At the start of 2017 I committed to spending this year trying new things. I think it’s important to continue to challenge yourself physically and mentally, and to have new goals to work towards. Yesterday I tried women’s rugby. I visited the Ellingham and Ringwood Rugby Club and took part in their Warrior Camp. Warrior Camps are free sessions England Rugby is hosting across England which allow women to try rugby without the commitment of joining a team and with other women who, like them, have never played before.
I’ve been champing at the bit to write about last night, but I wanted to hold off and I’ve now had a full 24 hours to reflect on the experience. I’m going to talk you through the whole experience and I’ll be including a video of different bits of the evening. However, I’ll preface this by saying that a day and a bit on I ache like mad. I lift in the gym very regularly, but rugby was a workout on a whole different level. I left dirty, achy and tired but also on a complete natural high!
I arrived with about 10 minutes to spare before the start of the training session, and I’ll happily admit I was nervous. I think it was pretty obvious, because one of the first messages I was asked was if I was nervous lol. I met the ladies’ team coach, who was lovely, then got myself signed in. I was given a bright pink vest which I chose not to wear, only because I am rather well endowed in the chest department and the vest had a somewhat restrictive and flattening effect (I may have blushed just a little trying it on). I wandered over and met the other ladies – some who, like me, were experiencing rugby for the first time, others who had played before and wanted to get back into it, and some members of the Ellingham and Ringwood RFC ladies team. We did introductions while passing the ball around the circle. It turns out that after years of no team sports I was pretty rusty at catching, and I had no idea how to pass a rugby ball!
We moved out onto the pitch, where a smaller area was marked off with coloured cones. We started out with rugby ball ‘netball’ – passing the ball in any direction but we couldn’t run with it. Once we got the hang of catching and passing, we began running with the ball, too. Once we were touched we had to pass the ball to a teammate. This was upgraded to two touches, and somewhere around here we learned about keeping a line of defence and the offside rule – you could only pass to someone behind you, not in front.
We had a break and it was time to learn about dropping safely to the ground. Meet the rugby Gruffalo! We played a game where we were Gruffalos, The Gruffalo’s Child and Sleeping Gruffalos. So, bumping into each other with our shoulders, dropping to the ground, rolling and getting straight up again and lying flat face down and then jumping up again. We also did some partner work learning to pin someone to the ground. I felt a bit mean – I was partnered with someone half my size, but as it turned out I was laughing so hard that she pinned me on the second go with almost no trouble at all. Our last game was basically touch rugby – hold a line of defence, pass backwards only, run with the ball but if you’re touched stop and pass. I thought by this point I would be dying, and I think a couple of the coached thought I was because of my tomato face, which I get even on a warm day with no exercise at all. I was still going strong though, enjoying every moment and I even scored two tries!
We then headed over to a course that had been set up. We split into teams and it was time to learn how to tackle. We had to run at a padded cylinder that looked a lot like a punching bag, drop our shoulder into it and take it down, then pick it up and run with it before running back to our team. It was at this point I got a bit over enthusiastic – I found the idea of running full pelt at something and taking it out just a little too appealing! I threw myself into it on the first go, didn’t drop the shoulder but literally flew through the air and landed hard right on top of the bag/cylinder (can anyone give me the correct term for this please?). One of the coaches asked if I was okay, but I was so pumped at that point that I was utterly perplexed as to why he was asking me this! I shouted “I’m great! Let’s go!” and I charged off carrying the bag, dropped it, and sprinted back to my team.
After I got back to my team I realised I had perhaps rattled my bones a bit, but I was super keen to do it again! This time when someone yelled repeatedly at me to drop my shoulder I tried my best to do it, and the result was much more comfortable.
And that was it. We were done. It felt like we’d only been going for about half an hour, but a full hour had passed and it was time for the team to continue a proper training session. I had been so nervous but I was sad it was ending, especially as I was on such a natural high! I’ve resolved to find myself a team in the near future.
England Rugby’s Warrior Camp was a fantastic experience, and one I’m so glad I found the courage to embrace. Warrior Camps are being run all over the country this year, so if you’d like to have a go at women’s rugby in a safe and fun environment without the pressure of everyone else knowing what they’re doing, then get yourself along to one near you. They’re free, they’re so much fun and you’ll learn what the game is all about. Click here to go to the England Rugby website and search for Warrior Camps near you.
So, my Warrior Face. You wanna see it, right? Are you ready?
At the beginning of this year I challenged myself to spend one year trying new things. I got off to a flying start earlier in the year and threw myself into my new project. I tried gymnastics, which was hard but amazing, and I signed myself up for adult ballet. I got a road bike and began dabbling in cycling and I entered the Great South Run, which unfortunately is now out of reach due to an injury. Since then I lost my mojo a bit, disappointed I wasn’t going to achieve a major goal I had set out to smash.
Well, I’m pleased to say that when it comes to trying new things, I’m back!
This summer I’ve challenged myself to give rugby a go! Yes, you heard right 🙂 Girls can play too, ya know! I grew up playing a variety of sports, but I think as adults it’s really easy to forget the value of playing team sports. A lot can be said for the team spirit and camaraderie that comes with being a member of a sports team, not to mention better mental health and overall fitness and wellness that comes as a result of being physically active. I have several friends who play football, AFL (in Australia) and rugby who say when they joined they didn’t just get a new sport, they found a sisterhood. I don’t know about you, but that’s something I could definitely use more of in my life.
The great news is, that I’ve picked a fabulous time to try rugby, because England Rugby is running a series of Warrior Camp events to give women the opportunity to try rugby in a fun environment without the pressure of being thrown straight into the deep end with other experienced players.
So who’s with me? On August 30 I’ll be going to the Ellingham and Ringwood Warrior Camp at 7pm in Ringwood, Hampshire. It would be fantastic if some of you can join me! You can sign up to this Warrior Camp or find one closer to you at www.englandrugby.com/innerwarrior
I’m going to post all about my experience, so make sure you check back here and follow me on Instagram to if you’d like to see what Warrior Camp is all about.
Are you a woman that plays rugby? I know there is at least one female PKU rugby player – Emma Harbage has represented Britain and is currently over in the US and Canada playing Rugby. If you’re a female rugby player, do you have any tips for me? Help a sister out here!
I seriously can’t wait, but in the meantime I think I’d better keep working on my cardio… 😉
After the first week this journey got challenging. I’m a little perturbed that the honeymoon period was over so quickly! I haven’t had time to write – I’ve taken on a bunch of new PT clients and I’ve been crazy busy as a result.
I have realised I can’t throw myself into this all or nothing, because with my mental lifestyle it simply won’t be sustainable. I’ve come up with a list of bad habits I need to kill, and good habits I want to work on that will ultimately help me reach my goal.
Habits I need to kick:
1. Buying food and drinks on the go. I have an awful habit of buying something to eat or drink (sometimes both) whenever I’m out. I’m out of the house a lot. I’m pretty sure that I’m consuming way more calories (not to mention protein) than necessary. If I kick this habit I’ll be saving money and I think it will make a significant difference to reaching my goals.
2. Not going to bed at a decent time. I don’t know if it’s a mum thing, but I am terrible at going to bed! When I get home and the girls have gone to bed, it doesn’t matter how tired I am (like now – I feel like my eyeballs are practically hanging out of my head!), I seem to force myself to stay up. Sleep is super important for stress management, recovery and a whole host of other things. My lack of sleep is not going to be helping my fat loss efforts!
Habits I am going to work on:
1. Drinking more water. I have never been a water drinker. Plain and simple, I don’t like it. Of course, I still need to drink it! When I got my best results I was drinking 3L of water per day. I’m nowhere near that these days, partly because if there’s a choice I’ll always reach for a coffee instead.
2. Preparing my meals. If you fail to plan you plan to fail. I need to remember this, and the take it a step further and pre-prepare as many meals as possible for the week. I am dreadful at sticking to a food plan, so this week I’m trying to simplify it as much as possible. I have frozen veg in the freezer and I’m going to pre-cook some other veg and rice so there’s no excuse.
3. Consistency. This has always been a downfall for me since I gave up equestrian. When I was competitive in dressage I was so consistent that anyone who knew me could say where I would be, when I would be there and what I’d be doing. That was my passion, it was easy to be consistent, but I lost that passion a long time ago (it’s still in there, but I can’t afford to ride, let alone own a horse, train seriously and compete). I need to find it. This month I’m going to work on consistency. Consistent eating habits, consistent protein intake and consistency in my training.
Next month I will pick some new things to work on, but one step at a time. Little changes add up to big results!