Tea is one of those things us Brits are very routine about. We know which tea we like and we know exactly what time of day we want it. It’s all about the routine. Remember the days when you used to have your teabags on holiday with you because no other country in the world had ever heard of English Breakfast?!!Read More
Over the last 6 months I have been taking a mental break from my business. I didn’t realise this is what I was doing…it just happened. Of course, I was physically present but my heart and soul had taken a step away.
There has been no social events, no challenges, no blog posts, no newsletters, no coffee, no awards, no celebrations, nothing new.Read More
I'll be honest with you. 2017 has left its scars so I could spend this post moaning and complaining about my crappy year. I could whinge and whine about it all to you and cry (metaphorically speaking) over my laptop.Read More
That's it. I just got back from teaching my last class of the year, Metafit, in the fog and ice, 1°C my car told me as I was driving there. 7 participants in total, far better than I would ever expect for the the week in between Christmas and New Year and more than double than this time last year...200% more, that's good growth right?? What a year. And I'm exhausted, more than I realised. I'm often the butt of many jokes at class, mainly aimed at my laziness, that I spend the whole time bossing them about and never really doing anything myself. Personally I prefer to call it instructing, i.e. my job. The truth is I never really stop working - always planning, plotting, designing, administrating - and I did truly need a rest.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not moaning, I have loved every minute and I can't wait for the New Year to begin so we can do it all over again.
If I had to sum up this year in three words these would be: Metafit, Gold Stars, Mud.
The "new year new you" syndrome was in full force in January of course, busy classes, everyone working hard. At the end of the month we took Team Hope on a road trip to London to complete the Winter 10k, a now annual event on the Hope calendar.
The first themed workout of year fell in February - as Valentine's Day was on a Sunday - and I treated the class to a special kind of Hope Fitness love...and lots of burpees!
Three years on and it was time to renew my Freestyle Fitness Yoga certification. I passed with flying colours and became an Elite Freestyle Fitness Yoga Instructor. I'm still not a "proper" yoga teacher but that will do for now. I've been promising new material ever since, which hasn't quite happened but is definitely top of the ToDo list for 2017.
The first of the next batch of Hope Juniors arrived this month; baby Marnie. Mum Kirsty is one of my longest standing members. In fact Kirsty arrived at Hope Fitness (Buggy Workout at the time) when her first child, Alyssa, was 6 weeks old back in 2014.
In April, we had the first "active"social of the year. The choice this time was ringos at the local dry ski slope. Despite chickening out myself it was great fun watching everyone let loose with their blood-curling screams. Lots of fun had by all.
Although there are running events going on all year, the choice of events is much more prolific in the Spring and Summer. We had our biggest ever team out for the Kesgrave 5k, what is fast becoming a very important date in the Kesgravian calendar, and on our (my) doorstep. It's the 10 year anniversary next year and the organisers have promised bigger and better, possibly including a 10k.
We also took a big team to the stinky mud of Insane Terrain, great seeing the purple Team Hope tops out in force. We were all undecided prior to the event whether we would do the 5k or 10k (you can decide as late as the end of your first loop) but I think all-bar-one everyone did the 10k.
May also saw our first Hope Juniors event with the EACH colour dash in Christchurch Park. We'll do anything for a medal!
Midway through the year I was in desperate need of a kickstart and I took the opportunity to relaunch my fitness and nutrition plan; the Better Body Plan. Twenty of us embarked on the 21 day clean-eating plan and collectively we lost a fair few inches between us (the actual numbers are eluding me right now).
I was pleased to announce the purchase of a laminator, which revolutionised not only my life but also my workouts. The other big purchase was a snazzy new yoga mat - so pretentious that I have to spray it with water (filtered of course) to make it non-slip.
Just like the Queen, 2016 was a big year for Hope Fitness zero birthdays: Ali, Kirsty, Bridget, Rachel and Sarah all reaching one of the decade milestones (my apologies if I missed anyone - they are all so secretive). We helped Kesgrave celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday by putting on a Hope Fitness display at the Millennium Fields. I'm not so sure anyone noticed we were there but it was good to be part of a community event and something I hope we will be a part of again in the future (although next year we will have to miss out due my own big birthday celebrations).
Spring and Autumn are the time for the "active" socials, whereas Summer and Christmas socials are there for us to let our hair down a bit. The Farmhouse was chosen as the venue, mainly because most of us are within walking distance (and honestly, the drinks are really cheap). A fun and interesting night out, highlights including a perfect headstand in the middle of the conservatory room and a hysterical bike ride home....
The second Hope Junior of the year was born, baby Ezmay, to the lovely Sam.
The #hopefitnesssummerchallenge was back, tougher and stricter than the previous year. Bridget was well and truly knocked off her "most competitive" perch this summer by newcomer Gemma, an unstoppable force having practically secured the title in week 1, rippling with muscles by the end of her challenge.
And this was the month that Debbie nearly got her mojo back (#shehadherkitonaswell).
We completed the Ipswich Twilight 10k for the second year in a row. A road run around the centre of Ipswich starting at 7.30pm where the idea is to beat the sunset. I love this event but for some reason, this event always seems to be my nemesis. A stunningly pathetic performance by myself left me announcing my imminent retirement from running if things don't improve by May 2017....as of right now, my running career is teetering on the edge.
Debbie still hadn't found her mojo and the weather wasn't helping (#shestillhadherkiton).
A gaggle of us had an impromptu night out at the cinema to see Bad Moms, to celebrate the end of the school holidays. This was an utterly hilarious film that hit the mark with all of us, all sitting there with tears rolling down our faces throughout most of the film.
September was the big launch of Metafit - a 30 minute HIIT workout - and probably the revelation of the year. It was just what HF needed to give it a much needed boost. Every month a slightly different workout with a random name and some new tracks. We started with Ape Shapes (all is forgiven Ape Shapes), then Big Buff (way too much jumping), Beach Bum (a firm favourite) and Levante Power. Now we're all looking forward to Undisputed in the New Year.
Team Hope went on tour (I wish), a couple of them anyway, to New York no less. Look where these two bumped into each other!!
I also held my now annual "Free From" coffee morning, or Joyless baking party as it is now know, raising £50 MacMillan. The competition hotted up this year, with Carina taking first place. I have even higher hopes for next year now everyone's getting into the swing of sugar-free baking.
I'm still not sure if Debbie had found her mojo or weather Facebook was stuck in a loop (#itsatest).
The Autumn brought another "active" social night, this time we headed to Flux Freestyle, the new trampoline park in Ipswich. A good test of the pelvic floor muscles and I realised I'm actually completely rubbish at trampolining - those kids make it look so easy. Another one of Gemma's forte's!!
One of the highlights of the year was the Whole Hog. My third year in row but this year was the biggest team I have taken there. Lots of newbies to obstacle races too. The weather was completely rubbish but we had so much fun. I personally was relieved to find that the most undignified of obstacles that requires you to haul yourself up and over a very steep slope, had been moved away from the spectators at the end and we completed the course with dignity very much intact.
Debbie - have you found your mojo yet???? (#stillnotsure)
This was the month of #toiletpapergate. Of all the Facebook posts I write this was the one that got the most engagement!! Over or under? What are your thoughts?
It's no secret, I'm not a big fan of the Christmas period, or the C word as I prefer to call it. But this year with HF it has been pretty fab. We kicked off the festivities with a 5k Inflatable Santa run. Just to explain, the obstacles were inflatable not the Santas! And this event saw me adorn a red tutu and a Santa hat - that's a lot of embracing for me.
We went all out with our Christmas party this year; Moulin Rouge at Trinity Park. At what a fab night we had - you girls know how to party!! Jen's performance in the Can Can was a particular highlight.
But that wasn't the festivities over just yet. We didn't have just one Christmas party but two! We finished off the year with our awards evening at the Black Tiles. This year I asked members to vote for their winners. The results were as follows:
So that's it, what a year. I've probably missed loads out but as usual with my end of year post, I actually left it until the end of the year!
I promised more this year and I think that exactly what happened. The social aspect of Hope Fitness has really cemented the team and friendships within the team.
Next year will be more again, focusing on achieving goals and pushing outside of comfort zones.
Do I have any big plans?
Not right at this moment...I think I'm going to wing it!
Thank you to all of you for your support of Hope Fitness, and I wish you a happy and prosperous 2017.
The tail end of December is a great time to reflect on what you have accomplished over the year. This year I had a lot of successes and failures (I like to call them lessons). I’d like to share them with you.
- I completed my second London Marathon, despite falling down the stairs, being plagued by injury, piling on the weight...and all with a PB too!
- I competed in another six events post-marathon even though I was adamant I was retiring from running after London, taking my total medal haul for the year to eight.
- I thought that I had got to that point in my life where I didn't really need anyone else to be part of it but then a special person comes along and it turns out they are exactly what was missing.
- In the second half of the year I find myself with extra time on my hands and decided to dedicate a little more time to my music. It was time to relearn the piano after at least 10 years in the wilderness and the opportunity arose to join two new bands playing saxophone, making four bands in total.
- I am not a marathon runner. I had the resolve to complete the challenge but I truly don't have the body or the head to run another. I have run two, so I don't have anything else to prove to myself. As for me and running, 10km is now my distance of choice.
- Somehow, despite my flaws; constant moaning and negative attitude towards the marathon training and being a less than perfect example of a fitness instructor, it amazes me (and for this I am forever grateful) that people are inspired by me. To me this is very special. And for them I will strive to be a better example next year.
- There is no sustaining with personal growth. Either you are making a conscious effort to grow or you are slowly stagnating. I need to learn more and experience more.
- As we approached Summer I realised something very special had happened to Hope Fitness, right under my nose. This was no longer just exercise classes, it had become a community of like-minded ladies working together towards a healthier lifestyle. We called it group therapy, #activewear is a now a major part of our vocabulary and we laugh...a lot!
- I felt that I was in a place where I needed to expand the business by adding more classes to the timetable. I was already teaching for 6 hours every week and was acutely aware that teaching any more classes would risk me losing my motivation and enthusiasm. Therefore I took the huge leap of searching for a new trainer to add to my team. Out of six applicants, two of those came along and took a Hope Fitness class. I then offered my client base the opportunity to feedback. I was genuinely shocked by the comments that I received in reply. It turns out people come to my classes because of me!
- I am excellent at making to-do lists but not so good at actioning those to-do lists...master procrastinator. I need to continually reassess my goals, getting my ideas out there even if they are not perfect. What's the worst that can happen?
- The team hope spirit is awesome and I have made some amazing friends this year. However, I have also learnt the hard way that there is a fine line between friendship and business, where boundaries need to be more clearly defined.
- Hope Fitness is my life but it never occurred to me that me as a person is the very heart and soul of the business. This gave some much needed clarity and I realised that if clients move on and no longer require my services then this does not mean I am doing something wrong it just means our paths have taken a different direction and there will always be someone new to help.
- I am not ready to share my business with anyone else. I rather like the fact that it is all mine to do whatever I want with! The right person will find me when the time is right.
- Discovering the revelation that my business was all about me I ended up sitting back and resting on my laurels for the latter part of the year. The drive and enthusiasm had faded and I fell into my comfort zone. I realise now that the business needs to grow and evolve not just because it makes good business sense but for everyone, to keep the community fresh and focused.
SO WHAT'S COMING IN 2016?
Let's do this!