Fitness & Motivation
With the year speeding towards an end I wanted to write something about 2019 and how fitness saved my freelance career.
Oh yeah… this article contains pictures of me with my boobs out, apologies in advance.
It’s no secret that I love and hate freelancing in equal measures. I’m the first to admit I’m not always the best at keeping healthy attitude towards myself and my work. Ask any of my online buddies and they’ll probably tell you at least once where I’ve complained to them and commented on wanting to take a “proper job”
Get a “proper” job??
Well 2019 was the first year where I almost did get a proper job. I was talking to several startups about taking a role with them, at first it was a fun flirt with “what ifs” and quickly became real when I was being asked for salary expectation.
Before I really could accept any of these roles I had to remind myself of the 11+ years I’d been working as my own boss and ask myself “Why are you looking for a job?”
The answer was all about Motivation. I had none. 11 years of freelancing had worn me down and you know what, I wasn’t that 26 year old that started freelancing either.
You’re too old!!
Another huge factor was my age. Things were changing, I was struggling with my skin, back pains, anxieties – all sorts.
I assumed taking a role would take away all the stresses of being your own boss and give me that buzz to go to work… I quickly realised I’d still be me… just in another role so had to go deeper to the problem.
I read online that energy levels and motivation can easily be linked with how healthy you are… so I decided to try and get fit.
Let’s start running
My fitness journey started when we moved house. We had moved to lovely Shrewsbury where the River Severn runs through. I had always wanted to run around the river so started slowly by doing the Couch to 5k. It was starting to work – I had hit my 5k target earlier and even worked up to just under 8km and then, BOOM. Injured.
That was mid-late 2018. For 3-6 months I did nothing about it. I had also hurt my back doing manual labour in the garden. I felt like I was falling apart!
So now I had these injuries, this boredom at work and no motivation to get anything done.
Let’s lift some weights
My wife had started going to a ‘Strong Girls’ club that was 1 hour strength training sessions ran by a lovely local couple Simon and Suze. Their company Core Fitness / Studio Four also did mens sessions but I didn’t like the idea… at first.
It took my wife about 6 weeks of suggesting I went to the mens sessions before I finally agreed to go – and I loved it.
It was nice to get out of the house and talk to people that wasn’t my dog. I was working muscles I never knew I had and then BOOM. Injury, the bloody back went again.
Let’s see a professional
This time I took my back injury seriously, booked into 3 Osteopath sessions (which didn’t really work for me) and 3 Chiropractor sessions (Which thankfully did work for me). The diagnosis was a strained butt (not even joking) and a strained neck.
After the 3 sessions I was feeling back to feeling some level of normal and excited to get started on the fitness sessions again.
Let’s seek dietary advice
At the same time I spoke to Suze about my skin, as a nutritionist she quickly got to the bottom of my skin woes. I was eating too much crap, snacking on sugar based foods. Turns out 90% of my foods were bad for people like me with Eczema. Inflammatory! I shouted.
Lets eat clean-ish
I quit sugar, dairy and wheat and my skin slowly retuned to normal. Don’t worry gang, the weekends are fairly full of cheat meals but I’ve never gone back to dairy or wheat.
Sugar is the one area I still struggle with but even now I’ve reduced my sugar LOADS. I’m sure I’ll be rebooting my sugar levels very soon don’t you worry.
So back to the training. I’ve been going now for a solid 6 months – stronger each session. I’ve even started doing some PT with Simon, the hour a week is great to just focus on my body and not worry about work.
So currently Monday is PT, Tuesday is Strength Training, Thursday is Circuits and Saturday is a home workout. I love it. I’m addicted to working out.
The results are incredible.
Regardless of how I look I was back in the zone, firing on all cylinders. I was fitter than ever and people were noticing that I was looking healthy. Even my mother in Australia notices it via a blurry Skype session.
My productivity was back up, my confidence was up. Even the anxieties I was having before are fading away – leaving the house regularly is good for you… who knew??
The new me has since doubled down on freelancing and began working with startups and tech businesses more long term, less about the 5 day projects and more about the 6-12 month engagements.
My work has improved and honestly enjoy getting to my desk in the mornings. Earnings are up and my accountant is happy.
To avoid future back problems I also treated myself to a Herman Miller Aeron chair and making more use of my standing desk.
So this is my journey in photos below. I wasn’t huge to begin with but you can see how unhealthy I looked.
So TL;DR – Exercising and eating better has helped me focus, gain confidence, reduce anxieties and find love for my job once more.
I’m fairly confident nobody is reading this far down the page but feel free to tweet me with your own fitness-freelance stories. #freelancefit