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A Message For The Self Critic

Have you ever felt out of place in a gym? Or had a day where none of your efforts seem to cut it? Have you ever eaten the cookie and then felt a wave of guilt wash over you? Have you ever felt your mind spiraling into the abyss whilst that pesky inner critic dances on a podium telling you how rubbish you are? Yes? Then this blog post my friend, is for you! Stick the kettle on and take a moment to sit with me.

Way back when I was a tender 16 year old, I decided to join a gym in the hopes of improving my self esteem and body confidence. (Oh, the high hopes I had!)

Not only would I have abs of steel, but I would surely grow four inches and finally be able to reach the ‘secret’ kitchen chocolate cupboard without risking life and limb clambering on the worktop. Yes, I realise these two goals are somewhat contradictory (and clearly impossible) but gimme some slack! I was a young, naive, 16 year old!

So, as you might be able to tell, unlike many others in this profession, I didn’t enter via sports or a childhood passion for fitness, but rather a desperation to change my appearance and mindset.

Like many gym newbies, I had an induction and was given the typical ’10 minutes on the treadmill, 10 minutes on the cross trainer and let’s throw in some ab work for good measure’ programme. Needless to say, I saw very little progress and quickly became frustrated and bored. I also developed some bad habits, not helped by the media culture back then, such as associating the gym with negativity or guilt –

Ah, please, let’s burn women’s magazines?!

It was not uncommon for me to feel horrendously guilty if I missed a gym session or to leave the gym feeling miserable because I hadn’t achieved the impossible task that I’d set myself. ‘Get Killer Ab’s in 7 Days’ Oh please, Cosmopolitan. Take a hike.

Realising that this was not the healthy, life changing experience that I had originally sought after, I started to do my own research and discovered that there were so many more ways to get the results I was after; strength training, power training, volume training, HIIT, circuits, Olympic lifting, Met Con…!

Whilst this was very exciting, it was also overwhelming and I found it difficult to find proper programmes that had a strong scientific basis. Instead I found myself wading through lots of social media ‘fitness gurus’ and online coaches with no way of knowing who was a qualified, experienced expert and who was…well, not! In my mind it left me one option and that was to train as a PT myself. During my training I discovered RAW and decided to become a member… think that worked out pretty well for me 😉

I wholeheartedly believe that exercise can be immensely enjoyable- not a punishment or something to dread. It seems that everyday a new study is released that further proves the positive benefits of exercise and proper nutrition on everything from mental health issues to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and Type II diabetes. As I’ve said before, our bodies are designed to MOVE. And that is a truly amazing thing. However there is a lot of false information out there, lots of pseudo science (let’s save that for another post) and a lot of pressure, mostly from media, that in order to be healthy that you need to look a certain way or do the latest super, duper intense exercise class. And if you don’t conform to these ideals? Well, clearly you are doing something wrong. Well, I am here to say ‘stuff that!’. My passion is to find the types of movement that YOUR BODY needs to do and find a way to integrate that into the programme that we write for you in an enjoyable way. I want you to want to come back and to leave feeling happy, feeling rewarded because you’ve achieved something, even if it’s a tough day in the gym.

Now, of course, my goals and background may not be the same as yours, and that’s a wonderful thing, but it’s also why it’s so important that you communicate with me about what you’re after and why. The ‘why’ is quite important here guys. We can only make these changes for OURSELVES, those 6am workouts will only stick if you are doing it for yourself. You will quickly come to hate that 5am alarm clock if it is ringing for anyone other than YOU. And actually the key word in that last sentence was ‘for’.

It’s you, doing it FOR you.

As a RAW member, you have the opportunity each month to sit down with us at a Goal Analysis and discuss your progress and how you have found your programme thus far. This is the perfect opportunity for you to – confidentially – share any concerns or struggles that you may be experiencing that are impacting on your performance or enjoyment… chances are Sam or I have either experienced or dealt with something similar so please don’t be nervous!

Well, it is probably time for me to finish my ramblings and let you enjoy your Bank Holiday weekend!

Peace out wonderful people 🙂

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