‘If you can dream—and not make dreams your master; If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same…….and you’ll be a man, my son’
This is the second part of a two part post. If you missed part one, here’s the abridged summary:
I entered a Les Mills International competition called ‘The One’ – a search for the ‘world’s hottest fitness talent’. I managed to get through to the UK final and win it, so now (Part 2) I am preparing to go to Stockholm to represent ‘Team UK’ in the Grand Final.
So there I was, at Stanstead airport, early on a Thursday morning with 14 friends who were coming out to Stockholm for the OneLive weekend, when they got this out:
They also had two more big Union Jack flags and a bunch of little ones as well to support me in the final!
Getting to Stockholm was easy enough, a quick fight and a quick(ish) journey from the airport to the hotel. The hotel was beautiful and it was the same hotel that all the presenters were staying in (there were also masterclass filmings going in that weekend). I actually walked into the hotel to check in behind Dan Cohen (Programme Director for BodyCombat and CX Worx), Dave Cross, Matt Malloy and Michelle Nicholls from team UK which was really nice as they showed me where to check in (I was on the wrong floor) and wished me good luck for the Grand Final. I then, embarrassingly, got lost in the lift (as I didn’t know I had to put my card in to the slot and then it would take me to my floor) and Susan Trainor (Programme Director for CX Worx) had to show me how it worked.
That evening we had been invited to a causal meet and greet to meet some of the other finalists and break the ice a little bit. I already knew who the finalists were and had set up a Facebook group so that we could all have a chat before we all met each other. I met about half of the other finalists that night and it was so much fun! We all had a little bit too much to drink but it was a great evening. We also ran into Gandalf (Programme Director for BodyJam) and Susan (Programme Director for CX Worx), who proceeded to take a selfie!
As the weekend went on I got more and more nervous about the event, which was on the Saturday night. The post-it notes and posters were stuck up in the hotel room with the key technical points that I had to work on, it was just the waiting.
For the most part I chilled out on this day, ambled around the hotel and the OneLive filmings but didn’t really do too much. I did get to meet the filming team for BodyAttack 92 which was awesome! I say I ‘got to meet them’. What I actually did was see them sitting down in the lobby of the hotel and ran up to them liked a crazed fan and asked for a picture!
I decided to go into our practice room in the early afternoon; not to practice, but to try on a variety of different outfits to see which one would look the best for the track that I was going to present.
Some of you may think that this was a little vain! I disagree! I really wanted to win, and I was paying attention to everything within my control in order to give myself the best chance.
The run up to going on stage was a bit surreal. It was really lovely to see so many of my friends, mostly from Nuffield Health and Wellbeing in Cambridge, who came to Stockholm support me. The makeup felt a little weird (yes, there was makeup, and hair!).
Interestingly the closer it got until I went on stage the less nervous I felt when things were up and running. I was ready when the time came, I had trained right, scripted, and was ready to go!
I really can’t remember much about the actual teaching element, it’s all a bit of a blur. I remember that I couldn’t really see much of what and who was in front of me because there were so many lights in my face! I also remember, and every contestant said this, the horrendous feeling of standing there, opening my mouth to speak, and having the driest mouth I have ever experienced. I hope that feeling goes away the more often you present on a big stage!
Suffice to say I got through it. Afterwards it was great, so many people came up to me to say how much they enjoyed it!
The awards ceremony at the end was stressful. They announced third and second place to begin with – at which point I was certain that I had not won, as the person who I thought was spectacular hadn’t been called out yet. Below is the only video available (to date – I’m sure Les Mills have a proper one) showing what happened as they announced the winner:
Why I didn’t want to blog about it
To be honest, the main reason I have written this is a thank you and acknowledgement for all those people who have been so supportive of me, and who’ve asked me to tell my story. I’m so uncomfortable talking about my own achievements, and I’m anxious that people will read this and think I am bragging or boasting.
I guess the other thing that makes it hard, and I haven’t even really celebrated with a night on the tiles (it’s not all protein shakes and grilled chicken in our house), is that I know that many of my friends entered this competition too. Not just those fabulous people I met in the UK and international finals, but my instructor friends from around the world. These are people who I know try as hard as I do, care as much as I do, and give as much as I give. Some of these people have been my friends and my inspiration for years, through the days when I perhaps didn’t commit myself as fully as I do now. And I really don’t want my delight at winning to cause them distress or disappointment in any way.
That said, I did win, and whilst it turns out that success as well as adversity can be a test for friendships, at the end of the day, as I prepare for my trip to New Zealand, I’ve been overwhelmed once again by the love and support of that group of people, and I’m grateful for the lessons of the past year.
What the future holds
I’m going to enjoy the remainder of my time as The One. I’m going to make sure that when filming is over I celebrate this achievement and take a moment to acknowledge how excited I actually am about it. And I’m going to love every moment of the Reebok contract that came as part of my prize, and do my best to be a brand ambassador for them and for Les Mills.
My own training has taken a different direction of late. I’ve been working with a PT for the first time (rather than being the one dishing out the pain) and I’m going to try to keep that in my life. I have been doing functional training around filming for BodyAttack and lots of strength training. Left to my own devices I can and will do all the cardio in the world but I am really valuing the support with the strength and flexibility work.
I’ve also been keeping a much better eye on my nutrition and rest and recovery and so far so good on the health front. I’m really wrestling with the challenge of not saying yes to covering every available class (because I love it and I want to be able to afford a PS4) and instead prioritising my own overall wellbeing and programme, but that’s something I’ll be watching this year too.
Oh yeah – and then there’s that IronMan I signed up for in July!
If someone had told me 12 months ago that I would be in this position I would have told them that they were delusional. If you want to know where I’m going to be in 12 months time I’ll say that now, anything seems possible if I set my sights on it and really try my hardest.
2016 looks like it’s going to be a super busy year and I have loads of really cool things lined up which I will, of course, keep you updated with 🙂 Thanks for following the journey so far.