Climbing is one of the best full body workouts you can do without feeling like you’re doing an insane HIIT workout. In my mind the gym is a massive no-no, there is no chance of ever catching me in one of those, I hate the feeling of everyone watching while I lift a solid 15kg with my partner stood next to me deadlifting 140kg. I would much rather be sat feeling sorry for myself whilst eating donuts, but that wouldn’t solve anything. I know I need to get fitter and stronger and I’ve known that for a long time but never had the courage to do anything about it, that was until I found out about climbing.
Two years ago, my college tutor introduced me to the World of Climbing and it was terrifying, I was (and still am) terrified of heights, so getting me on the wall was a challenge in itself. Slowly but surely, I did it, there may have been some swearing and bucket loads of nervous sweating but I got to the top and made it down in one piece and I was so proud of myself. After I conquered getting to the top once learning the ropes was easy. It took a couple of attempts but I was tying the knots and belaying like I’d been doing it for months, and I knew that this would be my thing, this was going to become my gym.
When The Send opened in Hereford (thank god that Green Spider opened) I was delighted, I was straight in there messaging Nick and Nina weeks before opening trying to organise group sessions for our college group and working out the logistics of taking up climbing – I was even looking at harnesses, shoes and belay devices to buy and there was still two weeks to opening! I was like an excited puppy, and one of the first there on opening and boy was it great. Over the February half-term my friends and I climbed every single day and within a month I was seeing the results. I had muscle for the first time in years. I hadn’t seen muscle on my body since I stopped dancing in 2012. It was incredible. Forget the gym all you need is to get on the wall. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to get fitter, stronger and more flexible.
Once we got started we didn’t stop. Don’t get me wrong I’m still scared at times but I’m getting there. There truly is no excuse to not climb, I’ve got both mental and physical issues that should have prevented me from climbing. But climbing actually helped them. I had suffered an injury causing ligament damage in both ankles putting me on crutches for over four months. After that I struggled to walk for seven months, going up and down the stairs was agony, but climbing helped strengthen them and allow me to be able to walk around again almost pain free. These days I can manage a sizeable hike with limited supports which I didn’t think would be possible again.
I can’t recommend climbing enough to people. It gave me a form of exercise that I love, fuelled me wish passion and gave me a job that I couldn’t imagine not having. You can’t ask for much more really. Climbing truly has changed my life for the better and I will be forever grateful.