Life imitates box jumps...

Hi everyone, Ash here 

I hope your week has been a good one. If it's been a bit stressful make sure you offer yourself some extra self-love this weekend and know that next week has the potential to be amazing!

Today I want to talk about the pressure we sometimes put on ourselves to be great at everything, and I've asked permission from my client Amy to share her story with you, so here goes...

Amy started training with me in October last year. We did the usual goal setting that I like to do with all of my personal training clients - this is so we can set realistic expectations and goals (if necessary) but also so that I can understand more about you and your fitness experience. What motivates you, what has demotivated you in the past, what your boundaries are etc. During this session Amy told me that she didn't like jumping on to things (this was discovered after I asked how she would feel about attempting a jump on the Plyobox - the big soft boxes we have on the gym floor). Her face when I asked this told me everything I needed to know - the was not something we would be trying any time soon!

Except, we did! Within a few sessions we had built trust and understanding with each other. She knew she had some control in our sessions, and didn't have to do anything she wasn't comfortable with, but that I would encourage her to come out of her comfort zone and recognise how great her potential really was. We achieved jumps on to the green box with relative ease and then, in time, we moved up to the blue box (the middle sized box out of the three). This definitely tested her mental strength and really showcased how our minds can be so powerful. It can push us to achieve great things or it can really hold us back. Amy attempted the jump a few times but stopped just as she was about to leap - and we laughed together. She tried again and would just catch her toes on the edge. "It's okay", I would tell her. Take a deep breath, calm your mind and try again. Typing this now reminds me of when I was 12 years old and took myself all the way to the top diving board at my local swimming pool. I tried so many times to jump off, and would stutter at the edge, but I finally did it and there was no stopping me after that! The same thing happened to Amy, once she jumped on to that blue box and we both shouted a massive 'Yesssss', there was no stopping her going for it again. She was proud, I was proud. Happy Days 

Well... not quite a forgone conclusion. Fast forward a few weeks to January this year when, for some reason, those jumps just weren't happening any more! She would manage one but then every jump after that just wouldn't land. It was so frustrating for Amy because it felt like she had gone back to where she started. In her own words, "Im getting stuck in my head". I had to remind her that if, six months ago, I had said she would successfully land a jump on the blue Plyobox she would probably have laughed in my face. She agreed! So why was she putting extra pressure on herself to be perfect when she 'only' landed 5 jumps out of 10?..

We forget what that feeling is like when we first achieved something great. We often put pressure on ourselves to constantly improve, to get better, to do more. We forget that our physical and mental health goes through waves of good, bad and everything in-between, so something that challenges us will go through ups and downs as well. Some days we can smash it, some days we can't and we will get frustrated... and that's okay. Frustration shows we are ambitious and up for a challenge but, just as we say in class, don't compare yourself to anyone else and don't compare yourself to what you did last week, month or year. It's great to have goals, intentions and something to work towards but also understand that the journey to achieve this will have ups and downs - just like life in general. Some say life imitates art, in this case it's more life imitates box jumps!

This week Amy smashed the box jumps! Afterwards, another member approached her at the end of our session to say well done because he had seen her getting frustrated trying them on her own a few days before. He wanted to pass on his congratulations - I guess he could empathise because he most likely had his own experience of attempting an exercise many times before he smashed it. Haven't we all? I'm super proud of her and I can't wait to witness all the other amazing things she will achieve in our future sessions. She inspires me, just like all of you in our SMASH classes inspire me. You are smashing it in every class, even when it may feel like it wasn't your best. You are showing up, you are committed and you are giving it 100% (whatever that may look like on any given day). And do you know what? That's enough 

Have an amazing weekend guys! 

Sam and Ash