I didn’t need to worry. The people at the Human Performance Unit were lovely and quick to put us at ease, despite prodding and poking us.
It was a very strange feeling, being measured and tested. I have an idea of myself, which consists of my feelings, thoughts – the essence of me. I have never really paid much attention to the physical idea of ‘me’ other than being an easy way to get around. So on one hand I felt as though the tests were outside of me, I had no control over them, but on the other hand of course I had control over them. Depending on what I eat and how much I exercise I do affects how my body looks and feels. And speaking to the nutritionist later in the day only confirmed this: what you eat and when, how much you drink and when all affects your performance, not just as an athlete but in day to day life too. I feel like the scales are dropping from my eyes… it’s not rocket science but I think we get bombarded with so much information that it is hard to know which to follow. Over the years I have tried countless diets, and I normally end up heavier after I come off them then before I started them and the irony is I’m not even fat! There has been one real occasion where I had to lose weight but I had overeaten previously, and to be honest, without the testing yesterday I had probably been heading in that direction again. But realising that eating well and being kind to your body isn’t about vanity or pressures to look a certain way, it’s about being able to perform to the best of your abilities, has made me look at food in a whole new way. To be honest there are still bits I’m confused about and I could have quizzed the nutritionist all day, but understanding the purpose of food has been a massive thing for me.
The physical tests were difficult, and at the end of it Dave concluded that we were fairly movement illiterate, but I was aware of that anyway as I am quite clumsy and clunky in my movement. Never having done many sports as a child I didn’t learn when others were. But it is so hard for an adult to begin learning: can I go to an athletics club or a gymnastics as a complete beginner as an adult? Will I just get laughed at? Or will I put with the little children?? Are there even the opportunities out there? It makes me panic slightly. My eldest son is about to start secondary school and I’m urging him to hit the ground running and make the most of everything there, try out for all the sports, all the drama clubs and all the musical societies because it seems that if you don’t do it as a child you’ll never get to do it. But am I just signing him up for mental and physical exhaustion before he even gets to 16?
Dave suggested that we try coaching rather than personal trainers to improve our movement literacy. So I’m going to research athletic clubs and free running clubs in the area (Dave’s suggestion).
My excuses came in handy, despite being the jump specialist my maximum height jumps were the lowest by a long way! and Dot was literally on a pogo stick. However, I managed to redeem myself in the standing long jump test and Holy came to the fore in the single leg bounds. I was very aware that I wasn’t doing that well and I could have done more. Probably not on the day because of my excuses but now that I know what to expect I feel that I can concentrate and do a better job. I also think that matching the nutrition with the exercising will help to prevent injury, illness and burnout. Instead of becoming the best hopscotcher I’m going to train to become the best me. I want to be at the height of my game and that includes removing the pressures to always be perfect, allowing mistakes and learning from them.