A tribe called quest


Something strange has been happening of late. It started with random work colleagues and friends telling me about their planned exercise regimes, or apologising to me that they had started the 30 Day Shred and only got to Day Three, but they were going to start again soon. I should point out that they must be friends who are reading this blog via Facebook and it’s not because I stride about the office like some kind of fitness Nazi; squeezing people’s spare tyres or checking their thigh gaps. As if I would dare to judge or monitor anyone else’s progress in exercise! I am about as much of an expert in that department as this chap below:

image (14

I mean, would you take advice from a squirrel? No. But this picture was too cute to pass up.

The zenith of this strangeness was on Tuesday, when a colleague sidled up to me at my desk and whispered, ‘Could I ask you something about a non-work related matter?’ My heart sank a little, as I am often a gobby, foul mouthed trollop at work, so my first instinct was that I had said or done something to offend. Although I am mainly on a ‘hello’ and small talk level with this person so that would have been surprising, even for me. Amusingly, it seemed she had heard I was somewhat of a fitness expert, so she wanted some advice.

Flattering as this is, it would no doubt make many people laugh. Compared to the already Spartan-like Gods and Goddesses at my gym, I am an amateur. They can run faster, jump higher and lift far heavier than I, although I can hold my own in the squat department. I have a secret fear that most of the Spartan team think I am a liability but are too nice to say so.  It would be a fair cop as I probably will finish last, but that’s okay by me. You don’t need to be first to be a Queen of Sparta, you just need to make it to the finish.

On top of this, I am deeply flawed in many ways, not least in my training regime and eating and drinking habits. I did manage to give up smoking last year, but I still ‘vape’, which is a minor cheat. As a so-called ‘athlete’ I am not the worst in the world, but definitely not among the best. There are many times when I struggle, both to get out of bed to exercise and to perform at a similar level to the others. Thank feck I go at the quieter times, or I would really struggle. There are so many days when my motivation is zero, and I show up grumpy and tired.


Despite these reservations, I am secretly pleased. I am chuffed as hell to think that someone had a conversation in a different room that suggested that I could help them get back into fitness. I might be a bit shit at the gym, but I’ll take that as a real positive. I am the go-to exercise gal at work! What the fuck? The world has clearly gone mad.

As you might imagine, my first suggestion is usually the 30 Day Shred. For five quid, you can’t beat the results if you stick it and you have the added bonus of La Michaels. My second bit of advice is usually to get a personal trainer for a wee while; which has two benefits – you don’t feel embarrassed being crapulent in front of anyone and you get the right form for all your exercises, which is especially important for lifting.

My other best piece of advice is this: find your tribe. Find the activity that you enjoy the most and find people to do it with, because they will give you that motivation when yours has gone AWOL. The importance of this was brought home to me a few weeks ago, when I heard that the gym was moving to a location further west: only about a mile or so, but enough to add about 15 minutes or so of traffic and hassle, a nightmare for early starts. Because of this, I was contemplating the horrible idea of switching gyms. Frankly, I was dreading it.

Yesterday morning I heard the news that the previous deal had fallen through, and they are moving to a new location in the southside, closer to where I live. That news made my day. There will be no more worrying about the move, or wrestling with the head over heart issues. It made me realise how important it is to love going somewhere, which is so much more than just physical movement. This is the longest I have ever endured at any exercise or any membership of anything. At times I have cried from sheer exhaustion and frustration, or thought that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I have had blocks of time when I have failed to turn up because of my own craptitude, but always been called back. Literally. My coach has texted me and told me to get my arse back in the gym.

The people there encourage you and make you laugh; I guess if you are insane enough to do the kind of exercise that we do there, then we have something in common.


I never would have thought that lifting stuff and jumping about like a crazy woman would float my boat and it was random chance that I discovered it. pick something you always wanted to try and give it a shot. Whether your thing is running, or dancing, or climbing, or Spin (you people really are crackers), you need to find somewhere to go where people just get you. No superiority or snobbery, but real support. Everyone is good at something and everyone is shit at something. Everyone has a different struggle and a different quest. We all have our Achilles heel. But it is a million times easier to overcome it when you have people cheering you on. No man or woman is an island. We do better with the help of others.


So, to recap: find something you love doing. Find your tribe to do it with. And just fucking do it.

Until next time,



Add yours →

  1. hollycooksthebooks February 6, 2015 — 7:53 am

    Haha love this! By the way what is Spartan race? I am doing tough mudder in May – is it a similar type thing? Have done no training whatsoever so may be asking you for some advice!! Xx


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