Hello! I’ve fallen very, very short of my aim to get two blog posts up a week. But I’m back into a bit of a writing groove, and I’ll start with a quick look at what I’ve been up to offline – the things that have kept this blog sitting bare. Over the coming weeks I’ll add some separate posts that expand on the stuff here, and link them into this recap.

  • I started working as a Personal Trainer back in May, based mainly out of easyGym Kings Heath, but also in other parts of South Birmingham and Redditch. Pretty quickly it started going much better than I had expected. I had set myself a goal of having a minimum baseline of three regular clients at any one time by December 2018. Within a few weeks, I had well over 10, and before much longer it was hitting 15. Go here to check out reviews from my clients. Go here to get in touch about me training you.

Operation Deload

  • At the same time, I was very aware that my family caring commitments needed more attention. My main job as a Community Organiser for a charity was less flexible than the Personal Training, which was mostly (though not completely) on my own terms. I decided to take a very big leap indeed and make Big Bag Training my only line of work for a while. I reasoned that freeing up more time would let me increase my caring input, and invest energy into growing my Personal Training as well.

Dr Gym will see you now

I’ve been combining my professional skills as a PT with my voluntary role as a family carer
  • This was truly never a step that I imagined I would be taking, but I’m happy to say that the risk paid off. I’ve been able to be more present with the loved one who has needed my help. That was my main objective. I’ve also really enjoyed being able to apply my Personal Training skills with a broad client base straight away, and learned tons in the process. What’s more, I’ve been able to pay the bills.
  • My neighbours and I, with the help of some other experienced organisers, have built a tenants union to try and pressurise the freeholder of our building to fulfil his duties and make sure that the block is dry and safe for us to live in. This has been another intensely steep learning curve; a slippery one that we’re still staggering up, as this story is ongoing!
The UNISON Regional Games were a success in some ways, but left me with mixed feelings
  • I worked my butt off over the summer as the cooordinator of the third UNISON West Midlands Regional Games. I’ve put up a separate post that shares my reflections on that. One of the guests was Pat Reeves, a former powerlifting champion. Pat is the Divisional Secretary for the British Drug-Free Powerlifting Association (BDFPA), and after she learned that I’d been strength training in the gym, she suggested that I should join up and compete myself.

Life is heavy

Me at my second meet with my warm-up crew Naz and Eve
  • So in September 2018 and January 2019 I took part in my first powerlifting meets. I’ll be sticking up a separate blog post about that. I qualified for the Nationals in July 2019, so now that I’m getting into a more regular writing and posting habit you can expect a few more updates on here about that.
  • I’ve not managed to get back to caving. I have just written something about what caving has meant to me. I hope that doing so will give me a bit of the fuel that I need to make that goal happen.

If the apocalypse comes, beep me

Veg gains incoming
The future farm
  • I didn’t manage to use the allotment properly in 2018. We joined forces with another tenant to share her plot, as well as keeping ours going with just a few cabbages on there. In 2019 our allotment is at last going to become a communal thing, so it’s looking up. I hope that the apocalypse is considerate enough to hold off a bit longer though as we’re not quite self-sufficient yet.

  • On the theme of the apocalypse, I was given a mega stash of date-expired chickpeas and kidney beans, so have been having a successful time in the kitchen. Separate post upcoming about plant protein prep.
Shifts at a 24-hour gym are not the best for healthy sleep
  • One subject that I did blog about before my massive silence was sleep. Not getting enough, and trying to get more, consistently. My sleep has been a little bit better since the run up to the September powerlifting comp, but improving sleep is still right near the top of my list of goals, so I’ll be writing more about that soon too.
  • I passed my Level 4 Advanced Personal Trainer (Obesity & Diabetes Management) diploma back in October, and have quite a few thoughts to share as a result, so a blog post is in the works on that too.
  • I’ve just got myself a great new job as an Area Organiser for my union, which I hope will stretch and test me, and develop my skills to the full. It’s an amazing opportunity to help to make change, as part of an exciting plan, in a serious environment. I’m also on the management committee for the new Ella Baker School of Transformative Organising, and a Director of Basic Income UK. More on that soon.
Getting this job has taken me a few tries and lots of learning
  • I always like to take stock at the close of one year and the start of the next. 2018 has been a year of breaking so much new ground. This year I came right off social media for the whole of December, prompted by Annika Spalding’s challenge. I want social media to be back in its rightful place as a tool, not a master. I used the time for some good learning and thinking – about how I can create more than I consume. Part of that is a lot more content hitting these pages. Please do subscribe for updates now by signing up over there on the right, if you’d like to keep hearing what I’m up to and thinking about.