you’re curious you can find out more about it -> here.

My point today? Go for it. Even if the current version of you can’t hack it. Because the ‘you’ of the future can, and if you don’t give her a chance; you will never discover what you are capable of.

Don’t you want to know?

On Being Strong

Barre de fer dans la forge

There are an endless supply of definitions for the word ‘strength’ but the one I like, the one I’m going to base this post on, is this:

Strength is the inherent capacity to manifest energy, to endure, and to resist.

To endure. To persevere. To fight through that which threatens to overpower you.

The overpowering force in your life might be depression, anxiety, fear. Fear of loss. Fear of spiders. Fear of failure. It might be stress, another person’s will – or the urge to collapse when you have that one last terrible push-up to do.

But to endure is to succeed. To endure is to grow. To endure is to become stronger.

Strength can only come from finding your limits, and pushing past them. Again and again and again.

Strength will never be purely physical; there are many with incredible strength of body, it does not guarantee that they also possess strength of mind. True strength is shown in those who have been tried and tested and, pardon the metaphor, forged in the flames of struggle and adversity.

Beyond admiring those who were stronger than myself I never really thought much about strength until recently. I assumed that physical strength was beyond me and had the rather terrible tendency to accept my limitations, mental, physical and emotional.

Over the last year I lost a decent amount of weight; the result should have been contentment with my body. It should have made me happy. Skinny is good. Fat is bad…. right?

Some rather intelligent individual reminded me that there is a difference between being ‘scrawny’ and being fit. He brought me an entirely new awareness of what it really means to be strong. And oddly, for me, an intense desire to find my own strength. I’m not sure that anything feels as satisfying as realizing that you can do something today that you couldn’t do yesterday. To feel muscle where once there was nothing more than flesh holding you limply together. To be sweating your butt off in a room full of people and know that six months before you would have been too mortified by the thought to even consider it. To stand your ground even when it’s the very last thing you want to do.

Strength. Even in small doses, even if the difference isn’t noticeable to anyone but yourself – even then, it’s a heady wonderful feeling. I’m still working on exactly what it means, but what I do know is that I want it.

Besides, I have to admit, strength is sexy; whether it’s conviction of character or the ability to carry me with one arm. So overcome. Endure. Stick to your guns (pun intended), whatever they may be, because you can bet that I’m going to stick to mine.