As you may have seen by now, this summer our mantra has been pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and trying something completely new.
For 4 brave members of staff, this has meant taking on #MyChallenge — an intense 8-week training and nutrition programme, guided by 4 expert professionals in a specific sport.
For our global social media manager, Alice, this #MyChallenge has not only required commitment to a tough physical training regime and a carefully tailored low-calorie meal plan, but serious mental dedication to mastering a brand new skill — figure skating.
Whilst learning to ice skate has obviously required physical effort, Alice has discovered that a massive part of her training has required a lot from her mentally, too.
“Every session requires a lot of mental strength! Mostly because it’s such a technical sport, and there’s so much to remember. If my leg positioning isn’t right, Sylvain will tell me and show me how to reposition my legs, and I’ll go round again really focusing on my legs…. Which means I forget to remember the positioning of my arms, back, head, etc.
It’s hard to remember everything — and to remember to do it all together.”
Tackling the problem head on
Alice admits that she didn’t really anticipate the technical aspect of the sport at all, but over the course of her sessions she’s learnt how to deal with this in a way that works for her.
“When it comes to learning a new move, repetition is key! I keep doing it over and over and over again. As soon as I’ve done it correctly, I then know what it takes to get it right, so I practice and practice it even more.
In most cases, I don’t get it right by the end of the session — or even the second session — it just takes repetition and patience.
I think that comes down to the fact that there is just so much to remember, so you have to sort of practice each part of each skill individually and then try and piece it all together.
What I’ve found really interesting is that sometimes I will practice something all lesson and not grasp it, and as soon as I’m back on the ice the next day I can do it.
I think sometimes that head space to think about it rather than trying to do it can really help — I also find myself practicing my positioning whilst I’m cooking!”
Picking yourself up after a fall
It’s hard to keep yourself motivated when something you’re trying to do just doesn’t click. As adults, it’s not all that often that we put ourselves in situations where we’re completely out of our comfort zones and don’t know what we’re doing. We like comfort and familiarity — so we stick to people, places and activities we know.
The prospect of failing at something is scary enough — without throwing in the very real possibility of a painful fall on the ice too.
#MyChallenge hasn’t just forced Alice to try something completely out of the ordinary, but it’s come with the added risk of physical pain.
“Falling is a horrible, because, yes, it really hurts! That obviously affects my performance because I’ll be a bit sore, but what is even more annoying after a fall is how I then subconsciously change my technique to cover myself if I fall again.
I fell badly in week 2 from putting one of my toe picks into the ice and slamming face first into the ground (ouch). Even now, I really struggle with my foot positioning because I am so conscious I’m going to catch my toe pick on the ice again and it’s really hard to get that out of my head. Ironically, I’m more likely to fall when my positioning is wrong.
I watch professional skaters every time I go to the rink as I train as the same time as them, and it’s so impressive and inspiring to see them all repeatedly fall over, get up, and go again as if nothing happened.
I think about that a lot and try and channel that same mentality — if it happens it happens, get up and go again. Easier said than done when it hurts so much though!”
Alice’s advice for success
“The key to my success is determination. I really work hard to get things right, and I try not to get angry with myself when I don’t.
From a more physical perspective, I always try to listen to my body too. If I feel like I’m tired in my sessions or something would be easier if I was stronger, I’ll put more work into the gym to improve that on the ice — e.g. I’ll train my legs to make them stronger, or cardio to improve my fitness.
Also, it absolutely has to be said that if I wasn’t committed to doing this then it would definitely be a different story.”
Follow Alice’s #MyChallenge from the beginning:
Don't miss a single spin or slip from Alice on her #MyChallenge journey.