If there was such thing as a nerd to jock spectrum, I’d definitely fall closer to the former than the latter. I wasn’t brought up in a household where my folks followed particular sporting teams, and if anything they thought that participating in organised sport was a pointless expense. I went to what I would consider to be ‘sporty’ primary and secondary schools, where physical education was compulsory, and for the most part seldom fun. I wasn’t always a fat kid, nor did I suffer from asthma half as bad as my brother did, but I was certainly uncoordinated and mediocre enough to feel overly self-conscious when attempting anything resembling exercise.
There are two things that I genuinely did enjoy, despite my protestations to almost everything else I had to do whilst at school – netball and rollerskating. I begged my parents for permission to play hockey, but they claimed that it was too rough, which was probably true but for me that was all the more reason to get into it. To this day I’m not sure whether they just didn’t want to invest in all the equipment required if it was a passing phase, or they thought that I’d be so bad at it that I’d break bones and rack up epic medical bills. What they may not have realised is that netball can be one of the most violent non-contact sports possible, and that rollerskating in certain applications can also get costly if it goes wrong.
I should probably come out to my parents and tell them that I’m playing netball in a weekly social and mixed competition, as well as doing roller derby training for up to three sessions. One of the traditions for own-choice-PT in the catering section is indoor hockey, which we usually get around to playing once or twice a week. On early shifts we usually cop two compulsory sessions of instructor-led PT, and there is also a 5km run around base most Friday mornings. Add all that up, and it may come as a surprise to you when I say that I still don’t consider myself to be a sporty or even a fit person. I’ve slowly been changing this attitude though, and after ninety days of being a guinea pig for Sessions, I’m actually feeling somewhat accomplished.
I can’t remember how I found out about Sessions in the first place, but I thought it couldn’t do any harm to be part of the free pilot program. It’s essentially a catalyst for being more active, like having a personal trainer without having a beefcake douchebag in your face whilst you’re sweating it out. Over the past three months I’ve been in regular contact with a coach (sometimes hearing from him more often than my husband, hah!), and have slowly but surely established a habit of being active. I was doubtful in the early days, when I was only scheduling three or four sessions a week and sometimes missing them, but as the weeks went on I found myself wanting to tack on an extra run here or there, and I was cheered on remotely whenever I had beaten a previous record for the number of weekly sessions.
Although I don’t really know my coach from a bar of soap (Hi Nick!), I think that over time I developed whatever the fitness freak equivalent is of Stockholm syndrome. Not that I was a hostage to the program or anything, but I found that the small difference of having someone other than myself to be accountable and reportable to, motivated me to get involved with more things than I usually would. When Zombies, Run! was released, I had someone to blather about it to, and going out for a voluntary run translated in my brain to: I’ve got a mission to complete. Someone at work mentioned a local netball competition starting up, so I asked for further details despite wondering whether my netball career had already peaked a decade ago, and ended up being the only cook to turn up to the games we won that night. While I was in the US last month, I felt compelled to throw some money at a Fitbit, to get more specifics on my activity data. Although I’m not in a bouting derby league at the moment, when I heard that The Great Southern Slam was on this year, I thought I’d sign up and have something to train towards anyway!
The thing with me is that I think I need a good enough reason to exercise in the first place, and then once I establish the habit of doing so, I’m happy enough to roll with it. My main problem, which has existed for as long as I can remember, is that I don’t generally find exercise to be fun. I know it’s probably something to do with age-old synapses firing the way they’ve always done, but even in recent memory there have been times where things hurt or feel awkward and I really don’t want to be there. I think that Sessions worked for me because I wasn’t being nagged to do things that I didn’t want to do, but I was being motivated to do more of what I was already doing (even when it wasn’t much to begin with). I’m also the sort of person that is pretty useless at motivating myself, but responds well to the prodding of others.
If you’d like to give it a shot, this link will give you three months for the price of one, for $29.95 (and a free month to me, woohoo!). I’m continuing with the paid service because I kinda want to see where I’m going to be in another three months. Not that I believe in the calories in/out diet mentality, but I’ve made a concerted effort to ignore any previous obsessions I was having over food, during the trial period. One of the things I respect about the program is that its focus is purely on increasing activity from day to day, rather than controlling one’s diet in any way. To be honest, it’s been quite refreshing to work towards a goal that isn’t governed by scales or measuring tape.
I might not feel comfortable with the idea of being sporty or fit, but I can say that I feel pretty awesome.