We Are Fit Missions
I thought writing the very first Fit Missions blog post would be easy: a dead-cert, first draft bullseye.
Well, I started writing it two weeks ago, and let’s just say I haven’t got very far with it.
I had a good think about why it was so difficult when normally I can write all day, all night, and carry on into the next day. Then I realised: Fit Missions basically saved my life. It means the world to me, and how do I convey that in a single blog post? What words do I choose? How do I tell you everything without asking you to settle in for a five hour storytelling session?
I promise you, this won’t take five hours. And if it does, you’re welcome to take tea breaks, gym breaks (of course) and even a break so you can download your first Fit Mission for free (you see? I’m that nice!).
So: how did Fit Missions manage to save my life before I even met its co-founder, my partner Tom? As Voldemort would say: “What is this magic?” (first and last Harry Potter reference, I promise). I suppose it comes down to the fundamental understanding that humans are built to be active, to eat, and to look after themselves. Three pretty simple things I know – but then why do so many of us get it so wrong? There has never been a higher percentage of us suffering from eating disorders; depression; negativity towards ourselves; laziness, and over-exercising. We only have to look back a decade to the Size Zero trend that swept across the western world: when my anorexic frame was the height of cool and earned me plenty of compliments from people I shouldn’t really have cared less about. The advent of ‘Fit Not Thin’ is still, really, less than two years into its mainstream fame, and although airbrushing in the digital age is more widely understood, it isn’t used any less frequently. We are still bombarded by images of what our perfection should be, and how we need to change ourselves to reach it.
I’ll start with being active. Until two years ago, I’d only ever managed running as a means to oblivion. Despite having ridiculously positive role models in both of my parents, bullying had taken its toll and if I ran, I did it to get out the anger and upset I felt as a teenager. As an adult, I didn’t know if I could trust myself to start regular exercise and know when to stop.
Eating is something none of us can get around, however hard we try. When starving yourself is your coping mechanism, every day, every social situation, becomes a challenge: because like it or not, food has to be a part of your life. Again: as an adult, could I eat sensibly? Could I really change the habits of a lifetime?
Being Kind to Ourselves
Finally, we come to looking after ourselves. This is central to and underpins every under-confidence, every eating disorder, every depression in the world. We don’t want to look after ourselves. We feel we don’t deserve it. God forbid we treat our best friend the way we are able to treat our own bodies!
These three fundamental actions were where I was going wrong before Fit Missions. I’d even got to the stage where I was allowing other people to misuse me. I knew it had to stop, and the only way it was going to was by tackling my fears head-on.
It always starts with a gym…
…but join a gym I did, and I wouldn’t even stay for hours on end (Positive #1). A personal trainer adopted me and showed me how to lift weights safely, taught me that they wouldn’t make me bulky (yes, I still get asked that question every day), and put together my first training programme. The first thing I noticed was that I had to eat well, otherwise I’d want to pass out halfway through my session. I chose, instead, to eat. Positive #2. Within a few weeks I noticed changes in my body: muscles developing, clothes fitting differently, and a glow to my skin I hadn’t had for years. I could look in the mirror again, and even smile at myself. Positive #3 – I was racking them up!
It was around this time, when my first training programme came to an end, that I started writing Fit Missions. They were a mix of all the training techniques I’d come to learn and so evolved over the coming months as I learned more and more about the world of training. I liked taking my scruffy piece of paper with me, dragging out the plyo boxes and kettlebells, or falling off the rower in a pool of sweat after a 1km Personal Best (I still hate rowing. It’s like burpees in that it never seems to get any easier). People looked at me in the traditional Fitness First gym in Cheltenham like I was crazy; but they also came and spurred me on, helped me improve my technique, set me challenges, and made me feel great for being there, working hard. For what felt like the first time in my life, I even had positive comments from other women, people I’d never met before. They would say I looked great, and ask what sort of training I was doing. I set up buddy training with some of them and felt even better about passing on my growing knowledge and, more importantly, positivity, to other people.
This may all be two years ago, but this is when Fit Missions really started to form. It was, and still is, a mindset: train hard, be determined, be positive. Don’t give up. If you want it, work for it. In short: work, live, love, and sweat with passion.
It was around this time that Tom and I started working together, and from day one we have trained together as though we have for years. No one pushes me to work harder than Tom does. Fast-forward to today, when we have finally had the courage to set up Fit Missions, in all of its sweaty, lively, nose-to-the-grindstone glory. Fit Missions is us: it’s knowledge to be passed on; training methods to grab with both hands; nutrition tips that come from two people who have tried it all, and know what really works. Fit Missions is building confidence in young people. It is getting the best out of yourself, your team, your training. Fit Missions is hard work, but we love it. I guess we could say the same thing about life.