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Failing My Fitness Challenge?

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The time in between years is a time we use to reflect on the year gone by. As part of our Solstice & New Year rituals we light a candle each night and towards the turning of the year our discussions centre around the past 12 months and the coming year.

Last year I crossed a mental barrier and had joined the local gym. I had spent a long time thinking about my increasing lack of activity and I wanted to be strong and fit for Blogtacular in the Spring.

When I went for my induction I snapped the photo above and uploaded it to Instagram. The response and support was so incredible that I added a hashtag, #katfit52, on a whim. Standing there at the foot of the mountain in January I figured it couldn’t get harder to go to the gym each week.

So it turns out that doing something every single week is tough. There are several reasons for this: my childcare hours got cut, I tore my calf muscle and I was really really tired. I think the overriding issue was that after Blogtacular my singular focus had gone and, compounded by squeezed time and injury, I let it slip. When the first week I didn’t set foot in the gym passed it became easier to let it slide down the priority list and I don’t think I’ve been in there on a Monday morning in the last six months.

Of course I am almost deliberately looking at this from the negative point of view. If you flip it around I went from pretty much zero active weeks to 37/52. That’s 70% and I’m taking it as a win.


I learned a lot from not completing my 52 in 52 weeks; sometimes setting a challenge isn’t as straight forward as it first seems.

One: I was so out of tune with my body. I knew that I wasn’t feeling right but until I started to actually focus on what my body could do that I realised just how much it couldn’t. The first time I did the cross trainer I couldn’t manage more then three or four minutes.

Two: finding plus size workout gear and shoes is in and of itself a nearly impossible task. This time of year is your best bet as big businesses cash in on our resolutions. My solutions – sports bra from Simply Be, running leggings from Sainsbury’s, (men’s wide) shoes by New Balance and t-shirts from ASOS although these are cotton rather than technical tees.

Three: July and December are a write off. It’s taken me a long while to realise that school events and the flurry of trying to get work done before the end of term leaves little time for anything else. I need to factor this in next year, lots of frustration came from trying to carry on as normal.

Four: people assume I’m trying to lose weight. I’m not, I’ve said so from the start. I know I would feel better if I did but I also know enough about the complexities of my body and weight to know that it’s not that simple. I’ve ended the year on the same weight as I began; no more, no less. I’m good with this and I hope everyone else is too.

Five: and this is the big one. It’s ok. It’s ok not to do it all. It’s ok to cut yourself some slack. The world doesn’t end, you can fail and start over.

So that’s my year of fitness. 37/52 weeks and proud of it. I’m undecided on whether I will finish the hashtag or begin a new one. One thing I know for sure is that this is important to me and I’ll be making time for it in 2015.

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2 Months of Fitness

Kat Fit 52

When I posted my first photo I didn’t really think people would take much notice. I was quite surprised by not only the size of the reaction but by the incredible warmth and support. You guys are so amazing and I am so glad to have you in my life.

It’s no lie to say that there have been some weary Monday mornings when it was just the thought of sharing my photo on Instagram that got me out of bed. And it’s the help to make that first step that has me in the gym regularly ten weeks down the line.

More than two months in and I am really pushing myself. When I started out I struggled to get past fifteen minutes on the bike. And the cross trainer? I managed three minutes on my first try before stepping off on shaky legs.

Kat on the Cross Trainer

A couple of weeks in I started to race myself, keeping track of my distances in a set time really made a difference. I have challenged myself to up my time on the hated cross trainer and now hit it for 20 minutes every time I go. At the beginning of January there was no way I would have managed that.

I have had so many messages from people who want to get moving. I understand so badly that feeling of being trapped in your circumstances. I probably thought about getting fit for a couple of years before I got started.

It is so easy to feel daunted by what you can’t do. That first step is the one you need to work on. Take that first step and the next one is going to be easier. Find something you can do to make that move. Who cares if you only make it once around the block the first time? It’s once more than none and next time you’ll go a bit further.

Two months in and I feel more confident of meeting my 52 weeks of fitness. I still have a way to go but I really feel like it’s something I can do and that’s because you’re cheering me on.

Consider This a Before

Katfit52 Before

I know; them’s fighting words.

This last year I have moved less and less. Between building websites and spending more time working at the computer I have little by little stopped moving all together. There have been times when I’ve stood up to get a drink and my legs felt wobbly. Or other times when I’ve been wrecked after a simple day out. Put simply: it wasn’t good.

So at the end of last year I decided to do something about it. I took advantage of a GP appointment for my asthma (big contributing factor, not been breathing well for a couple of years now) to ask her to refer me for exercise. It’s a simple programme whereby the patient (me) gets reduced gym rates and support through a 12 week fitness plan based on their goals.

Now, I might have been referred for obesity but my personal goals are fitness, endurance and strength. I have a blog conference to put on in less than four months and I want to be standing by the end of it rather than crumpled in a heap!

Sure, weight loss is, hopefully, going to come along with my fitness (believe me, I’d like to be able to fit into a wider selection of clothes) but it’s not what’s making me get up at seven in the morning.

I hadn’t planned to make this a series but after the wonderful support I received when I posted this photo to instagram I decided I really wanted to share what I’m up to. So Monday morning photo #2 went up and I decided I would commit to a year of exercise.

Consider this a before, I’m working on the after.