In my life I am totally surrounded by physically fit people, my mum for example is a 3 time Ironman (amongst many other things) and my boyfriend could run 13 miles backwards with a burger in one hand and a pipe in the other, having just got in from a night out. So with that in mind, it should make it super easy for me to hop into my lycra, fill up a water bottle and pootle on after them right? Wrong.
Perhaps its worth mentioning at this point that I cycled from Paris to London last year, and not one month afterwards, my boyfriend (who had NOT been on the ride and who was on my sister’s bike) had his hand on the small of my back and was pushing me up the hill. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so pissed off and since then I have I secretly suspected that I’ve never actually been that fit and that I’ve probably just been incredibly lucky that my legs haven’t given up on me yet.
My dream is to one day, set off for a run around Hyde Park (about 6 miles from and back to my house), looking fantastic in my lycra, probably just wearing a sports bra (because I’ll be looking so great) with an equally fabulous friend and we will natter the whole way around, and we probably wont even sweat because it will be soooo easy.
But I’m not holding my breath on that one so lets focus on the job at hand: Why is it so hard to start getting fit?
Well obviously motivation is a big factor but often, on the surface anyway, that is totally not what we’re lacking. Nearly all of us will be following a ‘motivational instagram account’ full of immense women, holding the plank with the slogan ‘no pain, no gain…’ we’ll have probably found a very unpleasant picture of ourselves to grimace at every morning before heading exercise-wards, or perhaps you’ve got a picture of Jennifer Lawrence (aka dream bod) stuck on the mirror. Whatever your penchant for self discipline, we’ve all got our little ways, but sometimes the louder voice is just screaming ‘WHAT”S THE BLOODY POINT!?’
The biggest challenge most women face when it comes to exercise? It’s us ladies. Unless you’re already fit, or naturally born that way, a gym can be a very daunting place, the streets even more so. Despite the fact that Joe Public couldn’t care squat if you were cartwheeling down the street with your knickers on your head, we’ve got this overwhelming sense that he’s judging us. (he’s not by the way – chances are he’s either looking at your bum or hating himself because he hasn’t had the motivation to do what you’re doing).
Organised exercise is a bugger too, often this seems like a great alternative, but while doing my research on this I discovered a group (which because I’m in a good mood will remain nameless) of ladies that meet up in a park in South London, preferably wearing pink, and workout together. So that sounds cool, a lot of like minded women, facing their demons together, I nearly signed up then and there until I looked on their website and found photos of the group, gorgeous, velvet tracksuit clad women, hardly breaking a sweat and made up to the nines. Needless to say I didn’t sign up. Because that sounds like hell. I wanted to see some women working their asses to the bone, sweaty as anything, endorphins just about shining through their tears, because I know that I could go there, look like a twat and feel fantastic, having not been judged one little bit. PS. If anyone knows one of these groups, spread the words because they are amazing!
Even exercising with friends is hard, it’s like playing tennis with someone worse than you, you, for some unknown mythical reason become about as useful as a chocolate teapot. On the backhand (see what I did there?) you may well play a better game if your playing against Rafael Nadal (if you can put your tongue back in your mouth long enough to serve that is) but you’d, lets face it, probably feel like you were holding him back a little bit. It’s the same with exercising with your nearest and dearest, you don’t want to set off on a run with them and then 300m in get a stitch and have to call it a day, because you’d feel like a plonker.
And that right there girls, is what the problem is. We don’t want to feel like a plonker. Which is weird, considering that, at one point in our lives, most of us have probably tried to convince a pub full of people that we can do the robot and had no inhibitions about showing them how we get our 'Peter Crouch On..' and some of us haven't even regretted it that much the next morning. And so although I’m not necessarily suggesting that 3 Jaeger Bombs pre-workout are the answer, but that sense of, ‘why not!’ might be?
My mum was asked to do a marathon the other day and instantly said ‘oh no I couldn’t possibly,’ – now this isn't true, she absolutely could - she is the woman who every summer does the toughest physical feat on the planet – a 2.6 mile swim, 115 mile bike ride and a 26 mile (yes marathon distance) run, all in under 17 hours, known to it’s friends as Ironman. So yes, of course she could do a bloody marathon, she could do it tomorrow, I mean, hello?! her idea of ‘popping’ out for a run last Sunday was 10 miles - of course she would be fine, but (although I haven’t asked her) I suspect that it’s the unknown that is stopping her.
That’s what makes it so hard, that’s what makes us stop. We don’t want to be bad at it, we don’t want to let ourselves down, hell we definitely don’t want to let anyone else down. But you won’t! By starting you’re already half way there. You’re doing it for you, and so, with the same gusto that you can apply to the robot, get your trainers on, throw self respect out the window, and get moving, do your cartwheels, your dancing, and if you hate it, then stop it, but we’ve got to try, in our own way, and in our own time, because once you start getting fit, getting fit will become so, so much easier.