By Reem Kanj / Photography Carrie
I’ve been sharing my fitness journey with you since it first began back in 2013 just before I took on the challenge of running a half marathon, set to me by Nike.
Since then, I’ve run a couple of 10K’s, completed a triathlon and learned so much about my body, my strengths, weaknesses and everything in between.
The past three years have been amazing in terms of conquering personal goals, besides just sports, I’ve faced my fear of heights by skydiving in Dubai, jumped into the Indian Ocean to go snorkelling in the Maldives, swam with wild dolphins in Mauritius and started a new company. All things I found daunting and unachievable at the time.
Every time I face something I’ve always had the mindset of not being able to do, I go back to that half marathon in San Francisco and think to myself, “If I can run up the San Fran hills, I can do anything”.
Some people are probably reading this thinking, “big deal, I do a half marathon once a week”, others might be thinking “I can’t even do a 5K”. That’s the beauty of all of this, goals aren’t for anyone else to determine but yourself, the worst thing you can do is compare yourself to others or think that you’ve failed or aren’t good enough based on someone else’s achievements. Just do what you need to do to be the best version of yourself.
With six months to go until ‘the big day’, I have the best excuse of all time to be fully committed to getting back into a solid routine, but if I’m honest, my wedding was just the catalyst that gave me the kick in the ass I needed.
In fact, I’ve been wanting to take my training to the next level for so long. Firstly, I have been so on and off for the past two years, which has really gotten me down. Secondly, I feel like I’ve done what I wanted to do with endurance training, and what I’ve been wanting to achieve is strength.
At the beginning of the year, with only 9 months to go until my wedding date, I decided it was time to get back on it and get better for it.
I’ve been lucky enough to work with Nike’s number one Master Trainer since she coached me in 2013 for my half. We’ve remained friends since and she’s been every kind of support system you could imagine, but my favourite role of her’s is being my amazing coach.
Together we’ve come up with a way for me get my head around the challenge of lifting. Apart from the satisfaction of getting my body back into shape, I’ve really enjoyed my week-by-week progress.
So far I’m deadlifting 50KG and still can’t believe it’s that much, although every week I dread putting together that bar, I’m so excited about getting stronger by the session.
FROM THE EXPERT
The most important thing about setting a new challenge is to know exactly what your goal is. If you fall off the bandwagon at any stage (which will happen), knowing your end goal will allow you to reconfigure what needs to be done to get there.
Do what you can! Life is definitely going to get in the way and that is just the way it is! If you miss a session, you have only failed if you don’t take a lesson from how to prevent that from happening next time.
After each session ask yourself the following questions: 1. What did I do well? 2. What would I do differently? 3. How does this give me confidence? 4. How does this make me feel better prepared?
Getting movement right is a very important part of the journey. If you feel your form is off, take the time to learn how to do it better the next time. No reps or sessions are wasted if you learn from them.
Respect your body and be patient with the process.
WHAT I WORE
I’m asked so many questions about my current schedule, how little or how much I train and what I do and it’s a lot to get into, but I’ll give you a brief breakdown. I see Joslyn once a week, and train alone for the rest of the week, following a pre-planned schedule that she puts together for me.
I try and stick to my 5-days as much as physically possible. I travel so much so this always isn’t feasible, however, I’ve been really good at attempting to maintain it and that’s when dedication and commitment really come into play. I figure if I can hit the gym and complete my training whilst in sunny Mauritius or Dubai, I can do it at home! Although, in saying that, I try not to give myself too much of a hard time if I miss any.
Joslyn has me doing a mix of cardio, strength and circuit training and sometimes I’m done in 20 minutes, other times it’s an hour. There are no clear rules, I just work hard, try my best and keep pushing every time. She has this great saying which always plays back in my head when I want to give up, “It’s just one foot in front of the other.” And you wouldn’t believe how much that, and the good old saying of ‘mind over matter’ has helped me get through a hard workout.
Because I’m training so often my Nike gear has essentially become my uniform and I’m forever in my tights and sneakers ready to go from meetings to the gym, which I have to admit I’ve grown to love, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout the years, it’s that treating this as a part of your lifestyle rather than something you do on the side really helps you stay on track.
I really hope this gives you a better insight into my current journey, hopefully, it’s inspired you to get going, or stay on track if you’ve already begun. Just as long as it reminds you that there’s no right or wrong way of getting to your goals, it’s all about getting started and doing your best.