Timing is everything – surviving and thriving

Time is my greatest luxury, my greatest resource and my greatest challenge. Time is something I have blogged about before. Time works in two spheres for me – the weekly plan we get through and the long term. I’ve been living in the here and now and neglecting the bigger picture this last year – and that’s ok – it had to be that way. I have a baby who was very premature, has needed operations and is facing developmental challenges. Survival meant taking a day at a time.

Survive we did. In fact, Leo is thriving. We navigated his first day at home, first night in his own room, and his first birthday. We managed mummy’s first day back at work and are now in a great routine. Leo is thriving. But I am not.

Lately, this approach of keeping on keeping on has taken its toll. I am tired. A lot. By Saturday morning, I wake up sluggish and run down. I often feel like I have the beginning of a cold. I don’t get much fresh air, nor exercise. I don’t get enough nutrients from my food. My hair grew out of its style. I feel puffy. I’m not organised enough at home. I never got around to shifting the baby weight. I have stopped looking after me.

It’s a classic trap for a carer. You neglect yourself for the person you care for to the extent you risk not being able to help them anymore. I don’t want to be too tired or rundown to play with Leo. I want to be full of fun and energy. Last weekend, at the zoo of all places, something clicked in my head. I need to move more. I need to find an exercise I like. I need to get out of my head and out of my house. I always feel better when I have a routine that includes eating well and exercising. Physically and mentally.

The answer had started to appear a while ago when I went back to work. One of the many new tenants in the building (The Circle) was Lynn Warren who I had met before and was delighted to see running her business, Better: Gen, from our premises. She had the vision to see an old IT suite as a centre for the community that smashed the usual barriers to exercise. As a former mental health nurse, she was ideally placed to motivate absolutely anyone to get the benefits of exercise. Lynn’s clients can be toddlers, teenagers, family groups, have dementia, profound disabilities, mental health conditions or all and none of these things. She is a total force for change in the community but is completely grounded in understanding the people she helps. Her enthusiasm for what she does goes beyond the realms of personal training to a vocation to reach every generation of our community and see them thrive.

Lynn runs a circuits class for people who work at The Circle. I went to a few and had fun. It was good to work out with my colleagues and I felt completely supported and understood. I knew that Lynn could help me. Now that I work part-time I also have to consider what I do with my finances more carefully. I am conscious of who benefits from my spending. Faceless health clubs interested in profits, quick-fixes and a culture based around a certain aesthetic have had enough of my money. Investing in someone who is working hard on their own business, helping the community and operating ethically is much more appealing. I have committed to twice-weekly personal training sessions to provide the psychological and physiological jumpstart I need for the next five weeks.

In my first session, Lynn weighed me, measured me and took some photos from various angles. None of these things scared me because they are the starting point to measure progress. She then surprised me with a meal plan. I had not expected that. Although it was much stricter than I usually am, I was actually quite pleased. Lynn has taken the thinking out of my food shop for the next few weeks and I will be taking steps to eat better and get the most out of my exercise. I always find you get more results when addressing both and once in the right mindset I enjoy the preparation and cooking. We then did a workout where Lynn assessed my overall strength and fitness and I think we were both quite pleasantly surprised. There is plenty of work to do but I’m within the ballpark to thrive again.

I am going to blog my journey and post updates on Instagram. I hope this openness dispels some myths on what personal training looks like and by avoiding filters show the reality of a 30-something trying to address her wellbeing. No food styling, no fancy gym wear and absolutely no ‘Buddha bowls’.


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