Fundraising to get fitter

It is no secret, exercising is hard. We all love the idea of exercise, but we might not love the actual activity as much.

One of the things people tell me every time I ask them about the whats and the whys of them wanting to become healthier is that they know they should run more, but they do not like it. They might even hate it. I only have one answer for that.

If you do not like running, then do not run.

For years I though getting fitter was doing stuff I hated, lots of sit ups, running around the pitch back in school, and having a sweaty (lazy) P.E. teacher telling me I had to do more press ups, and that I was not doing enough. You know what happened after I was able to choose my subjects and could get rid of P.E., I stopped doing any form of exercise for years and went on with my life believing I was just not made for it.

If you look at my life nowadays, you would be surprised at how different I have become about fitness (not really, since you are reading this, you probably know I am really into exercise, but you know what I mean). I am a personal trainer, a fitness instructor (teaching about four fitness classes each week), I coach women’s football, I do bootcamps, I coach online, I run (less than I used to), I work out almost everyday… and I am always looking at how to find the next race, the next class to try out, or go hiking and walking with the dog.

Exercise is hard. If you do not find it hard, you are not putting enough effort in. If you feel like meh and do not feel your heart rate going up, and struggle with the last repetitions of an exercise, you are probably working out in your comfort zone and will not see many changes over time. Notice I have not mentioned pain. A bit of soreness is alright, pain is not - maybe a post for another time.

Do something that scares you everyday

I take that quote to mean burpees. Do burpees. Everyday. It is a really hard exercise, which you can modify to suit your current skills, but it will make you fit, and on top of that, it will make you feel on top of the world when you manage to do them, even if you only manage two. Exercise should be a bit of a challenge. Today you should be perfecting yesterday so you can conquer tomorrow.

If you sign up for a challenge, any kind of challenge, you will feel overwhelmed with the new training schedule. I believe there are six stages to deciding to do something challenging.

  1. I need a challenge, I want to become fitter and prove myself (and everyone else) I can do it.

  2. Let us share on social media and tell everyone we know that we signed up for this crazy challenge. This is exciting!

  3. What have I done? What. have. I. done? Is there a refund on the entry fee? No. Bummer.

  4. #startedtraining This is actually doable, I do not know why I was so worried about it before.

  5. Training is hard. And boring. And the date is fast approaching and I am nowhere near where I should be. What. have. I. done??

  6. Event day. I feel so not prepared. I am probably going to die. I am going to wing it, and hope for the best.

Bonus stage: post event. I did it!! I am sore all over, but that was fun. Hey, do you want to join me next year?

And start again…

Motivation to train

I have been there. A bunch of times. First half marathon, first time attempting to walk 65 kilometres in one day, second half marathon (went really bad), first bike ride, second bike ride…

Funnily enough, the other times when I have done a challenging event and I have stuck to my training schedule were when I had someone keeping me accountable for it. One of the ways of doing that, as I have mentioned previously, is through charity fundraising.

When I have fundraised for charity, a few things happen. First, that accountability issue is out of my hands. It is not just me that has any investment on whether I complete the race or not, but someone else is depending on me turning up at the finishing line. There are also people watching me and keeping an eye on me and my progress. They want to know how I am doing, and yes, they are cheering for me, which always helps in any situation anyway.

They also want me to go through a challenge. If I booked myself for a 5k run, I probably would not get many people giving me their hard-earned money. If I on the other hand turn around and say I am signing up for a marathon, that might be a different story. I do not know why, but people seem to want to pay good money to watch others suffer in sports.

Finally, the deadline. You want to show everyone they made the right decision contributing to your cause, so you want to prove you can do it. You will struggle, but you do it, because people need you. They need the money you are raising so they can work on… whatever you are fundraising for.

I could go on and tell you about many other reasons why fundraising works as a motivator in sport, but at the end of the day that is the main reason. You are raising money for a cause, sometimes close to you, that needs the money to improve the quality of life of people in need; or to do research to cure an illness; or something along those lines. It can be for people, for animals, for the planet. The truth is you find something that resonates with you, and you ask people to help. And people do, because we all want to help others at the end of the day.


One particular fundraising

Which brings me to my last point of the post. I have recently spoken to my friend Rocchi about his fundraising. He is raising money for three different charities that help those affected by HIV/AIDS, or help prevent its spread. There are different events spread throughout the rest of the year, to keep him challenged. He has been supporting Terrence Higgins Trust for a while now, and this time he has decided to also raise funds for Mercury Phoenix and for Prepster (via Positive East).

If you have done or taken part in a fundraising event in the past, you know how hard it is to reach fundraising goals, unless you are selling cake. This is not about getting something (cake) in exchange of donating money. Even if you could only donate £5, it would really make my day if you helped Rocchi get just a little bit closer to his target. And it would help a lot of people, not only people potentially close to you (that you might not even know about), but also people in other countries.

I have just donated to all three charities myself!

Visit Rocchi’s Just Giving page and have a read, and do not forget to listen to our podcast episode together!