Updating February through June

It’s been a while since my last post.  It always seems to be a while since my last post.  5 months have passed this time since my last update and quite a bit has happened since then, not least the fact that I got married in May to the wonderful Zsuzsi; a woman who has inspired so many of my achievements over past 8 years, is the mother to our amazing daughter, and all-round cool chick.  Without her support it’s doubtful I’d ever have gone back to Uni to study for my Masters and without her constantly kicking my ass (literally and figuratively) I’d have given up on so many things I’ve now come to love.  Thanks, babe!

Now that the soppy bit is out the way – yes, that’s the extent of my emotional talk – let’s get down to scoliosis business.

At the end of February, I completed my Nutrition Challenge and was feeling great about myself.  I was eating well, my training was good, and I was feeling mentally strong for the challenges ahead.  However…..by the end of the Challenge I had lost 4kg in weight, weight I did not need to lose, and therefore I was able to easily convince myself that reintroducing beer, pizza, and slabs of chocolate back into my diet was a wholly acceptable course of action.  And so, I’m disappointed to say, I began a journey back down the nutritional slippery slope to a land of unhealthy eating; something I am working hard to rectify as I look for the balance between healthy eating without excessive weight loss.

Now, whilst I was taking part in the Nutrition Challenge, I had noticed that I was slowly feeling more energised, able to complete workouts quicker, and felt more supple, a feeling that means so much to anyone affected by scoliosis.  Normally I feel like I am wearing a steel belt around my lower back with bending and stretching in that area being a real chore, after one month of eating well that feeling was massively reduced.

One month after the challenge, and welcoming a few (too many) unhealthy ‘treats’ back into the fold, I was back to feeling sluggish and stiff, despite not changing the intensity of my exercise.  It may not be the most scientific of experiments but it’s clear to me that there is a link between good nutrition and stronger, healthier spine and body in general.

This sluggish feeling led me to a fairly low point as I was struggling to motivate myself to exercise.  My back felt sorer than it had for a long time, bending down to tie my shoelaces was a struggle, and I wanted to give up on everything and become a hermit.  It also led me to post this on Instagram as a release:

Sometimes it’s good to let off a bit of steam, especially when the reaction is unexpectedly positive.

And it worked.

I got it all off my chest, opened up a bit, and got some very positive feedback and words of encouragement from the guys and gals at my CrossFit box.  For me, I wanted to vent and explain in some way why I’d not been myself and why I thought I was underperforming during our workouts.  I didn’t expect anyone to respond and I wasn’t sure if the post would go down well but I was truly overwhelmed by the encouragement I received to continue.

It’s been far from rosy since then and I’ve had a few horrendous workouts since, but in the main, I’ve refocused and began to enjoy CrossFit and exercising again.  I’ve also openly admitted to one of our coaches that I’ve been actively avoiding classed with barbells and weights because I’ve not been confident about my back for the last few months, and he was cool with it and fully understood.  Slowly I’m getting it.  It’s good to talk to people about these things and avoiding the problem does not help it.

In refocusing on things, I’m also trying to take more positives from life and what it throws at me.

Last week a very good friend of mine, Ben, left Budapest to return home to Texas.  I’d only known him for a year but in that short-time, we became close friends and I enjoyed working out with him because he never gave up on anything or anyone.  If we had a workout he wasn’t looking forward to his mindset was “let’s get this done”.  If there was a skill he struggled with he tackled it head on and generally overcame it.  He fully understood my limitations with my scoliosis and only ever offered words of encouragement, and generally when I needed them the most, to help me push through.  Because of this, Ben has been one of my biggest inspirations and motivators over the past year.  I loved his attitude and take on life, so, in his absence, I’m challenging myself to “be more Ben” and adopt a similar mindset and not give up on myself so quickly.

The legend, Ben, looking pretty in pink before last year’s Battle of the Bay. I really could’ve done something with my hair…

On Monday of this week, I put that mantra into practice and signed up for a CrossFit class with weights – back squats – for the first time in sooooooo long.  And guess what?  It was fun.  Challenged faced up to, and challenge defeated.

Let’s hope I can keep this mindset going and break through some more challenges.

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