The culture of Fortitude that has people congratulating you just for finishing, or encouraging you to either keep going or applauding individual elements (concentrate after hearing ‘great snatch’ on numerous occasions)
I used to be very active either biking, cycling, kayaking, running or just walking. Those activities maintained a figure and allowed a diet that never considered what went in – aside from answering the question “am I still hungry?”
I got older and the metabolism seemingly slowed down, a new house (albeit with DIY) prohibited cycling to work and the children arrived and so the exercise level tailed off, Although the intent remained in my mind, when I did get out I couldn’t perform as I used to – struggled to keep up with and keep going on a New Year mountain bike ride with the old biking buddies where I used to be amongst the quick guys and didn’t have trouble keeping going.
I also ran the forest half marathon and was doing reasonably well but my knee gave up about a mile from the finish so I limped the last bit and I think it clearly needed strengthening to cope with the distance as well as probably insufficient training beforehand.
I work behind a computer through the week with the most exercise being up and down stairs – but even then some people will skype rather than walk for a conversation! My job also has travel requirements, this is usually to the USA (San Diego) which is nice but the great American diet, especially eating out each day of the trip, is not a good thing – add to that the inexhaustible supply of donuts, danishes and cookies that is always available throughout the day from the host company.
After a couple of work trips to America I was reasonably well aware that my shirts (as properly fitted by Hawes & Curtiss in the Gloucester Quays) were getting tight around the neck, and worse, rather than buttoned up at the front were holding back some growth with obvious diamonds between the buttons; I’m not great at fashion, but know enough to know that this is not a good look! Closer inspection told me I weighed more than I ever had (touching 13stone) and was clearly more round than I had ever been. I did not feel so good about this.
The guys ran a competition on Facebook for one lucky winner to have a month free training. Neither my wife or I won, but we both exchanged messages with Josh and came in to say hi on a weekend. We committed to the ‘month trial it and see’ membership – yes we could just do a run or exercise from home, but with children and significant house extension and renovation finding the time and energy is difficult and actually adding a monetary cost by direct debit makes it harder to chicken out.
I was nervous of course but settled in reasonably well quickly as:
Unlike I have felt at other gyms there is no-one checking how little I can lift (am built for CV endurance, not power)
Josh and Tina gave extra attention to me to check I knew what was happening and how
Getting introduced first session and the structure that welcomes everyone before running through the programme for that class
Realisation that everyone has challenges and not many people are good across all aspects – in a ‘normal’ gym I think people tend to only show/test their strengths. This doesn’t happen at Fortitude, and there is always a scaled alternative to enable progression, and no judgement of what level people work at.
I have been training for about 6 months and have made some considerable progress
I’ve lost ~5kg
My belt is no longer tight. I could, at a push wear those shirts again
Had a great Xmas dinner and 1yr anniversary party with the gym
I managed to perform some gymnastic activities I never thought of trying before: Kipping, TTB, CTB
I’ve done Olympic weightlifting, which I never thought I would. I started light, I’m not lifting heavy yet, but am lifting confidently more than I could to start with
I had a mountain bike ride of about 4 hours around the forest tracks when I wasn’t struggling for endurance or power
I entered the Crossfit Games Open. I did ok, it was fun and gives a baseline I could test against again in the future
Lifting weights has been something specifically that has benefited me more than i ever thought. I am not and have not turned in Arnie (yet) but I am much better toned (muscle), and combined with the S&C and Fortifit classes have a much stronger core which transfers into everything else I want to do – running and biking
I feel better and more positive about my health and fitness.
I also eat differently to how I used to and have cut out afternoon crap for snacks and go for a protein / non-junk option. I had a good chat with Josh about protein which helped put away a lot of the online protein-this/that and the other ‘advice’
I am physically stronger
My CV performance is much better than it dropped to, I feel far more confident that I won’t break when running or biking due to stronger core and stability muscles
A few parting mentions
I like that it always feels that we are building up to something, working to a goal. That seems to keep the programme and sessions changing periodically but with blocks of consistency, even when flitting between programmes.
I have only ever had DOMS after the Open workout with the skipping, which was my choice to enter. Somehow (whilst I can often feel what muscles got worked) the exercise has never made me walk like John Wayne or struggle to function in the following days this is a bonus with two young girls!