On Strength…

You know when you hide behind an excuse and because that excuse is valid no one really even bothers to try and see through what you’re saying? So you just get left to carry on as you were and no one’s wise to what’s going on?

I’ve had various injuries over the last year thanks to stupidity or just bad timing. And it’s been an excuse to stop training in the gym. Truth be told, the whole competing thing killed the strength chasing that got me into the gym in the first place!

Crossfit in 2010-12 made me realise that the strength people saw in me existed and eventually manifested in becoming physical strength. As with these things it further increased my mental strength and confidence by chance. Then the strive for aesthetics and neuroticism and a good old dollop of orthorexia made the gym less fun and more of a bore and a chore. Add that it was my job to be in there more often than not, it was all going to become stale sooner or later.

Injuries brought that into the “sooner” spectrum and 2015 was the year of sporadic training and trying to deconstruct disordered eating and reducing how often I’d poke myself (I got really good at figuring out my fat % by pinching my skin/fat and visually seeing anywhere from a 3mm skin fold to the god awful 23mm on my thighs) just to “check-in” I wasn’t getting fat.

Who even does that?! I wouldn’t – I love food and take advantage of my genetics…and the fact that I twitch and fidget a lot.

FFWD to 2016 and a short lived relationship fuelled by watching UFC championship fights and spending an afternoon or an evening going to a local bouldering gym and I’d found a place that was the perfect balance for me to get out of my head, and socialise a little bit but not deal with overwhelming crowds (who knew that working as a personal trainer for 3 years and effectively going from living in nightclubs to studying research papers in bed would cause for mild social anxiety).

What’s more, depending on how you climbed, you could deal with technique or turn it into a hell of a workout but it never plays out that way. Being the mental chess that it is, it’s essentially you versus a route (and any other vertigo issues you may have). Being the competitive sort, and being able to challenge and push myself or be challenged and pushed by others made a perfect match. Even though I’m still injured!

FFWD 5 months into bouldering and I’ve finally accepted my injuries will go away provided I make an effort to work on them, so I’ve got a sports therapist I see weekly now to keep muscles from spasming and becoming overly tight. And I’ve gone back to training in the gym my way (for strength and efficiency). Today I have added 20kg to my reverse narrow grip pull downs. For YEARS I’ve been stuck at the 40-45kg mark. And thanks to 5 months of bi-weekly bouldering I’ve added 20kg to that specific pull.

In a beautiful way this shows just how much fitness isn’t about going to the gym, but finding something you love and doing it consistently without negativity or punishment.

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