Note from Rachel
A big thanks to everyone that came along to my first Fitness, Fatburning and Function Bootcamp Workshop last week. We covered so much! – I hope you all weren’t all too stiff afterwards, thanks for all the great feedback on the content and the music. This week I am in Chamberlayne Leisure Centre in Southampton. I have 3 places left so if you would like a last minute place, Click here https://www.choreographytogo.com/workshop-booking/fitness-fatburning-functional-bootcamp/ I
This weeks newsletter is all about growing your fitness business, blogging,and 2 supberb articles from Jayne Nicholls and Nicola Joyce and a great piece from Marvin on his amazing Iron Man achievements , so all in all another great read.
I’ve written the first part of my Fitness business building article which I hope will help inspire and motivate anyone still unsure of weather to go all out and start a fitness community business. I’ve touched up a blog post I wrote last week on Blogging. It seems everyone is starting a Blog these days. They are the perfect vehicle for you to build a following, educate, help and advise your customers and elevate you and your brand to “expert”status. You personal blog will do wonders for your brand and credibility and is an important slice in your marketing pie. You can check out my Blog and Vlog here https://www.choreographytogo.com/news/blog/
Feedback and comments
Quickest way to comment and feedback to me personally is on Twitter, I’ll get your tweet straight away and if I’m not teaching or in a meeting will get back to you asap Tweet me http://twitter.com/RachelHolmes or you can get to me on Facebook and the Choreographytogo Fan page http://www.facebook.com/Choreographytogo If you have any website queries please email Lesley
New Downloads this week
I launched a new Bootcamp Core Workout and you can also find Double Trouble Step with myself and the brilliant Jo Parry https://www.choreographytogo.com/choreography/latest-downloads/ A quick note on viewing videos on the new Choreographytogo site if you get an error message on any page saying 404 it means your pc and browser are trying to look at the “old” choreographytogo site. You may have links and cookies saved in your favourites from the old site therefore you need to ensure you have completely cleared your cache/refreshed your page and browser or try using another browser. You can view the site using Google Chrome, IE, Firefox etc.
Try Logging in and out a few times, clear your cache or try another browser. Everything is working fine our end and all the videos are playing as normal. We need to ensure your pc is looking at the new Choreographytogo and not trying to find the “old” choreographytogo – if that makes sense. If you are still struggling please use the forum and someone will get back to you quickly there.
Its time to go it alone by Rachel Holmes (Part 1)
If you are a regular reader of the newsletter you will know I have been encouraging Instructors to get out into the community and kick of their own community fitness businesses for the last 9 years. And, there’s never been a better time to get cracking, if you are still toying with the idea or maybe have a few classes in the community then why not really set your stall out and go for it.
Do you work in a Gym or Centre teaching classes and or PT’ing? Perhaps you teach a pre-choreographed programme or freestyle and are paid £20 – £30 per class, or, perhaps you get £11 – £20 cut of the whole PT fee and the gym takes the rest, maybe you rent the space from the gym and try and train as many people as possible in a week to earn a good living………Is this you???
If you dream of working for yourself, organising your own timetable, deciding what classes you teach, setting up Bootcamps, Fitness Pilates courses, Teaching Kids etc etc then it really is only weeks away if you so desire.
The first thing to do is get your mindset right. See yourself running your business, with your strategies and systems in place. If you are wanting to start a long term business as opposed to teaching pay as you go classes in the community think of the bigger picture. If you set up your systems from the word go you save yourself a lot of hassles in the future. Banish thoughts that come in to your mind and say “I’m not a business person” “I don’t know how to run a fitness business” well surprise, surprise thousands of Instructors reading this newsletter once thought that and now they have successful and sustainable fitness businesses in their local area. If they can do it YOU CAN DO IT TO! The good thing here is many Instructors have done so there is a pathway and blueprint that you can follow.
Create a Business NOT a job
Take it from me, teaching endless pay as you go community classes is not the greatest idea long term. You create a “job” for yourself. But a job without holiday pay, sick pay and no perks YES you can earn loads of cash BUT only if YOU do all the work. It becomes very hard to take a holiday, progress your business, take on staff, manage your money and budget through the year.
I ran pay as you go community classes for 23 years and yes I earnt great money, but there was a lot of times through the year when the classes only broke even or lost money because of the snow, the sun, Christmas, nights out, Eastenders, football, bank holidays etc etc you name it I’ve heard every excuse in the book. No matter how much people enjoy your classes if there’s no financial commitment its easy to skip a class.
In the beginning I was a complete slave to my community classes and didn’t have a holiday for 4 years at one point. When I did finally go away I would be running to find internet cafes, ringing home to see if the cover Instructor had turned up, it was easier to stay at home and teach the classes 51 weeks of the year 5 days a week.
I thought that was how you ran a community business – I didn’t know any different and no one had ever done it any differently, there was no blueprint or business model for me to follow back then. As soon as I restructured the whole set up it really started to fly – Offering membership, block bookings and paid up front courses IS the way to creating a long term, sustainable fitness business. This business model is really not as scary as it sounds and if you set it in place from the off, you are at a definite advantage. Instructors all over the UK have changed to this model and are now managing successful businesses (And can go on holiday and take a break).
Of course, there is still scope to offer Pay as you go sessions for certain classes. Some classes WILL only only work if they are pay as you go but a good mix will give you the right business flexibility.
Who are you after?
Who do want to come to your classes or be your ideal client? This needs careful consideration, wanting to train everyone and anyone is the scattergun approach and will make your marketing and promotion super difficult. The more you can narrow down your market and create YOUR client profile the easier it becomes to promote your services to this market. I’ll give you some ideas :
1. The disillusioned gym goer – Someone who goes to a gym, quite enjoys training but is NOT getting the desired results from the gym.
2. The Over 40 who doesn’t want to be over 40 – Someone fighting the aging process (ME!)
5.Pre and Post Natal.
6.The Hard core Trainer – Wants HARD classes/results/latest techniques
7.The Softer approach – Enjoys Pilates/LBT
8.Yummy Mummys – Want to exercise in the day during school hours.
These are just standard client profiles you can create your own of course. Once you have nailed down your client profile study what they do, where they go, what do they read, are they your friends on Facebook.
Build your client profile – Then workout how to market to them.
I’d love to know if you are ready to take the plunge. You can Tweet me your comments to this article by following me on Twitter http://Twitter.com/RachelHolmes I am happy to help and advise you all the way so please sign up to my Free C2Go Fitness Business Building List https://www.choreographytogo.com/news/business-builder/# This is aimed at creating a group of C2Go’ers wanting to build successful and sustainable fitness businesses.
This Blog post (!) is going to arm you with loads of practical tips and advice when creating your Blog, what to write, how to to write, when to write and who to aim your Blog at and how a good Blog can elevate you onto the expert platform and drive traffic to your website HURRAH!!!
What can a Blog do for you, your brand and your fitness business – I know you understand all of the following points but setting it all out in black and white can help you understand WHY you are blogging!
1. It can elevate you to becoming a famous, well known, Fitness expert.
2. Build your unique brand and cultivate a loyal band of customers.
3. Showcase your knowledge and expertise.
4. Help your customers with problems, offering them solutions, advice and help.
5. Position you as a some one to be TRUSTED online – Blog regularly to build online consistency and loyalty.
6. Help you bond and build a long term relationship with your readers and customers.
I LOVE writing Blog posts that help Choeographytogo members. I can’t tell you the amount of joy I get when people comment and say my Blog post has helped them or gave them a kick to move their business forward.
Connecting with your readers and customers is PARAMOUNT to your fitness business success.
Blogging doesn’t have to take your hours every week. In fact writing a 30minute Blog post every day is like training for a marathon. To begin with you may find writing quite difficult but keep writing and blogging every day and it becomes easier and easier, you get faster and better with every post you create PLUS there is so much you can do with your finished blog posts 🙂
1. Recycle them – Send them to magazines, offer them to publications, other Blog, newsletter promotions, turn them into Press Releases.
2. Break up your posts into a series of key points and tweet them through the day.
3. Publish them as notes on Facebook to drive traffic to your Blog.
Do you dream of writing a book? Your Blog posts could be turned into a book when you have enough of them.
I hate writing
Use your web cam or get a Flip video and talk! All Fitpros are brilliant at talking, practice talking to camera and upload to Youtube and put it on your Blog. You can create Video Blog posts or VLOGS in 5 minutes.
First things First
As in everything to do with your fitness business you have to work out your client profile. Who is your target market? Your client profile? or as Morty says your client avatar. There really is no point churning out Blog post after Blog posts if you haven’t nailed down your audience. (see above)
WHO ARE YOU BLOGGING TO?
Ask yourself some basic business questions:
1.Is your Blog aimed at your current offline customers? e.g Your class members, PT clients etc – to help them, give them advice and create an online community.
2.Are you trying to build a new community for a potential membership site or new online business.
3. Are you trying to build customers to potentially launch online products?
4. Are you blogging to become an EXPERT in your area or Nationally or Globally?
5. Would you like to potentially write articles for the press or even write a book?
6. Who or What is your Niche?
Once you have answered these questions then Blogging becomes a whole lot easier as you always have that “person” in mind when you are writing.
A good Blog positioned on your website will drive traffic to the site, will increase your page rankings and google rankings.
I will be holding a webinar on Blogging in the next week so stay tuned and keep reading and commenting on this Blog!
Love Rachel xx
Drop in any time! Jayne Nicholls
Today has been one of those days where ‘old faces’ crop up when you least expect it. Those class members who I have not seen for at least 2 years, just decided to drop in today. Why? Is it because summer is fast approaching and it is the time to make an effort? or is it because every one who has ever attended my classes are on a database and they are kept in the loop of class times and changes on a weekly basis.
I have a few set types who drop in and out of class, those who attend seasonally, those who attend until I do something that they don’t like, those that attend no matter what and those who have no set pattern and just come when they can. All of these provide inconsistent, yet a constant flow of traffic into my local business.
I welcome them with open arms but am not obliged to offer them a result. Their attendance, ‘is what it is’, their reasons for coming are as vague as their commitment to coming and these people are an important and in their own way loyal market.
This for me is one great reason to accept pay on the day, drop in participants. If you consider our role, especially as community coaches, we are as important as the post office, the newsagent and any other local dealer. It is our consistency that is important, our desired result for doing the class in the first place. I love people to get physical results but their commitment to me is not important, as a busy person I understand that life gets in the way and a failure to achieve is a huge psychological de-motivator.
I also want my class members to try other peoples classes and experience different styles of teaching. If variety keeps them exercising then I want to be part of it.
If you also experience people who drop in, drop off, yet keep bouncing back, it is a testament to you as an instructor. You should be proud that you have created such an environment.
I suppose this makes us ‘pillars of the community’.
Bootcamp nutrition – MSG by Sally Garhfoor
Crisps – I used to love crisps, I could eat 5-6 packets in one go, I felt completely and utterly addicted to them. I was a slave to processed foods, snacks, everything really. My brain felt fuzzy, I couldn’t work properly, I was forgetful and anxious all the time, every two weeks or so I would get a migraine, I was constantly tired, I was just existing really, feeling tired and lethargic all day, convinced most days I must be coming down with something as I felt like rubbish! Then after a lot of research and attending courses I started to change what I ate, the biggest thing I found in my diet was MSG and since I have cleared it from my diet, the migraines have stopped, my brain feels clear, anxiety has gone and I am full of energy. I feel calm.
My son has mild ADHD, which is controlled by his diet and if he eats anything with MSG in his symptoms are exasperated, eliminate it from his diet, you would never know he had ADHD. However the research conducted states that “there is no conclusive proof MSG causes hyperactivity in children”. Well I beg to differ.
MSG has been linked to numerous neurological conditions, but the government still claim it to be safe, my advice to you all is investigate it, at least when you have researched it you can make your own informed choice just like I have, I feel so much more, well human and all my clients do too …. So what is MSG
MSG – The cocaine of the food world.
You will all be familiar with this saying “one pop and you can’t stop” well there is a reason and it’s called Monosodium glutamate.
Monosodium glutamate or MSG is a flavour enhancer; it takes the flavours of the food and enhances it. It over stimulates the glutamate receptors of the brain, heightening the flavour of the food, which then makes it hard to stop eating, you become “addicted to the food” So you really need to eliminate this from any bootcamp nutrition plan. Wouldn’t it make sense to eliminate this substance from our diets, is this not why we are becoming an obese nation, because once we start eating food with MSG included we cannot stop. I know I can’t, if I eat one beef space raider I will eat 5-6 packets of them, so I cut it all out of my diet and no longer crave it.
How does MSG work?
Glutamic acid is an amino acid that occurs naturally in some food stuffs, so surely MSG is ok to consume? In fact some food manufacturers employ scientist who will tell you “there is no difference between naturally occurring free glutamate in food and the manufactured type found in MSG” There is no fact to this statement, it is merely a belief. The process of artificially manufacturing glutamate means it is broken down and the naturally occurring glutamate is changed into free forms never found in nature, so they react completely differently when inside the body. Modified glutamate is absorbed extremely quickly into the gastrointestinal tract, where it spikes blood plasma levels of glutamate. Glutamic acid is known as an excitotoxin. High levels of excitotoxins have been shown in studies on rats to cause damage to areas of the brain and guess what humans are 5-6 times more sensitive.
What are excitotoxins?
Excitotoxins are a substance that over excites brain and nerve cells, they over excite the cell until it dies. This is where certain symptoms come in. Migraines, lethargy, ADHD, ADD, cardiac arrhythmia, dizziness, depression, rapid heartbeat, to name but a few. My uncle has been diagnosed with Parkinsons disease – guess what his consultant told him to cut out of his diet – excitotoxins i.e. MSG and Aspartame (Aspartame is going to need an article to itself as it’s my pet hate)
Dr Russell Blaylock author of excitotoxins – the taste that kills, goes on to establish a link between excitotoxins and sudden cardiac death in athletes, he links up the use of excitotoxins in foods and drink and low magnesium “What you see in almost all these cases is low magnesium. When the magnesium level is low, the glutamate receptors become hypersensitive, and so people — athletes in particular, if they are not supplementing with magnesium — are prone to sudden cardiac death, because of the glutamate receptors. If they eat a meal or something that contains glutamate or drink a diet cola before practice, it will produce such intense cardiac irritability; they’ll die of sudden cardiac death. We know the sudden cardiac death is due to two things: Most commonly arrhythmia and cardio artery spasm. Both of which can be produced by glutamate” (interview with Dr Russell Blaylock www.naturalnews.com)
Of course for every argument there is some kind of study done which is conveniently paid for by the food manufacturer of the product in question. I find the best research is to speak to people who have eliminated symptoms by eradicating certain additives from their diet, the ones who have nothing to gain from telling you their story.
I could write forever about this but can’t fit it all in, so just wanted to give you the general idea, if you want to know more pop over to my blog I will put up a post with all the alternative names for MSG along with symptoms and diseases it is linked to, or ask away on the C2GO forum.
How to make sure your press release gets read! by Nicola Joyce aka The Fit Writer
In this series of blog posts, fitness copywriter Nicola Joyce lets us into the secrets behind successful copy: content which persuades, informs and sells. First up, press releases.
What is a press release?
A press release – also known as a news release – is a widely-used method of letting journalists and editors know about anything newsworthy going on within your business. Usually sent via email as an attachment or in the body of the email, a press release can also be uploaded to many free websites to boost your SEO and Google rankings.
There’s a trick (or few!) to writing press releases which will actually be read. Don’t forget, journalists get hundreds of releases a day. Editors get more. If you can get them to read past the first line, you’re doing well. Remember, a press release isn’t an advert. And it shouldn’t used to circulate standard information about your products or services. Think “news release” and you can’t go far wrong. The purpose of a release is to communicate something newsworthy. After all, what you’re asking for by sending the release is a mention in the magazine or newspaper – without paying. Ask yourself “is this something truly newsworthy which the editor will be glad to use? Or is it something I should be paying advertising rates for?”
Why should you be sending press releases out?
Press releases give you a way of communicating with inhouse editorial staff at newspapers, magazines and websites, and with freelance journalists active in the sport and fitness sector. They can’t come to you for an expert quote or a kit test if they don’t know you exist. They can’t mention your industry award or fantastic client case study if you don’t tell them about it. But remember… these people get lots of press releases, and most of them are badly-written and irrelevant. Yours won’t be if you follow these top 10 tips for writing a press release!
Top 10 tips for press releases which get read
1 Is it news or an advert? You’re asking for a free mention in a publication which charges a lot of money for ad space.
2 Did you know only 1.5% of fitpro press releases get opened? I’m not sure if that’s true, but it shows the power of a strong headline. Make it intriguing but not vague.
3 Human interest is good. Case studies, success stories, charity mentions and community stories go down well.
4 Know your audience. Make sure you’ve read the publication, their readership and the type of news and features they usually go with.
5 Details, details… ensure every bit of information the editor or journalist could want is in the release. Names, dates, places, RRP, web links, where to buy and more!
6 Include images (and caption them). If your release gets picked up, you may be asked for a high-res image. Include a low-res version with the release and state you have a high-res one available.
7 Support your content with stats, figures and number where possible, citing the source.
8 Make sure your contact details, or those of your press officer/PR person are on the bottom of the release: name, email, phone, website and availability.
9 Mention that you, your case studies and any other key people are available for interview and photographs.
10 Include a “notes to editors” at the bottom of the release. This is where you put facts and background information which would otherwise clutter the release (biographies, company information, etc).
Good luck! Oh – one last tip – don’t forget to upload your press releases to somewhere like <a href=”http://www.prlog.org/”PRLog</a> as well as sending them to journalists and editors.
Nicola Joyce is a freelance copywriter and journalist who specialises in writing for the sport and fitness industry. As a journalist, she writes regularly for Body Fit, Muscle and Fitness, Triathletes World, Women’s Running and lots of other consumer magazines. As a copywriter, she helps businesses like yours communicate clearly with their customers, clients and prospects. Read her blog thefitwriter.wordpress.com and her website http://www.nicolajoyce.co.uk
46 weeks ago I was challenged to enter the 1st Official Ironman world championship qualifying race in The Woodlands, Texas USA. Having visited Detroit in 2009 (studying the GIFT Mentorship programme) my invite came for another student Markell Lacey (Strength and Conditioning coach, Swim Coach, Personal Trainer) who lives in nearby Sugar Land.
I hadn’t been training for any events or had ran anything near to 10k in weeks so before taking the challenge I did a practice run for 30 minutes and made the decision based on that run.
For the record, I had never swam more that 20 lengths of a 25 meter pool at my health club, Ran further than 9 miles or cycled on a road bike ever.
Rising to the challenge I quickly entered before the race became full and began reflecting on how what a few clicks of the keyboard and a laugh over a beer had became my official entry. I had no idea what I had just done.
Previous to this I had made rash claims that marathon running was just accelerating the aging process upon your joints, is great for mental strength and terrible for our bodies and something I would rather never do. The exact quote was “I’d never run a marathon, it’s a waste of time. If I was to run a marathon I’d just do an ironman and tick all of the boxes on one day. Then nobody will bother me again” – timed at 6.38am before my indoor cycling class with a room of people who were all training for their first marathon (what a terrible, terrible trainer I am)
So 46 weeks had to begin somewhere. I had a few decisions to make:
Who should I ask for advice?
What diet should I follow?
Where do I get a bike?
How do I learn to swim?
What is the temperature in Texas?
The list goes on and on…
So I did what I always do, thought that I would just figure it out for myself. Then I can learn, practice and mastermind my own training. I planned a video blog, wrote to the papers and went to the local triathlon shop and spent a ton of money that I didn’t have. I entered 3 sprint triathlons and 2 Olympic triathlons. The triathlon season was coming to an end so lake swimming was going to be a problem all winter. In fact, I soon realised the whole training programme was going to be a problem. Everybody was stopping for the winter, I was just starting. That means: training alone, training indoors, training in the snow and ice. All the opposite to what I would advise. There was very little functional carry over to my end goal.
I started a sponsorship page. I had two good causes. My Dad who is suffering with motor neurones disease and a former student of mine that had Bone cancer at age 16. These were my motivation.
My diet was simple. Mainly paleo consisting of meat, vegetables, fruit and certain times but not often, fresh waters, as organic as possible, cooked as best as a single guy can, planned to suit my lifestyle and rotated daily.
Training started with base fitness for 3 months. Anything fitness related I never said no to. This included an 8 mile run with a client followed by 90 minute football match. Teaching classes back to back, going to the gym for 2-3 hours. If it was fitness, I did it.
At this point the weather did reach 25-30 degrees. So this was the only heat training I was going to do. 43 weeks away from the event.
By Christmas 2010 I was alcohol and junk food free. Injury free and had been to 4 open water swim sessions. My local health club had 3 swim sessions a week. This consisted of a coach giving us drills and time limits that we followed for 1 hour. Fortunately for me the participants had completed triathlons before and the coach was a friend. With some stroke advice and words of wisdom the guys prepped me with enough information for me to get by. It was a simple deal. They told me what swimming should look like; I took care of the actual training, conditioning and biomechanics. Within 3 months I was swimming with them, beating most of them and sometimes wearing a t-shirt at the same time. They didn’t know why or how, I just gave them credit for their advice and notes that I must be a fast learner. 2 of them soon became personal training clients, the rest my cheerleaders.
Cycling was my next focus. The weather towards Christmas was typical. The worst winter in the UK for decades! My bike wasn’t carbon and despite my efforts just wasn’t giving my enough speed. So I changed to a much more expensive bike. Wanting to know more about cycling and by being inquisitive at a few meetings I landed a trial for a new position as a presenter for a company called Watt Bike. I came, saw and conquered. They wanted me to help produce a cycling specific programme and teach people how to use the most scientific bike I have ever seen. Being not even an amateur cyclist and just a guy with a dream, watt bike introduced me to their sports scientist Eddie Fletcher. I spent 2 days asking questions and learning as much as I could from him. Although a guy with 3 degrees and a list of pro athletes as long as my grocery list for clients all over the world, there was a heap of knowledge that I had to learn. He broke it down into 4 components. Balance, heart rate, RPM, Power. My main screen on the newly acquired training bike I had gave me all of this every time my foot touched the peddles. Get this right and your technique will be displayed as the most efficient, scientific way possible. Great – I’ll spend the winter in my garage then. So I did.
My running was never bad. Although I never ran further that 6 miles because football didn’t require me to. I ran too far too fast and my knees didn’t like it. I ran 20 miles in my longest run in November and hated every step. In December I had the Luton marathon which was cancelled due to weather and I was over the moon. I spent Christmas and New Year resting, foam rolling and stretching. I even made my own recovery and integrated stretch programme that I considered sports specific, multi planar, mobilising and developmental for my body. After 2 weeks my body was recovered, more flexible, fresh and recharged. My running was faster, further and recovery rate improving. Fast.
Post Christmas was time to put things together. I averaged 4 hours per visit to the gym. Trained for 15-20 hours per week and worked on a system of:
1 week intervals
1 week long training
1 week putting together the 3 disciplines and strength
1 week recovery and development
Work permitting this was my loose structure for training. If my body couldn’t take it. I stopped. Reset, started again.
These are the top 5 pieces of advice given to my during my training by ironman finishers and high level coaches that I successfully chose to outright ignore:
1. Carb load. Eat pasta, rice, potatoes and rice daily, stock up on energy
2. Swim like a triathlete not a swimmer – use your legs as little as possible and save them for the bike and run
3. Work through the pain. After all, that’s what will happen on the day so train for it now
4. Weigh yourself. Do the distance. Weigh yourself. Work out how much weight you lose to convert into electrolyte, salt and hydration levels needed for the race
5. Train in a sauna or turn your heat up in your house to get use to heat training
Well done. These all get entry to my book. “The world of fitness discussed by rumours in a pub”
They get top priority next to other world famous comments such as
· Eat 2 bowls of cereal to lose weight
· A balanced diet is following a food pyramid
· Train for sport by laying on the ground
· Anything is better than nothing
· After training reward yourself with a take away
And my favourite
· Do 3 sets of 10
Let’s regain focus. To summarise my training in a quick snap shot; I never got to run 20 miles again. After my pain in November I only ran 16 miles in the Derby Kilomathon race and 13 miles in a few few training runs. My furthest bike ride came 1 month before race day, an 80 mile road race in Northampton on a cold, windy Sunday morning. I had to upgrade my bike to a size that was “too big” for me because it wasn’t comfortable. Cycling shops were more interested in what my leg length was and never considered my wide shoulders. So when I cycled I was uncomfortable. My longest swim was 2 miles and a 3 mile charity swim that I did in chunks to allow me to have a rest and drink. The hottest weather I trained in was 30 degrees. I went to Club La Santa in Lanzorate in September 2010 for international aerobics week. I trained 3 times per day. Got lost on a bike ride and didn’t drink enough fluid at all.
Staying mentally focussed we lost Donna late April but a final call to the local press got her a phone call from JLS that sang to her down the phone, tickets to their concert, west life tickets and local stardom for a few weeks. Thanks JLS for the flowers at her funeral as well. Guys I’m sorry I can’t join the band. One Marvin is enough for anybody.
Dad had a few falls on the stairs and we had a PEG fitted to help with feeding. The chair lift was a great training aid for me after long days and also helped my mum get things up the stairs. Pure functional.
I travelled to Texas 1 week before the race. I took my bike, rented a wetsuit to be delivered to Markell’s and wrote down my 3 favourite songs and bank details for my mum in case I got it all wrong (true story)
When I arrived I spent the build up walking around the local area in the sun. Swam at the local pool and shopped at Hollister that had a 40% sale. Thursday we visited the woodlands (45 minute drive away) for a race briefing, registration and to collect timing chips. There were 2700 participants.
The tension grew and Thursday night I stuck to my promise and waxed my legs for charity. Most triathletes also do this in case of bike accidents and for “aero dynamics” when swimming. So to look the part and for fun I took the plunge.
Friday morning we took our things to the race area. Signed our bikes into transition, gave in our clothes for each transition area and looked at the course map. Reality was nearly hitting and Markell briefed her clients. This was her 4th ironman and she is a local hero in Sugar Land. Although I was in good hands I was pondering what time I should be aiming for. 14 hours is respectable, 13 hours is a good effort, 12 hours and you have done amazing, 11 hours and your beating some pro’s, 10 hours I’d need a drugs test after.
On the bike at 56 miles (half way) and on the run you have a special needs food bag. This is your chance to put anything you like in your bag and do whatever you like. Set up a picnic, take a rest, and remember what food tastes like. I decided to put all time classics in mine. Peach circles, Oreo biscuits, gluten free pretzels (salt) and a few energy bars. To save the intensity of this pressured story. On the bike I dropped everything and on the run I felt sick. So it didn’t matter anyway. Waste of time.
On race day I walked all of the way to the start and forgot my bags so my warm up was running back to the hotel in a mad rush. At the start line I got back for the American national anthem and a helicopter passed over that made me feel like I was going to war. Entering the water for some reason I started crying. Still not sure why, just the overwhelming feeling that the time had come. I panicked about my goggles but before long it was too late and the final 2 minutes was here. Ozzy Osborne – Ironman started playing and the water push started. 3, 2, 1, and a gun that was it.
The swim was terrible. I was kicked in the head, pushed under, swam over, pulled back and punched. All standard of a triathlon. I gave as much as I received.
We had a choice of wearing a wetsuit. The water was warm enough but wetsuit entries wouldn’t be able to qualify for world championships. You must be mad if was ever going to make it but I chose not to wear one because Markell didn’t and I wanted a fair and square competition. 2.4 miles. 1 hour 20 minutes. Hated every minute.
The transition area is a large tent. One for males and one for females. I ran in, got naked, put on my bike things and trotted off.
The bike was magic. 5 hours 20 went very fast. I hammered my legs, got cramp in both quads and passed Markell at 40 miles. I averaged 20-25 miles per hour and didn’t have any trouble with punctures or time penalties for drafting (cycling closer than 4 bike lengths to the person in front)
I wet myself 15 times. But it was a sign of hydration so I was happy with that.
The run transition was tricky. My legs were like jelly and I just wanted the race to be over. The sun was getting hotter and humidity made people standing still faint and be sick. I spent 2 minutes in transition and got the show on the road
26.2 miles of red hot heat. Horrible. The marathon took me 4.5hours and I couldn’t run any faster than the set pace I was at. My legs wouldn’t allow me anymore and in my head I just thought – get to the next drink station (1 mile) I had 2 energy gels on the whole run and was totally unaware of the skin that had rubbed away from my shorts (between my legs) and my back from the belt I wore with gels in.
The last mile is nicknamed the “smile mile” you are going to make it and the feeling of thousands of people shouting and screaming at you gives you the biggest boost ever. Coming up the final stretch the commentator shouts out your name “Marvin Burton – You are an ironman”
Crossing the line is amazing. 2 people held my up, 1 out my medal on and another took photos. I was escorted for a few meters and then left to ponder my life. I spend 1 hour walking up to anybody with a finisher medal and shaking their hand, shouting people over the finish and eating. I got slower and slower at walking. From the finish line to my hotel room it took me 3 hours.
That night I had a mixture of cold sweats, sickness, diorreah and drank enough water to sink any ship. Apparently this is normal for after an ironman. The only think I regret was not going on a drip to help my fluid levels restore quicker.
I have no idea if I will take another ironman. The sacrifices have been huge for the last year. But… if there is something that you think I might be interested in please could you forward any suggestions to me please.
Since the race I have had lots of people saying they are going to try a triathlon. I would say go for it. A sprint triathlon will only take around an hour and is great for first time triathletes. It’s the fastest growing sport in the world. As fitness professional I think we all need to know about growth areas and niche markets. Well this market is a very affluent and performance based area. Have a go. Try something different.
Thank you for all of the messages of support. Until we meet again
Marvin Burton – Ironman
I hope you have enjoyed the newsletter this week 🙂
Have a great week
Love Rachel x
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