16 In crossfit/ health/ running/ who am I

Have I always been fit?

One of the things I hear quite often is “So you’ve always been into sport?”  It’s not even a question most of time, it’s said like a statement. Everyone who knows that I’m into running and Crossfit (and now Bikram and bouldering as well) assumes that I’ve always been a sporty person.

My friends from high school have asked me  “So did you ALWAYS (secretly) like running?!?!” with a puzzled look on their faces as we all recall the horror that running and PE classes were for us in the good old Soviet Union.

My answer is always “No. I have not always been into sport but I am now. It’s not like you either are born the kind of person who’s into fitness and forever will be OR you’re the kind of person who is not sporty and will forever not be.”

I think that you can be whatever you decide to be.

After several years in my late teens / early 20s when I weighed a lot more than I should have and felt really uncomfortable in my skin, I decided to focus on my health. Eventually (over the past 15 or so years) I have become that fit sporty person I once never thought I could be (because c’mon – I HATED PE and was not good at anything sporty at all AND I couldn’t possibly live without muffins in my life!).

This is a photo of me at age 21 when I was studying in Germany. It was one of the best years of my life when it comes to the friends I made and the experiences I had, but as far as how I felt in my body it was one of the worst years of my life (I moved to the States when I was 17 and let’s just say the American way of life and eating did not do me any good, and neither did  a diet of beer and bread in Munich).

From the age of 17 to about 25 my weight yo-yod a lot as I did the typical thing many young women do – go through months of limiting food and sweating on the treadmill or step machine, followed by months of not doing anything. My weight only stabilised once I made two of the best fitness decisions I have made in my life: I married someone sporty and I moved to Australia.

Good weather, daily cycling to work and fresh food did me well. I never thought I’d wear lycra and have a road bike with clip-on shoes but heck – people change and I eventually decided I was going to be that person – the cycling chick in tight lycra and the clip-on shoes.

When we moved to London I was too scared to ride on the streets so I tried out a few gyms, walked a lot, did Buggyfit and bootcamp in parks. I never thought I could be a runner, because my mentality was “I’m a cyclist. I cannot run.”

Then my husband signed me up for a half marathon and I went for a run. And then I went for another one…   And I ran that half marathon and loved it. And then I became a Crossfitter. And then I got into Bikram and bouldering.

I don’t know what’s next for me.  I don’t have any time for a new fitness addiction but my bike IS feeling a bit lonely in the shed. The thing is that getting fit has opened up so many fun activities for me and I’ve made so many new friends as well – I look at that picture of me above, I remember what I felt like that day (not comfortable at all, hence always black, black, black) and I am amazed that somehow I’ve gotten to where I am today.

Nothing happens overnight but just because you’ve never been sporty doesn’t mean you never can be. You totally can.

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  • Reply
    July 18, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Can I just say that you look so much better now? Congrats for getting into shape. You are far ahead of me…And just like you, I didn’t like PE.

  • Reply
    July 9, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    It’s so nice to hear of people getting fit after not being fit their whole life. I know a few women who indeed HAVE been fit their whole life, and I have not. I’m trying to make a lifestyle change right now, and running is one of those things that I feel like I really need to give another go.

    • Reply
      July 11, 2014 at 8:40 am

      With running it took me a few gos as well to finally fall in love with it. My first attempts in my 20s didn’t go well because I did not have proper shoes and I tried to run way too fast for my (poor) fitness level. Start slow and easy and you’ll get there! 🙂

  • Reply
    Stephanie M
    July 2, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    YAY! You go girl! I feel the same, except a couple of years behind, I only found running about 18months ago. It’s such a great feeling! I was always the one who sat out of PE. I *think* I’d still hate any team sports that involve bats and balls, but I’m excited to be trying new things at the moment.

    • Reply
      July 3, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      I do still dislike any sport involving bats or balls (I had glasses growing up and getting them broken on a regular basis was NOT my (single) mum’s favourite thing 🙁 ) . In Australia there’s lots of team frisbee going on, I think that’d be fun though 🙂

    • Reply
      July 3, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      When’s your next race? 😉

  • Reply
    M. Nomo
    July 2, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Hi! I’ve been a silent reader so far 🙂
    I so agree with that post!

    I used to think that I’m hopeless at running until I learned some patience, persistence and easing in to it. Then it just happened, and it was magic amazement, when I suddenly realized I can run 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 2 km-s, 3 km-s, 7, … And I wondered really hard, what on earth was it exactly that I learned in high-school PE? Apparently not the FIRST thing about training, sports and how to use my body.

    • Reply
      July 3, 2014 at 3:38 pm

      Thank you for commenting 🙂 Comments make me happy. I am always amazed at how many people just say “I cannot run” (myself once upon a time included!) without really giving it a proper go. AND it is so sad that PE classes were/are so useless – I hope they are a bit different for my kids now but they’re too little still to tell me properly what they’re up to.

      • Reply
        M. Nomo
        July 8, 2014 at 12:00 pm

        The problem with “giving it a try” is an odd one. I remember several attempts in the past. I tried simply to start running – just like that, in high school (I secretly thought it would be cool to start being as fit as Buffy the vampire slayer), but once I realized I can barely go a kilometre before I’m out of breath and get some stabbing pain in the abdomen, and it DOESN’t get any easier on after two attempts I kind of thought it a lost case. Then I tried years later to follow couch to 5k and hurt my knees in the process, which meant several years of not even thinking about it. Then my boyfriend did some casual running on occasions, and I guess that’s when I got the mental state of seeing it very possible from first hand experience. Which was the important factor no. 1.

        The second important factor was easing into it with no set program other than observing myself. I set the goal to train with no muscle pain, because why on earth would I need to hurt my muscles with anaerobic training at this point? And I begun with doing what I already could – most people can run to catch the bus, even if they are not particularly fit. So I ran these really short bursts, stopping when I still felt like I could go on, walking several minutes and then doing another one. And I OBSERVED first and then set some program (like proper intervals to follow so I wouldn’t forget myself running or walking for too long). I never set any long term goals other than KEEP AT IT. It only took 4-5 times of 20-30 minutes of that kind of training for my body to get used to the idea of running, and then I could do 20 mins in one go, which was an exhilarating experience. Seeing how easy this was I was amazed at how had I never thought of that before, and how was I never taught this before. It keeps me puzzled to this day 😛

        Sorry for such a long and dragging comment, but it wanted to come out 🙂

        • Reply
          July 11, 2014 at 8:43 am

          I love long comments, keep them coming! 🙂

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