Fitness festivals and bootcamps part 1. A personal perspective from a beginner
In the last two weeks, I have attended two fitness festivals (which incorporated activities for the mind as well as the body) and have just started a week long bootcamp.
My personal aim has been to challenge myself to attain a regular exercise routine. I want to claim, that all coveted exercising five times per week accolade. In England, the National Health Service (NHS) suggests that ALL 19-64 year olds to stay healthy, should either do 150 minutes (30 minutes for 5 days) per week of moderate activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity.
See the following for a more eloquent description of the guidance: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/physical-activity-guidelines-for-adults.aspx
I’d like to see if this opens a box of benefits that will help with:-
-energy levels and productivity
-balance out even more my reaction to personal stress
-improve my culinary desires and choices
-increase my sense of wellbeing
-and anything, anything that can help with FLATULENCE (not for me, but for my partner)
The Cardiac Challenge – sweat sessions
The first ‘festival’ attended was sweatlife (https://thesweatlife.co.uk/).
Held in Shadwell, East London & run by Lululemon, it was the most well organised event I’ve ever been to. That might sound tedious, but to someone who is new to fitness, whose mates were too chicken to attend with me, you just want to be told where you need to be, and what you need to do. Simple.
Option for you to chose before hand up to two ‘sweat’ sessions (i.e. any session that would make you sweat – this could be a HIIT class, or aerobic class for example) and as many yoga sessions as you could downward facing dog yourself around.
Each session had not only the instructor, but a tribe of assistant coaches who would rock your hips into place, or support your feet into a handstand, or strap your feet up into a TRX thingy-migigy. Essentially, they would place that stray limb or joint where it should be.
The instructors appeared entirely vested in everyone getting the most out of what they personally could from the class. Bonus! You don’t want to go to one of these things, and feel that you have to prostrate your sweaty body onto a trainer to get their assistance whilst your having what could be a cardiac event. I’m just saying.
Robbie from Heartcore (http://www.heartcore.co.uk/the-workout/) led my first sweat class. Whoa! Wow!
I had my posterior in a rower, then my feet were on the seat of the rower and my hands were on the ground. Then i was hurled into a TRX where I did pilates type stretches, and cardio based activity.
It was multifaceted, and we were all supported throughout. Nobody collapsed during the proceedings (always good to know).
Yoga was eye opening. Did my first two sessions in life.
First session was with Annie Clarke, author of ‘mind, body and bowl‘. I was late (of course I was – I try to recall now, rather than better late than never, better never late).
I balanced my way between yoga mats and poses, and thankfully was greeted with a welcoming, permissive smile by Annie. Then I got into the first pose, and started sweating. What in the hell was going on? I thought only hot yoga could make me drip sweat. I presumed, well, it must be from rushing here. It’ll settle down. Let me get my breathing on point.
I went from dripping a drop of sweat or two, to noticing some hand slippage, courtesy of my sweat laden palms. Breathing became an effort, as the poses although apparently ‘fundamental’ (I’m talking downward dog, then into essentially a plank with your hands close to your chest, then into cobra pose (Bhujangasana)), but throughout your tensing your muscles, and holding the poses just enough to exert that tension, and work your core.
Key message, don’t underestimate the ability of yoga to exert your body, as well as your mind.
It was the first class that I had ever gone to where people weren’t ogling each other as much as the instructor. The individuals there were focussing on their breathing, their form, and on what they were able to do. It helped me focus, although late, and sweaty on the same.
Yeezus yoga yaps on
I ended sweatlife by attending a yoga class by Ryan Leier (http://ryanleier.com), well known to the yoga community. He was a Caucasian man, with a slender muscular body, and a wiry looking long fair haired beard. A baseball cap sat proudly on his head. He made me feel comfortable.
Ryan’s approach was engaging, comical in places, and throughout kept the concept of acquiring grace, and attaining the pose that you were able to do, not the one the person next to you was showcasing. Ryan would remind us to recall our intention that we set at the beginning of the class.
In some of the cardiac based classes, they split us into groups at times (I was a ‘rock and roller’ i believe in one class, and i forget the name of the other sparring team), and it was about beneficial competition to spur your experience.
The yoga classes had a different take. We were all taken through the same moves, but the focus was more on setting an individual intention of what you were hoping to get from the class to yourself, and using that as your personal anchor. It was about your yoga practice, aside from the group, whilst being within the group. Going as far as you were able to go, towards a place of comfort. There was no competition here. You were urged to adopt ‘child’s pose’, focus on your breathing, and then return at your pace, if a pose was overly taxing.
Wellbeing and fitness festivals. My thoughts, part 1
The day at sweatlife was full of contrasting opposites.
On the one hand, there was competitive, adrenaline infused, heart racing, up-then down turns, and then yoga, where I felt muscles I had never been aware of stretch, flex and extend for the first time (well it seemed that way to me). Throughout both, I felt I was meeting elements of myself that I hadn’t been introduced to before.
I had never had my feet suspended in a TRX cable. Hadn’t gone into a handstand in years, but seeing what my body, and more importantly to me what my mind was able to tell my body it could do, and then see it manifest was fascinating.
I ran faster on the spot than I had ever done. Held poses I had never heard of, and it humbled me to the fact of how much I was able to do, just by showing up and giving things a go.
My thoughts continued
A thought came: well, if i can do this, what else can I do?
How can i challenge myself in my clinical practice, in my relationship with my partner. What can I do to foster an even better relationship with my brothers, my friends, the receptionists at work, the motorist who I just can’t seem to overtake (because they made sure I never had quite enough space to. You know who you are!)
One thing that brings me a sense of wellbeing, is when I’m kind to myself and I stretch myself at the same time. When I show empathy & compassion towards others as well as myself, but then I’m also in a position to challenge their perspective, and they mine.
I left the venue excited, energised and eager to do more. Wanted to learn more (and not just yoga poses, wanted to revise for my professional exams right then and there, and find out the latest remedies in flatulence (for my partner..))
When you realise you can do something you didn’t think was accessible to you, it can work to open you up to tap into other areas of your life, where you want to see what you can manage, and what you can take there to.
My thoughts continued part 2 (almost there, I promise)
When I came home. I recalled my day to my partner, my dad, on instagram (still very much a novelty to me), then sunk into a bath and thought ‘now what?’
I urge you all to consider that. ‘Now what?’
So your job is not rewarding. Your fixing to leave your partner. Your overweight, out of shape, and your doctor says your depressed. You have very little interest in things anymore, and your always tired.
A good day is when you come back home and you have that space in time where you can distract yourself through TV, the radio, music, perhaps even drugs or that third glass of wine, and escape the day you just had, and forget the threat of the same day that awaits you.
Your at home in your comfortable abode, looking at your lush garden, standing in your neat but cosy kitchen, considering which herbal tea to flood your hot water on. You love your job, your marrying your partner, your comfortable in your own skin. You have great relationships with those around you, and you smile at the prospect of tomorrow.
I have no idea. You tell me.
Perhaps though start by asking yourself if your ‘ok’/’content’/’happy’/’satisfied’, with where you find yourself right now. That could be your gateway into exploring your sense of wellbeing. If your not ok with where your at, try to change it. If you can’t change it, change how you think about it. Others have said that before. If it aint broke, don’t fix it.
If your in a good space, what could make it even better, or what practices/routines could you incorporate to silently assist in maintaining the space your in effortlessly. Perhaps you’ve never had to think about your sense of wellbeing because things are that good.
Now do, now engage, now try, now fail, now succeed, sweat, stretch, sleep soundly, stay awake, laugh at yourself, eat well with a sprinkling of badly, think some, act more. Now do whatever comes to you, with no judgement. That’s part of wellbeing in my view. Whether you need to sweat more to attain it, rest more to attain it, act on it. Life is an active expression. Execute. If your already there, bask in it and live it. Enjoy.
If your not ‘there’, be comforted by these words: the journey is always better than the destination.
Part 2, 3, and possibly 4 on fitness festivals and bootcamps coming soon.