Me and my body have had a good chat. It was overdue. I had a bit of apologising to do. Day in, day out I like to challenge myself with more weight, more work and probably less sleep. I can only describe the feeling when I leave the gym at South Kensington or Southwark as ‘yes!’ I know I have pushed by body as hard as I possibly can, the satisfaction levels are soaring, the endorphins are high, food is on the way, I’m feeling good.
But let’s rewind say 20 minutes. My session is over, my muscles are shaking, my tummy is rumbling. I’m hungry and I’m tired but because I’m also feeling invincible, I’m in a hurry to rejoice in my achievements and indulge myself a little. My body has given me everything I could ask of it and more and my ‘end goals’ are moving closer. Like an ungrateful child, I see no reason to reward or soothe my achey muscles. They do it for me every day, it’s a given, it’s what’s expected of them, no more. So never do I give a thought to stretching or easing the fibres that have been stretched, strained and challenged. I assume that the 5 minutes I give them is enough and once I’ve plied them with a Tupperware full of carbs they will know what to do about recovery and growth.
My selfish approach towards my post session routine has left the muscles stiff, tight and out of balance. It is time I ‘fessed up and apologised for the lack of regard I give to the body parts that drive my enjoyment. It is time to focus a little more on what is good for my body’s well-being rather than my own version of it. I am a self-confessed ‘over trainer’ but when exercise is something you enjoy and revel in it is hard to say ’no’ to 3 leg days, 2 spins and a half marathon when all of them come calling in a single 24 hour time slot! Yes, I am party to a kind of madness that my body maybe doesn’t altogether share.
So it’s time to get help. I am calling ‘Six3Nine’, a luxury personal training studio in the heart of Covent Garden. I have set the team at Six3Nine the task of giving me my body back. I will be training with their in-house expert Dom three times a week and also following a comparatively relaxed menu set by him and delivered by Fresh Fitness Food. This is not about challenge it is about balance, six weeks to physically and emotionally re-charge my overworked bod.
It is about more than just cutting down my training, and learning to listen to my limbs. This, like any similar project, is about achieving the goals set and a subsequent transformation. However, this transformation will follow a significantly different path to previous challenges. When we set goals to better our health, we tend to base them on aesthetics. For example ‘I want abs’, ‘more defined delts’, ‘bigger biceps’… the list goes on… but to tick this list individuals must increase their strength, their power or their muscle mass. The problem is that aesthetics can get the better of the battle and so the original goal becomes lost amidst the desire for super abs and low body fat. It is these factors that shape a public view of the new health as ‘unhealthy’.
So in response to this reaction, I will be looking to focus on real fitness, real figures and maintainable results. It is a question of opening up the perception of ‘fitness’ to allow for continued improvement and growth, rather than simply aesthetically pleasing targets. We will be concentrating on posture, balance and strength from the core and through these I will achieve physical change without the mental pressure. The challenges will differ from previous goals because there will be less focus on strength with dumbells and more on strength with stretch.
So what exactly am I hoping to achieve?
1) To hold a handstand (no wobbling!) for 10 seconds.
2) Be equipped to do 10 unassisted pull ups.
3) After 6 weeks, to have improved my posture and movement to assist with increasing my strength and power.
Dom will work with me to achieve these goals following a full postural and movement analysis. Six3Nine strongly believe in the provision of a tailored programme developed specifically for the individual. They provide a bespoke service by examining the individual’s corporal architecture through a postural and movement assessment. This analysis allows each trainer to make transformations that the body will actually be grateful for, transformations that can be maintained beyond the time at Six3Nine.
It is going to be a tough six weeks both physically and mentally as I learn to adjust to less training, more food and less exhaustion. I have almost become accustomed to coping with achey muscles and a lack of energy. I will be covering each part of the journey from stiff through to supple and hopefully proving that aesthetics are not everything. They can and will still be achieved if you focus on giving your body a little more of what it needs to feel good as well as look good.