I'm gonna start with a pretty bold statement here; hands down the best thing I've ever done for my business is to implement a regular exercise regime.
Alongside my bold statement, I'm going to make a huge generalisation - for the majority of creative people, exercise doesn't come naturally. I know, forgive me for the stereotype, and of course if you're one of these babes that schedules in a morning run, skips into the office at 8am sharp and finishes their day with Pilates with complete and utter ease, I salute you. But this post isn't for you, move along now; here's a gratuituous image of a topless Bradley Cooper so you didn't pop by here for nothing.
For most of us, our relationship with exercise begins at school - and dear God, if communal changing rooms circa 2004 weren't enough to put off shy, gangling, geeky types like me then I dread to think what they're like now. I always felt so much more comfortable in the art room, the music studio, deep in the photography darkroom. I had the longest, most awkward, uncoordinated legs you ever did see as a teenager, and coupled with crippling anxiety and sadistic PE teachers who thought it'd be fun to try and make the girl with 2 left feet try and do the long jump, I shyed away from sports altogether. As it happens, exercise and I never got on, despite my best efforts to try and lose the 'freshman
15 30', until I woke up one day last March and booked myself into a spin class at the local gym.
Yes, a spin class. For someone who never got around to the running bit of Couch25k. Someone who never got past level 1 of the 30 Day Shred. I don't remember my exact thoughts for deciding to chose Spin, but I do know that, for the first time, my decision to start trying to exercise wasn't to do with losing weight. It was to do with getting healthy.
At the time, I was working completely ridiculous hours; 5 days a week at home, on my own, 2 days a week at a deskjob I detested. I'd been graduated 18 months, and yet hadn't found friends outside of my university crowd. I napped during the day, and slept in of a morning. Feeling stressed would be cured with a large glass of wine or two of an evening, oh with a side of Dairy Milk too please.
In short, I wasn't taking care of myself, and something kicked in that day that I wasn't getting any younger, and if I didn't start to look after my body now, it was only going to get harder. And boy, was that first spin class hard. I couldn't keep up at all, I kept thinking that everyone as staring at me, and OMG is my heart rate supposed to do that or am I going to topple over and die? I started off slow, 1 class a week for months, introducing a 2nd as I began to get fitter, 20 minutes on the cross trainer soon followed. As hard as it was to take myself away from orders, from unanswered emails, I got to August and told myself that 2012 would be the year I taught my body to love exercise.
Now, just over a year on, and I'm still at it, and it's genuinely the best thing I've ever kept up. I Spin 4 times a week, Bodymax twice, Bodycombat and Pilates inbetween. My favourite classes are those that I do back to back; if someone had told me I'd be doing that this time last year I would've laughed in their face! I keep it mixed up, so I don't get bored. Whereas a year ago, not reaching inbox zero or an empty order book would've made me phone up and cancel the class in a panic, but the only thing I'll miss my clocking off time for now is something that's truly business changing (last month, it was a call in from from Vogue. We'll allow them that)
I've got so much more energy, too! No more lunchtime naps, I wake up dead on 730 each morning without the need for an alarm. My days are more focused, more alert, I don't remember the last time I had a 3pm slump.
It's really hard, don't get me wrong! But I promise you it will be the best thing you can do for yourself and your business.
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