Over the last couple of months I’ve definitely got my fitness mojo back. I’ve been taking classes (something I was never into before), have found my crew at Chasing Lights and have given myself some big goals for the next year. It’s pretty awesome feeling the itch to be active again, and it’s even better to feel like I’m up for a challenge!
Given that my MSc doesn’t officially end until September (when I hand in my dissertation) my original plan was to hold off taking on any challenges until it was all done and dusted. However, a couple of weeks ago the itch got too much, and when Alex asked if I fancied joining her for a week at Ministry does Fitness I couldn’t say no. For £20 we’d get access to as many classes as we fancied for a week - Alex was up for doing 7 days straight and while I ummed and ahhhed for a bit about doing two to three classes I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t go for five (unfortunately I needed the weekend for revision!). I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I was. High intensity workouts have always intimidated me and although my fitness levels are gradually improving they’re not all that just yet, but I shoved the annoying little ‘can’t’ voice out the way, washed every bit of lycra I owned and got to it.
Ministry Does Fitness is a one stop shop for fitness, there are five signature classes – a different one for each day of the week – designed around seven custom stations, and no class is ever the same. Over the course of the week I sprinted, slammed balls (my favourite), experienced battle ropes and TRX for the first time and pushed myself harder than I had in a long time. It felt fantastic, I had so much energy and in just a week I could feel myself getting stronger and more confident. Of course there were points where it felt tough, but there was never a moment where I thought to myself that I wanted to quit, in fact the workouts were pretty addictive, even now I want to keep going back for more!
I am all about positive vibes when I’m working out, and Ministry has them in spades. The music is absolutely bangin’ (in the words of Mike Swaine), the coaches are absolutely lovely (they’ll push you but they’ll do it in a nice way), every class begins and ends with high fives and everyone is there to work as a team and fill the room with good energy. I don’t know about you, but I find it much easier to give my workout my all when there’s a supportive atmosphere and I’m surrounded by people who have massive smiles on their faces!
Taking on a week of workouts like this does require a bit of thought. I made a point of getting up early most days to squeeze in a workout before I headed in to work (except Thursday when I went to an express core class – possible my toughest workout of the week, despite being the shortest!) and invested a bit of time the weekend before making sure I had everything I needed to help the week run more smoothly (check out my tips for double workout days here for some ideas). Going into the week I was determined not to get DOMS and was really disciplined about making sure I got in the right supplements at the right time, adding a post workout shake to my routine and making sure I foam rolled and took magnesium supplements every evening to help everything recover and repair. Every workout at Ministry does Fitness starts with a warm up and ends with a cool down, and this was one of my biggest take aways from the week – I am not always good at warming up or cooling down, but I now know it makes all the difference!! I also made sure I ate really well all week fuelling my body with lots of nutritious foods and keeping hydrated, and I think it all helped because although I was a bit tired by the end of the week I wasn’t massively sore.
As I look towards next year’s challenges I’ve realised that one of the things that has been lacking for me when it comes to fitness recently is consistency, I’ve got no routine at the moment and my week at Ministry Does Fitness really highlighted to me how much I crave one. I like knowing what I’m doing from one week to the next, I like variety, I like feeling like I’m making progress. In the next couple of weeks I start training ‘properly’ for my next challenge (which I’ll be announcing soon) and I cant wait, not least because Ministry Does Fitness is going to be a big part of my plan!