11 Non-Fitness Facts About Me You Didn’t Already Know

facts that squat bot

Who is this Squatbot anyway, where did she come from? What is she all about?!

I talk a lot about CrossFit, fitness and food on this blog, but I’ve realised I don’t talk an awful lot about me – something I’m trying to change with some more personal posts! I was nominated by Natalie of A Balanced Life to share 10 facts about myself on Instagram – but things actually started to get a little long-winded, so I thought I’d share the facts over here instead.

So grab a brew and a biscuit, and settle down to find out 11 facts (yeah, I just had to go one more) about me. I’ve tried to keep them as non-fitness as possible, but some bits have slipped in as it’s such a big part of my life! Were there any you knew already? How about any that surprised you? Let me know in the comments if you have any more questions about me and what you think of these more personal posts!

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LIFE: Follow Your Passion

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I discussed how important it is to practise patience and trusting the process in my blog post, Practise Off The Mat. I wrote that on the seat of my pants, not really sure if I believed what I was typing, hoping that maybe it would manifest itself more once I hit “publish”. Better things are a-coming, I said.

What I was really thinking was a little more dark. I was rejected (ahem, was “second place”) from a job which I thought was my dream, working in the head office of a very large sportswear company. I put a lot into that interview and really thought it was my path, but turned out not to be – they wanted someone more focused on the fashion market than the sports market. After thinking that response through carefully, I realised that if that were the case, it wasn’t my dream job after all.

I began working in a sports store which is well-known for piling high, selling cheap, and having unpleasant staff, just for the money. I was miserable. Utterly, utterly miserable. The customers were surprisingly nice but I didn’t fit in with my colleagues, plus I was made to stand in one place for five hours at a time, either putting things through a till or stood at the front door making sure nobody nicked stuff. I am somebody who enjoys working but honestly, I went through some dark times working there, from whether I should just walk out mid-shift (I have never even entertained that thought in ten years in the workforce) to whether I should just stay working there for the rest of my life because I wasn’t good enough for anything else.

Thankfully, though it felt like years, I only worked there for three weeks. In that time I had the most amazing opportunity presented to me: a sports store in town was in the process of transitioning from a men’s-only football store to a women’s-led running and training store. I squealed with excitement when I was phoned for an interview. At the same time, I finally finished my Bachelor’s degree with a First and was accepted into a Sports Marketing and Business Management Masters degree at UCLan.

I got the job and it is by far the best job I have ever had. I love talking to women like me who love to run and train like I do, and sharing anecdotes and tips.. I love talking to women not like me even more, learning another point of view and what drives them to workout. I also started my Masters degree last week, and whilst my brain was frazzled from information overload, I’m really excited about the prospect of learning to such a high level and proving my abilities.

So. Everything I said about trusting the process, which I might-have-maybe-perhaps not entirely believed when I wrote it – I do believe now. All the good that has come to me has come from my hard work and my passion. A further bit of wisdom I’d like to add something else after floundering around after my degree, not entirely sure what I should be doing or even what I wanted to do: if you don’t know your calling, go after your passion. Trust me. I’m proof that it works – and if it doesn’t? Well, you’ve spent your time doing something you love anyway.


RUN: Trust In Your Training

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You could say that in December I was at a pretty low point. My dad passed away in November, so I took some time off work and university, which was very much needed so I could pull myself together a bit and support my mum. Unfortunately it seems the less you do, the less you want to do, so what was supposed to be a restorative time turned into a self-destructive time: a lot of time sitting around doing nothing, and hating sitting around doing nothing, but not really having anything to get dressed for in the morning. A real catch-22 situation.

As much as I was hurting I knew my dad wouldn’t have wanted me to spend my time like this, so I decided I needed to set myself a challenge to bring me back to life. Nothing crazy – I was feeling too delicate for skydives or mountains – but something achievable, that I would have to work towards. And so, I decided on running the Manchester 10K. I’d run further distances before – half marathons, in fact – but not for some years, and although I did run occasionally I didn’t take running or my own health too seriously.

This changed massively when I decided to take on the challenge of the 10K. In fact, my life has changed completely – I’m fitter and happier than ever before, and although of course I think about my dad a lot, I am able to cope a lot better with the feelings this brings up.

So – the big day was Sunday. I set myself a target time of 50 minutes, so physically I had to work hard, and emotionally there was a lot riding on this. How did I get on..?

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The first 5K was not enjoyable at all – I was too hot and the air was so dry I wasn’t even sweating. I was running with very few people rather than a big crowd as my pace was faster than the rest of the wave, though this my fault – when I signed up I was much less fit and less capable so will have chosen a slower pace. Considering the heat, I felt the water should have been more evenly spaced out; despite having a small drink with me my throat was rasping by the time I’d reached the water stations, of which there were two within a short distance. I would have very much appreciated a drink about 3K and 7K.

My legs felt like dead weights and my throat was like sand, but silly little things that made me think of my dad kept me going: the man stood watching in the Pink Floyd t-shirt, the brass band playing the song my dad changed the words to so they were something daft. These gave me the energy to plod on when I really didn’t want to.

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From around 6K onwards I started to enjoy myself. I began to overtake some people in the wave in front so was hitting more of a crowd, and also the final waves had set off so I was running in as they were going out. Watching for familiar faces on their way out distracted me from thinking how hot and bothered I was, and I also settled into a comfortable pace – I felt so awful that I was sure I wasn’t going to hit my goal time, so just tried to soak in the atmosphere.

Getting onto Deansgate and the last couple of hundred metres, I saw the clock was on 49:30. No way! My sub-50 was still within reach. I put everything I had into my sprint finish (hence the less-than-attractive face, below, though not sure what the tongue sticking out is about) and ended with a time of 49:43. Flabbergasted is putting it lightly – it just proved that if you put the training in you should trust in yourself.

I met up with my mum and Chris and there were definitely a few tears and hugs; the end of the race seemed to signify the end of a very tough few months we had together, physically, emotionally and mentally. Then it was time for a large glass of wine and an even larger piece of cake – well deserved, I thought!

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My Fitness Progress & Goals | One Month In

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Top: January 4th. Bottom: January 26th. I don’t see a big difference in my body, but have I achieved any non-scale, non-measurement, non-aesthetic victories in that time? Read on..

Throughout my life my health and fitness has been sporadic, at best. I was a very active teenager, and in my late teens and early twenties I was a gym obsessive. Since then I’ve dipped in and out of fitness, never quite reaching the same body of age 21.

Until this time. Something just feels different. Whether it’s my determination to look after my health and body, or whether it’s my well-informed, nutritious diet, I think I am heading for the best shape of my life. I wanted to write this post to look back on whenever I have wobbles in the future, and remember the non-scale victories I have had the past few months.

I’ve been sleeping better.
No more sleep paralysis or pins and needles in my hands, and I sleep all night, provided my cat lets me.

I’ve been less tired.
Whether it’s the good quality of sleep I’m having or otherwise, I’ve definitely been less tired throughout the day, with less caffeine consumed and fewer energy slumps.

My determination has spread into other areas of my life.
I’m incredibly determined when working out, and this is down to my brain knowing full well that my body can do what I am asking it to do. I’ve realised this applies to the rest of my life, too, whether at university, work, or even just socialising (I can definitely suffer from a touch of social anxiety!).

And oh, all right. I’m pretty pleased I’ve gone down a size in yoga pants.
I know I shouldn’t be, and I sort of don’t want to be pleased. But at least it shows eating clean and training mean is working.

Though I’m happy about these victories I still feel I have a long way to go. My fitness goals for this year are, in no particular order:

To go to a CrossFit session.
There’s an amazing box just across the river from me, and it’s owned by Sam Briggs, the fittest woman in the world. I want to be able to go and not only complete a WOD but do it well!

To grow my butt.
This isn’t a very SMART goal I’m sorry, but I will be happy when I see my butt at least starting to fill my yoga pants. Patience and work, patience and work…

To do the Manchester 10K.
This is looking like a fairly easy goal to achieve now, so I am considering aiming for a half marathon in the autumn. It all depends what happens when I graduate – hopefully I will get a tasty graduate job and have more time and freedom at the weekends to train and race.

To do 10 unassisted chin-ups.
I can’t believe how weak my upper body is compared to my lower. I’ve been using the assisted pull-up machine the past couple of weeks building up to this but I still can’t do one unassisted. I’d like to be able to do these before I go to a CrossFit session.

To do an unassisted handstand.
Every night just before bed I have a bit of a mad half hour when I practice my yoga inversions. I am alright at tripod headstands and I’m getting the hang of the crow, but handstands still evade me. My boyfriend helps out when he is feeling amiable, otherwise the wall is my best friend.

Overall, I’d like to be consistent in my eating and workouts, and remember that a few days off working out or eating clean does not mean falling off the wagon. I have to remember the good stuff – the stuff from the beginning of this post – and how fantastic it feels to be fit, strong and happy.