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Tribesports User of the Week: Helen L

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Posted by Helen L under Weight Training (Strength Training), Yoga on 2 October 2013 at 11:00 PM

Helen L Which has been your toughest Challenge and which are you most proud of?

My toughest challenge and the one I am most proud of has got to be the Touch your toes with legs straight Challenge.  This took me 5 months to complete!  I thought I would never be able to complete it! The breakthrough came when I started practicing yoga and thus my flexibility improved, now I can do it easily!  The toughest challenge mentally was No cake, chocolate or cookies for 28 days, I must have started that challenge at least 4 times over (however, I was in some good company!)  I knew that as long as I kept trying then I was in with a shot of completing it and eventually I did it! That was certainly a mega tough challenge and it felt great when I managed to complete it. 

It must have felt awesome pressing complete on the 50 push-ups in one go Challenge - how long did you work towards it?

It felt super awesome to complete this one!  The first time I tried doing a ‘proper’ push up was New Years Day this year and I could barely do 4!  I decided to make this my fitness goal for 2013.  The plan was to start by doing 5 push ups daily and then add another each week so that by the end of the year I could do 50.  However, I found that my progress was super quick, so much so, that by the time I reached by birthday in March, I managed to do 41 push ups this year for my ‘Birthday push ups challenge’.  It was not long after this that I reached the magic 50!  Unfortunately, I injured my neck in April and push ups were one of the things that I had to stop doing, however, it feels great that no one can take this achievement away from me!  Thankfully, I can now do push ups again and I have recently started doing push ups using the medicine ball in the gym. These are great and I don’t need an excuse to practice them.  I am sure it won’t be long before I reach the magic 50 again!

Strength training has clearly had a great influence on your fitness - which are your favourite strength exercises?

There is absolutely no doubt about my favourite strength exercise – squats, squats and more squats!  Squats are an awesome exercise for your whole body and there is nothing like the sense of achievement I get from doing them - I will pick the bar off the rack and wonder how on earth I will manage one squat, never mind a set!  Luckily I have some great gym buddies to train with and encourage me.  

Lat Pull DownsI used to be a regular swimmer and originally I started strength training to compliment my swimming and to strengthen my stroke but I soon fell in love with lifting weights and started doing more and more work in the gym and spending less time in the pool!  I loved the progress I was seeing and the feeling I got when I managed to increase my weights or squeeze out an extra rep. The very first exercise I did in the gym was using the lat pull down machine and it is still one of my favourites.

I also love bicep training days because bicep curls (especially using the EZ bar) make me feel strong.  I always used to want to lose weight and to be thinner, now my goal is to be stronger and fitter. Feeling strong is amazing!!

Bicep curls

How has yoga changed your training?

Without a doubt, yoga has completely changed my life!   If you had said to me at the beginning of this year that I would be practicing yoga, then I would never have believed it. 

Unfortunately, as I approached my 40s, I became very injury prone and I have niggles my with back, my neck and my knee.  In April I was in a lot of pain with my neck and had to take time out from training.  Injuries are no fun at all and I am sure I must be a nightmare to live with when I am not able to train!   I started taking the ‘Extended puppy pose’ challenges and I found these really helpful. I was soon searching Tribesports for other yoga challenges to try.  I now do at least 20 minutes of yoga stretches every day - not only did yoga help me come back from injury, it now also helps keep me pain and injury free. 

Since I have been practicing yoga regularly I have also seen amazing progress in my training and I am certain yoga has made my stronger.  I really look forward to daily yoga stretches so it is a win/win situation.  I think everybody should try yoga and I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone. 

Which stretch with a foam roller would you recommend to a friend??

Foam RollerThe great thing about foam rollers is that they are so flexible.  Again, I bought myself a foam roller when I was injured to use on my thoracic spine, but I soon discovered other ways to use it by searching Tribesports and the Internet.   I still tend to use mine on my thoracic spine, but I also get an amazing chest stretch by laying on it vertically and opening out my arms.  I know other people who use it for their hamstrings and quads so the best thing about foam rollers is that you can tailor your sessions to your particular needs. 

Which Tribesports user makes your day?

Dave W for inspiring me to try yoga because this has had such a positive impact and also for his constant support, encouragement and inspiration. Rick P and Eunice Y are both an absolute inspiration to everyone here on Tribesports and they constantly amaze me with their training updates.  I look forward to the daily encouragements from my Italian friends, Matteo R and Sergio O and I love logging on and see my notifications list and the encouragements from Lavinia I, Amanda C, Al W and Louise H.  However, there are so many members of the Tribesports community who put a big smile on my face with their amazing support and encouragement.  I am only sorry I cannot acknowledge each and every one, but their support is so appreciated and I feel so lucky to be surrounded by the Tribesport community to support, inspire and motivate me.

What's your favourite quote? 

I love the phrase:

‘Train hard or go home’

I always try to put in 110% effort in my training - half hearted attempts are simply not good enough.  It doesn’t matter what level you are at, whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned athlete, the best you can do is give it everything you’ve got. If I did anything else then I would feel that I’d let myself down.

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