fitness

Just for Today

Today is the final day of the first part of the 2020 Summer Olympics events in Tokyo.

Yes I know what you're thinking ... it's 2021! But of course, the Games last year were postponed because of the COVID19 global pandemic so everything is happening a year later than expected.

Although I've not been 'glued' to the TV during the past fortnight I have enjoyed a lot of the coverage, even of sports I am not particularly interested in. I've watched some of the 'newer' Olympic sports like BMX cycling and skateboarding and been befuddled by events like the cycling 'Madison' (a complicated relay race where the riders 'tag' each other) and the  'Keirin' (weird sprinting race). Got to say I've not watched much of the boxing or judo or weightlifting, although well done to everyone who takes part in those.

The athletics is always a roller coaster and I'm in awe that people can run or jump or throw that fast and high and far. And as for the gymnastics - well that's always incredible and full of tension and awe-inspiring feats of brilliance by those young men and women who throw themselves around with abandon.  Although I have to say I'm still a bit perplexed as to why the women gymnasts have to 'dance' their floor exercises and for the men it's just the amazing tumbles. 

But for me, the most exciting Olympic sports are those that happen primarily in the first week of the Summer Olympics in the water and the pool! It seems like the swimming is closest to my heart, and one which I can most relate to. Not that I could even get close to those times but when I see those swimmers diving in and ploughing up and down the pool and then touching the end of the pool as the race finishes, I can turn back time to my own very limited competitive swimming years.

A long time ago now ... 

Which brings me to the Summer Olympics of 1972

I was 13 and it's my first memory of watching the Olympics on the TV.

The Games were held in Munich in Germany ... and unfortunately that festival of sport has gone down in history for a tragic event rather than the brilliant sportsmen and women and their achievements, because in the second week the Games made the news after a terrorist attack in the Olympic Village in which eleven Israeli athletes and coaches and a West German police officer were killed by Palestinian Black September terrorists.

But for me it's also memorable because it's when I first heard of and saw an amazing swimmer - Mark Spitz from the USA.

He won seven gold medals in the pool, all in world record time. That record stood for 36 years until fellow American Michael Phelps came along and won eight golds at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing

Actually, Mark Spitz won nine Olympic golds, a silver, and a bronze between 1968 and 1972, along with many many other awards at national and global level. And for several years (1969, 1971 and 1972) he was named Swimming World Magazine World Swimmer of the Year.

WHAT A LEGEND!

I was absolutely inspired. At the time I was doing a lot of swimming and even competing and he was my hero! Ok so he was also a good looking young man ... that helped to make him more attractive to a young teen ... so it is no surprise that, along with pop stars like Donny Osmond, I had a poster of Mark on my bedroom wall!

Spitz retired from competitive swimming after the 1972 Olympics, has become a motivational speaker and much more and there are loads of quotes from him online, including thoughts about that terrorist attack on the Israeli Olympic team ... as a person of Jewish faith, those murders of his fellow athletes would have been particularly shocking!

Mark SpitzLots of his 'thoughts' about swimming and winning have been taken out of context, of course, but I found this one from the man which is especially interesting, at least for me.

The idea of living in the moment - for today -  is something I think we can all consider.

I don't know about you but I can be inclined to worry too much about what is to come, things that I can't control, and I lose the joy of just BEING!

And sometimes that concern can stress me out and prevent me from performing as I know I am able.

For elite sportsmen and women, I'm guessing that being in the moment, doing the best they can given all their hard work and training, is all they can do. 

During the coverage of some of the Olympic events I've noticed some of the athletes obviously thinking themselves through what they are going to do. The high-jumpers, for instance, seem to turn their head and even move their arms and hands as they envisage the jump that is to come.  They are committed to that moment in time.

I love to watch tennis and I often hear the 'expert' commentators, including former champions, explain that it's important not to get ahead of oneself but to treat each point separately. If you think 'this one will win me the match/make me the champion' it can lose you that crucial point because you take your eye 'off the ball' ... literally! You are too busy thinking about what is to come rather than that moment in time.

This way of mindful thinking ... being in the moment ... doesn't mean we shouldn't PREPARE for the future ... of course we should! If sportsmen and women didn't put the leg work in then they would not be in a place to compete ... but the ability to just put all else aside and concentrate on THIS MOMENT IN TIME, to perform to the best of their ability, is an example to us all.

Of course we must all work hard to ensure we are all prepared for the crucial moments in our lives, but being able to live for that one moment, to concentrate and to focus ... is a skill we could all try to achieve.

In a week or so time we will be treated to the 'second half' of the Summer Olympics 2020 and the Paralympic Games, again from the Japanese capital city, which are, I think, even more inspiring than the events featuring the able bodied.

It's always unbelievably inspiring to see people who have dealt with so much in their lives push themselves to their limits, smash records, make themselves and their nation proud and just excel at the very highest level.

But for today I'm taking inspiration from one of heroes - the AMAZING Mark Spitz - and this thought. 

The ability to not worry endlessly about the future, to enjoy today, to look around and relish this moment ... that's important for me as I grow older.

As I said, it's a long time since Mark Spitz made it onto my bedroom wall. As a young person it's important to have people to look up to. And he is part of my life journey.

So thanks to you, Mark Spitz!

May you continue to inspire!




 


The Step Class

If you've ever taken an 'Exercise Class' you'll love this. 

I hope.

Back in the day it was the thing a lot of us did, not just to 'keep fit', whatever that meant, but also just for the get together with friends. Some of us wore Lycra and leg warmers ... AND SOME OF US DID NOT! Even when I was a LOT thinner than I am today, that skin tight look was not something I favoured.

I have to admit I've never really been a fitness fanatic. I probably should take more exercise, but give me a good swim or a good walk any day rather than all that sweating!

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not dismissing those who do love all that jumping around and take going to the gym very seriously. And I am proud of friends who have taken their fitness in hand over the years and have really gone the extra mile - literally - to make themselves healthier. Because, in my opinion, that has to be the only reason you'd put yourself through all this.

Anyway, back to the Exercise Class.

Victoria woodToday I'm sharing one of my favourite TV comedy clips of all time featuring the amazing comedian Victoria Wood as 'fitness guru' extraordinaire Hayley Bailey, leading an iconic 'Step Class'.

I think one of the things I love about Victoria is that although she was obviously very clever, and rich and famous, she still seemed to appear 'normal'. She struggled with her weight and made no secret of that. She did at times turn her comedy in that direction, was rather self-deprecating, and actually often took on roles, and wrote them for herself, which were certainly NOT glamourous.  

Today would have been Victoria's birthday and during her life, which was so sadly cut short in 2016,  she brought us SO much happiness. Not just a comedian, but also a brilliant actress, lyricist, singer, composer, pianist, screenwriter, producer and director. Who can forget her 'silly songs' as well as her amazing performances, not just comedic but also in more serious roles?

If you've never watched 'Housewife, 49I thoroughly recommend it.  Made for television, it's based on the wartime diaries of Nella Last  and it was written by and starred Victoria Wood, who follows the experiences of an ordinary housewife and mother in the town of Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire in the north of England, during the Second World War.  It is AMAZING! And I have to say, it's one of my favourite of Victoria's performances and projects.

But maybe that's for another day.

Today I just want us to sit back and have a laugh.

Victoria was just brilliant at 'observational comedy' ... she obviously kept an eagle eye and ear open for all sorts of quirks in people around her and she had a knack of taking those, and little moments in life, and making them hilarious!

Cue Victoria ... and 'Step with Hayley Bailey' ....

There are a few 'blueish' moments, but it's a Classic and she's a Legend! 

ENJOY!

 


Believe in Your Dreams

Have you got a dream? Or dreams?

Something you'd like to achieve in life? 

Maybe it's a new business or career? Perhaps it's related to your health and wellbeing, and maybe even your weight?

Perhaps it's a bit more 'spiritual' than that? You'd love to have some 'inner peace', not so much stress and anguish? Maybe you'd like to get to a point where you don't constantly compare yourself to others, and just learn to be happy with yourself and with where YOU are headed, in your time?

During the past year, and the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, we've experienced not just lockdown but also, some of us, loss of loved ones and loss of employment, or loss of self confidence because we've been mostly at home, working from home and not interacting with society or work colleagues.

That might have stifled our dreams. We might have got into a mindset where we can't think beyond this moment, we can't project ourselves even into a short term future. Or we might feel frustrated that some of the things we had hoped for in this past year haven't happened, and many of the dreams we have for the future feel unattainable.

I'm one of the fortunate people in life. I come from a really inspiring family. My parents were inspiring but quiet pioneers in their field, as Christian leaders. And I have three brothers, all of who are brilliant.  They have supported me down the years and continue to do so even though I know I can be a bit random in my decision making. 

Today my quote comes from very close to home, from my brother Tim, who is a motivational person par excellence.

During the pandemic, especially, he's been such inspirational model for me. When he couldn't work face-to-face with his clients as a personal trainer he reinvented his work life and is now not only helping people with their physical fitness but also their mindset and emotional wellbeing. He helps people lose weight and feel better about themselves but in the process also helps with the whole body and mind experience.

SO - a blatant unashamed plug here ... if you want to find out more ... I know Tim would love to hear from you. Why not go to Tim's Facebook page -  Tim Le Feuvre | Facebook  to see if he can help? 

Or ... just be inspired by this quote ... 

Tim believe in your dreams