Tag Archives: fitness

What’s your arms only rope climb equivalent?



Fitness is a funny thing. We might get injured or distracted. Things we’d previously worked up to and got to the point of doing with, if not ease, then less struggle, suddenly feel impossible again.

This might be lifting a particular weight, a speed you’ve not matched, a yoga pose you’ve not done for a while… Just as getting stronger, fitter, more flexible and powerful has a positive impact on our confidence and mood, getting out of the habit can have a detrimental effect.

I often wonder how Simone Biles is doing.

After her phenomenal performances at last year’s Olympics, the image that stayed with me was of her daily workout’s inclusion of climbing a rope ladder using only her arms.

She made it look – like her gymnastics – like FUN.

You can see her brief pre-Olympic interview with Ellen DeGeneres, including some gymnastics clips and the infamous rope climb HERE.

‘It’s very easy,’ she tells Ellen as if she means it. ‘I do one rope a day like that.’

Every so often, when psyching myself up to cycle to the pool, I wonder. Does she still do it? What would happen if she had a week off?

I’m not an athlete (although, when I had a whole lane to myself at the Olympic pool in Stratford when it opened to the public, I did imagine – for a few seconds – being an Olympic swimmer).

Even so, I notice that if I don’t cycle for a few days, I feel the effort more when I do again. My 3 or 4 swims each week (sometimes I only manage two) are almost always for an hour but I notice that when I’m more on top of things and going more often, I’ll swim faster. Some of them – many of them – are pretty leisurely. I’m no Olympian but I love being in the water.

Injury means that for almost a year, my yoga practice has been lighter on the upper body work. I crave certain poses but know I’d be foolish to try them again before I fully heal (I have delayed the healing by not being so patient in the past). I’m also aware that I might not be able to do them again and that saddens me.

And this is another key, when recovering after injury or getting back into any kind of training: Being friendly to our bodies and appreciating what they can do today. Not beating ourselves up remembering through rose tinted glasses how we could do more in the past.

What do you do quite effortlessly? How often do you test yourself to keep it going?

What’s your arms only rope climb equivalent?

How’s your self-talk when you’re in that zone?

What are you building up to?

What helps you be kinder to yourself when illness, injury or other obstacles mean you can’t reach your fitness goals?

I am regularly awed at how quickly I start to feel like an amoeba if I don’t swim enough and then, it’s like magic how much better it makes me feel when I get back into the pool and sea.

Do you notice an impact on your mood when you’re working out well and when, for whatever reason, you’re not?

Feel free to comment below.





Working with our changing energy levels

What helps you feel most strong, fit and healthy-

When I’m on fire (feeling strong, fit and healthy), I think practically nothing of cycling the four mile round trip to get to the gym, do a (yoga, Pilates or Body Balance) class, swim for an hour and head home.

When I’m at my strongest, I do this three or four times a week. I feel like ‘Yaaaaayyyyy! Am really getting somewhere. I can feel myself getting stronger, more toned, more flexible and even [often right before I fall over] more co-ordinated!’

And then, maybe I get my period or a cold or injure myself or simply fill my schedule with too much work and I lose that momentum.

Three or even two times a week then feels more like hard work. And yet, I know myself – If I don’t get my two or three swims a week, I start feeling more amoeba than human. Swimming for me is more yogic than yoga. Even so, I do at least a little yoga every morning after my meditation.

Again, this varies a lot. Sometimes it’s a ‘proper’ practice, other times, just a few gentle poses. And (when feeling more amoeba than human) sometimes, maybe just Child pose. The important thing is that I do some yoga every day.

On other days, I’m generally walking a fair bit or cycling to run errands and go back and forth from work. Yet it feels as if I regularly cycle between feeling like I’ve got this routine down as habit and meh.

While I’m more at ease with the ‘on top of the world’, ‘getting stuff done’ part of my cycle, I’ve learned to honour all parts. That’s not to say that when I’m feeling ‘meh’, I don’t wish I could snap myself out of it.

Sometimes, self-care means pushing myself and doing more (like going for that swim I’m planning during a break between sessions today) and other times, letting myself off the hook.

How do you manage your energy cycles and fitness routines? 

What helps you be kind to yourself wherever you are in your cycle?

What is your ‘ideal’ exercise schedule for a strong week?

What about when you’re feeling much more ‘meh’?

Feel free to share below.