Our blogger this week is the fabulous Georgina Spenceley of Fitcetera, who has dared to take on classes such as Bitch Boxing and has shared her animal behaviour gym observations for us on our blog. "I love the undeniable coolness of Gymbox!" she says.
Hi Georgina! What's your blog all about then?
Fitcetera is mostly about fitness - whether that's my own training diary consisting of CrossFit, running and yoga, different fitness trends I try, or the latest kit and gadgets. I'm also a massive foodie, so I like to post a bit about new snacks and drinks, convenient food boxes, and the occasional recipe. I try to keep my blog posts real and honest – I want people to be able to relate - I work in an office 9-5, I own my own home, have housework to do and bills to pay, and I have to work hard to fit in training and healthy food, so hopefully my readers realise that, actually, I'm just like them.
What motivated you to start it?
I talk about training and nutrition a lot, and my friends know that if they ask me a question I'll always either know the answer, or I'll know how and where to find it. I think my passion for all things health and fitness related sometimes make me a little too enthusiastic though, and I could easily go off into a long conversation about threshold runs and heart rates! So I decided I needed an outlet and Fitcetera was born.
How do you think you're contributing to the fitness community?
I think my blogs about CrossFit have encouraged a few people who were debating trying it to take the plunge, which makes me really happy. I strongly believe that, in order to truly live an active life, you need to find a form of exercise that you really enjoy, and I think for a lot of people that could be CrossFit. I also like to think that my occasional foray into the scientific aspects of training, such as biomechanics, physiology and anatomy, are interesting for those who may not go searching for that information.
You just sprained your ankle, what happened?
It turns out it's not a sprain after all, which is a relief to me as ligaments are notoriously slow to heal. I have what my physio described as a "compression injury" which basically means inflammation of the tissues in the joint – I guess similar to arthritis, but this will go away. It occurred during rebounding box jumps (where you jump down from the box and straight back up) and it was mainly caused by my restricted ankle mobility meaning I absorbed the impact in a way the ankle isn't supposed to handle. It didn't present itself until the next evening when I ran a 10k and it took a bit more of a bashing. Being injured is hard, and it's made me a little low from not being able to train at all, which has also resulted in a lull in blogging, but this is an important learning curve and definitely something I'll broach on the blog.
You recently wrote about your journey from having an eating disorder to now being healthy. Was it difficult to share?
I'm not totally out of the woods yet – in fact, I think an eating disorder is something you never fully step away from, much like with depression, alcoholism, etc. It's a topic I've drafted many posts about, but have either been too scared to actually post them, or haven't thought they communicated my message in the way I wanted to – I didn't want it just to be a self-indulgent confession of sorts. I wanted the story to have meaning and relevance. But with the body confidence post, I finally felt in a place where I could share my story, even though my finger hovered over the "publish" button for ages! I'm so touched by all the comments and messages I received since posting it. My readers, friends and family have all been so supportive, and it's surprised me just how many people resonated with what I was saying, and how I felt.
You recently got into CrossFit, any other sports that you'd like to try but haven't yet?
I've never really done a sport with any kind of adrenaline rush so something exciting like rock-climbing, shooting, skiing, etc. I used to go horse-riding as a kid and would love to pick that up again. I've also always wanted to try roller derby... but am useless at skating and slightly terrified I'd get beaten up!
What's the best bit of kit you've been sent so far?
I think that would probably have to be any one of the fabulous leggings I've been lucky to receive, or my TomTom Cardio Multisport – it's been fantastic for my training.
And your dream piece of kit that no one has yet sent?
I'm a bit of a science geek, so I think rather than a piece of kit I'd love to have the experience of being fitness tested! VO2 max testing, body fat analysis using MRI or hydrostatic weighing, muscle fibre analysis, posture and gait analysis and correction – the lot. That would be my dream opportunity! My DNA Fit test came close to this, but I'd be so interested to see how the physical tests would compare to the genetic ones.
Are most of your friends into fitness?
A lot of my friends are into fitness, but to be honest they're mostly ones I've made through joining the running club or going to the gym. Some of my "pre-exercise" friends have gotten a little into fitness, but more as a weight-management tool than a hobby or passion. I don't know if I've directly inspired any of my friends to start training (I hope I have!) but I know that when they do they would usually come to me with questions about what they should do, when and how.
You're getting married this year, what do you think about the pressure women are under to be 'perfect' (i.e.: thin) for their wedding day?
Oh I hate it! I've always thought: I want to look like me on my wedding day. The way I see it, if I lose a load of weight for the wedding the chances are it's not going to be sustainable and why would I want to look back at my wedding photos and think "oh look how slim I was then"? I want to look at my wedding photos and see me and my husband! There's enough pressure to get everything right for the day and make sure everyone's as happy as they can be, without worrying about fitting into a smaller dress, or growing my hair long so I can have the "perfect" tumbling curls!
What are your thoughts on the diet industry in general?
Personally I think there's too much about quick-fixes: "your fast flat-belly plan," or "how to lose a stone in 2 weeks". It's what sells. But the more new shortcuts that are advertised, the longer it will take for people to come around to the realisation that being fit and healthy takes time, continuous effort, and permanent lifestyle changes. The diet industry is full of extremes and people are either "on a diet" or they're not. They don't realise that small changes (both in lifestyle and in attitude) are actually what make the biggest difference long term.
What is it about Gymbox that makes you happy?
I love the undeniable coolness of Gymbox. It's modern, edgy and stands out as a brand from every other gym I've been to. I've always felt welcome walking in the doors, and each branch I've been to (Farringdon, Bank, Stratford and Covent Garden) has all been completely different stylistically. The variety of classes is amazing too – where else can you do circus, frame, spin and MMA under one roof?!