FitBits - fitness for fun and wellbeing: 2017

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Thursday, 28 December 2017

2017: the year I found myself again

2017 year review - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

Ah, that's better. Nice one 2017, you were much better than the total shit storm of 2016 in the world of Tess - thank you.

No broken bones, no bereavements, no losing my total sense of self in a rabbit hole of unrelenting stress and anxiety.  No wishing my life away and living for the weekend.

No Monday dread. No toxicity. No worries.

Here's why 2017 was the year I found myself again...



I got my wellbeing back

FitBits | The Quiraing in Skye - 2017 year review - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

I kept my promise to focus on my wellbeing, and reclaimed my time, my health and fitness. I started realising what's important to me early on last year but it took another 12 months to really do something about it.

So I've been riding a wave of awesome for most of this year and there's really only one main reason for that - a reason that feeds into everything else.

The year I went freelance has been my best year. 

There's only so much daydreaming you can do. Only so much 'on the side' that your side hustle can be before you just have to answer your calling and take the leap.

Every time I reply 'I'm a freelance copywriter' to anyone who asks what I do, my heart expands a little more.

I'm now a published fitness writer, and had my first articles published for The Body Coach (two more blogs coming in the new year), Total Women's Cycling and Bike Radar, with more pitching to do as we head into 2018.

I've used my seven years of digital marketing experience to write blogs for digital agencies, global email marketing companies and again for Google. I've rewritten a whole website in a new tone of voice, and regularly write email marketing copy for various clients, as well as social media posts, reports, straplines, concepts, and more.

To be paid to write is literally my dream and I'm living it right here, right now.

You can view my portfolio here if you fancy a nose, and read more about why I love being freelance on the blog :)


I got my confidence back on the bike

FitBits | Surrey Hills mountain biking with Marmalade MTB - 2017 year review - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

One thing that's really made me happy this year is finding my flow again.

ICYMI, I decided to throw myself off my mountain bike and break my collarbone and wrist last summer. It was pretty shit, and even though I got back on the bike just three months after that fateful day, I was full of the fear and a shell of the rider I used to be.

It's a funny thing, fear. You think you're OK and then suddenly it smacks you between the eyes and puts you right back in your place. Something you found so easy before suddenly becomes the most terrifying thing in the world and you just can't bring yourself to do it.

FitBits | Coed y Brenin mountain biking - 2017 year review - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

And it doesn't even have to be a big scary drop. Although there is still a semi-scary one that I just can't do in the Surrey Hills, but I'll conquer that soon enough.

When I first got back on the bike, I was even scared of the swooping, flowy blue trails and lovely smooth berms that I so loved to ride. I remember shitting myself and clinging on for dear life riding Blue Scar at Afan last Autumn, and having to bail on Y Wal when I couldn't do it. 

This year Blue Scar became a warm up once again, and it felt great.

I rode my first black trail at Afan and came 6th on the Strava women's leaderboard (the 23mile W2 - graded black for its length rather than scary drops and jumps), got comfy on the rockier trails, and found my flow in the Surrey Hills thanks to Sean from Marmalade MTB and his awesome bike fit and coaching.

I feel like I know my bike and can really ride it now. A good bike fit makes such a difference. 


This year's mtb adventures also saw me driving myself and my bike up to Coed y Brenin for the awesome women's weekend (longest solo drive I've done to date!), and me and Chris even took our bikes to Scotland for two weeks of utterly amazing riding that will stay with me forever. 

It was our first trip back to Scotland since our amazing honeymoon in 2014. We basically did the same thing as we did then - one huge road trip taking in the spectacular west coast - only this time in our van, with our mountain bikes.  

A 1700 mile-round trip with my favourite human, from Brighton to the Lake District, Loch Lomond, Skye, the Cairngorms and then Dundee to see family. Bliss. 


FitBits | Glen Coe mountain biking - 2017 year review - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

I've never seen landscape so magnificent. Never breathed air so clean. Never been happiest than when I was riding between those mountains, or sat cooking in the van with my fave after a wet and windy day in the great outdoors. (And it was VERY wet and VERY windy for pretty much the whole time). 

Proper unfiltered food for the soul, and a much-needed break from work.

You can read about that, and other mtb adventures from this year below: 

Mountain biking on Skye - a highland adventure

Not riding the Quiraing on Skye

Coed y Brenin Women's Weekend

Surrey Hills mountain biking with Marmalade MTB

A birthday bike ride on the South Downs Way


I found where I belong

FitBits | Southwick Hockey Club Ladies team - 2017 year review - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

This is a bit of a defining moment for me actually. It's so nice to be part of a team again and it's been awesome learning a new sport.

I used to play rugby as a teenager but haven't been part of a sports team since then and joining the lovely Southwick Hockey Ladies 2nds has reignited a passion inside me.

ICYMI, it's been part of a #WomenInSport campaign with England Hockey and Vitality to celebrate the joys of team sport and encourage more women and girls to join a local hockey, netball, football or rugby team.

I got to meet some of the England womens and mens team, have learnt some great new skills and made a bunch of new friends. I was only supposed to play for six weeks as part of the campaign but I totally love hockey and am carrying it on into 2018.





Read why I love it so much and what I've learned from joining a team in the posts below, and find your local one here.



I remembered how hard marathons are 


FitBits | Brighton Marathon - 2017 year review - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

When you run out of plans - freestyle. That was the name of the game for this year's Brighton Marathon, and a few painful lessons were learnt along the 26.2 mile way.

For me, anyway. Chris smashed his, obvs.

This was my third marathon, the third time doing Brighton, and the hottest, hardest one ever. From about nine miles in I was reminded pretty harshly that you cannot wing a marathon. Looking back I wasn't in the right place elsewhere in my life to dedicate myself to training properly, I was stressed and unhappy, searching for a way out of the hole I'd sunk into.

Highlights: 

  • Running in the same race with Chris (his first marathon) that he totally smashed with a 3:40 finish!
  • The hottest day of the year totally didn't help my running but it did bring out the best crowd I've ever experienced in a race.
  • The ice pole given to me by a spectator when I was dying on my arse at mile 14.
  • Finding my friend Sally also struggling at mile 20 and finishing the last six miles with her.

Read mine and Chris' full Brighton Marathon race report here and watch the vlog below




I learnt to value myself 


I've learnt a lot about myself this year, and there are a few lessons I'm taking with me into 2018. 

I now realise what I am and am not capable of, both work-wise, in fitness and in life. Not only what I'm physically and mentally capable of, but what I actually want to do. 

I'm learning to manage my RSI, and listen to my body when it asks me to rest. I'm learning how to meditate and take time out for me. 

But I'm also learning that I am strong (more on this later). 

FitBits | strong not skinny - 2017 year review - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

I'm learning to appreciate the value of time - often over money - you never get your time back, but money can always be made and easily spent. I don't have to take on every work project that comes my way. I can't always focus 100 percent on training if I'm busy with work or have stuff going on in my life. 

There are a few things I do need to make time for, like getting back to GoodGym now that it's started in Brighton (i.e. not letting work get in the way), or carrying on with hockey, and getting outside more. 

Stepping outside of my little bubble to make more time for family and friends. Prioritising self care and wellbeing and never compromising on my own health. 

2018, I'm ready for you!

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What have you learnt about yourself this year?

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Sunday, 3 December 2017

Reasons to join a sports team

FitBits | Reasons to join a sports team - Southwick Hockey Club - Tess Agnew fitness blogger 
Find something that you can't wait to go back to.

Something you want to get better at.

Something that inspires you to try.
I think I've found it. 

Those are some of the words I've written previously on how to find the joy in exercise. You can read more of them here in my write up from the Sussex Sport Awards - but do come back, as I want to update you on my new love affair with hockey (again!) 


ICYMI: catch up on why I've joined my local hockey team

Sometimes, when it's cold and dark outside, or you've had a long day at work, or you'd rather just sit about in your pants eating food and watching TV (chill time goals), exercise can feel like a massive chore. 

And let's be honest, it kind of is. 



Beating the winter blues

On Wednesday this week I really couldn't be bothered to go to hockey training. Like actually did not have an ounce of me that wanted to go. It was FREEZING cold, I was tired from two sessions of PT that week, one of them that very morning, and Chris was planning yet another banging dinner from Jamie's new book (will blog that soon btw, we're loving it). 

Getting home from work knowing I had to get changed and turn around to go back out again was grim. 


But I did it, for a few reasons:

1) I'm part of a team now, and don't want to let them down. 

2) We had a match on Saturday and having only started playing hockey a month ago I need all the training I can get!

3) I knew I'd feel better afterwards, like I always do after any sort of exercise.

That last point is something I always remind myself of when the chimp on my shoulder tries to make me sit about in my pants and insert various foody things into my gob instead of getting active. 

I went to training, and it was awesome. Dark, yes, cold AF, yes, but still awesome. I learnt an awesome backhand hit, and a few other tricks, and took them to my second match on Saturday to help my new team bring home a win against Worthing. 



Where I belong

FitBits | Reasons to join a sports team - Southwick Hockey Club - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

I was so excited for the match, there was no dread this time of not knowing what I was doing like the first one. 

(I haven't actually written about that first match, have I. Summary: I had no idea what I was doing and some Benny Hill music in the background would've been a great accompaniment to my gallivanting round the pitch I'm sure). 

With four weeks' training and one match behind me I was excited to see if what I've learned had actually gone in at all and I could pull off some sort of real-life hockey player. I felt like I actually knew some of the rules this time, and understood the job of my position (centre forward), where I needed to be, and how it all works together with the rest of the team. 

Everything flowed, we played really well I thought. I felt like I belonged, everyone on both sides were lovely and it was basically just loads of fun. Now that I know everyone's names I can call for the ball confidently and it's good to actually have a bit of an idea what to do with it (doesn't always happen, but I did score two goals so YAY). 

Southwick 4 - 1 Worthing 😁  


Reasons to join a team 

FitBits | Reasons to join a sports team - Southwick Hockey Club - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

If you're finding it hard to get active in winter, why not join a team and enjoy the host of other benefits that come with it. 

You'll be more motivated 
Having people relying on you turn up for training will make you do just that, even if it's cold and you're tired. 

You'll make new friends
Once you get to your first session you'll realise that everyone was new once, and will welcome you into the team instantly. 

You'll learn new skills
Or brush up on old ones - every time you go to training you'll pick up new tricks and practice set formations to use in a game. A collective weaponry that works brilliantly together with your new team mates. 

It gives you purpose
You'll have a reason to train, a reason to get active. You'll have a job to do within your team and you'll all work towards the same collective goal. 



You get Haribo at half time 
And who doesn't love Haribo?! 

You'll get fitter 
After all of the above, this is just a happy side effect. Getting fitter is easier when you make it fun. 


Sidenote: Read my other post on finding the fun in fitness if you're looking 
for more interesting ways to get active! 



Don't be afraid to be the newest, slowest, least experienced player - everyone has to start somewhere. And anyway, if you start at the bottom, the only way is up! 

Every training session, every game, every third, fourth and fifth slice of swiss roll you pack away at the post-match teas - an automatic PB! 




 

Get involved



Find out more about Vitality's #WomenInSport campaign and the other fab bloggers taking part, and catch up on my previous posts here and here

Fancy giving team sport a go - Find your local sports team on the Vitality website and find out more about hockey on the England Hockey website.

And come and join us at Southwick - new players always welcome! 


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Have you ever played a team sport? 
What would you like to try?

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Sunday, 26 November 2017

Rise and shine - how to love your morning workout

 

If you can hack the early alarm, there's a special kind of glow to getting your workout done first thing.

But, let's be honest, it does kinda suck when it first goes off, especially when it's cold and dark outside. The snooze button will 100% come calling, but if you can refrain from hitting it and just make the first step to get out of bed, that's the hard bit done.

It's no secret that I'm a total morning endorphin fiend. If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, you'll have probably seen me getting my AM fix at the gym or on early runs and rides over the past few months, as I've finally found my mojo again and got into some sort of routine since becoming a freelance writer.

On a whole, evenings just don't fit for me workout-wise. I like my evenings for chill time with hubs, cooking and eating, going out, or blogging. Unless I'm at hockey training, of course, and then I'll suck it up like a good team player.

My exception to morning workouts:  
Read why I've joined Southwick Hockey Women's Team here. 

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Reasons to love morning workouts 


There's a whole host of reasons to get your sweat fix in the morning:

1) It gets it done 

Simple as that really.

There's no better feeling than sauntering into work, flat white in hand, knowing you've already done your workout for the day. Or realising it's only 10am on a weekend and your miles are already clocked.

It means the evenings are yours, and no time for procrastination after a long day because you can do what you like with your workout already in the bag.


2) You have more energy 



There's something special about the fire in your belly from a morning workout. I feed off that fire all day, and am more productive, focused and energised at work.

Try it out and compare how you feel:

Keep track of your energy levels on a normal day where you don't exercise first thing. Note your hunger levels, tiredness and concentration / attention span.

Then, on another morning, force yourself to get up on that early alarm and head out for a pre-work run or gym sesh. Have your shower, get your coffee, and start your day nice and smug.

Guess which day will see you sailing through to lunchtime and beyond feeling alert, energised and more productive...


3) You have more space


Whether you're working out in the gym, or running/riding on the roads, the earlier you do it, the quieter it is. Which means more space to do your thing. I can sail down to the gym on traffic-free roads for my 6/7am PT.

When I have a session after 8am, it's another story.

Or you could just hit the trails and have all the space in the world.

4) You'll make better food choices 

I don't know about anyone else but I know I definitely eat better when I've exercised in the morning. Mostly because I don't want to ruin my hard work, but also because it's what my body craves post-workout.

This is where food prep and organisation comes in mega handy (see tips below), but if it's not gone to plan a fail-safe trip to Pret for the coconut and quinoa porridge and boiled eggs and spinach pot does the trick quite nicely!

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5 steps to love your morning workout



So it's all very nice going on about the benefits of morning workouts, but how do you actually make them a habit?

People often ask me how I stay motivated in the winter months to exercise, how can I bear getting out of bed at five or six in the morning to run or hit the gym for a PT session.

For me it's a lesser of two evils - what would I regret more: the feeling of dread when the alarm goes off and dragging myself out of bed? Or the disappointment of hitting snooze and missing my workout, letting myself down. Also I look ahead to the wave of endorphins and great feeling I get afterwards - both of these are good incentives to ignore the chimp on my shoulder telling me to hit snooze.

I know the kind of person I am and after a day at work I find it so much harder to motivate myself to train, so it just wouldn't get done at all.

So that's why I try to suck it up and workout in the morning as much as I can - here's how:


1) Go to bed at a reasonable time!

Getting a good night sleep is the first step to your early bird transformation. This is something I'm very hit and miss with as I tend to do a lot of blogging at night, but I know it helps when I do hit the hay before 11pm.

Tonight I'm going by 10.30 - promise.


2) Say goodnight to technology


(She says, blogging just before bed... do as I say guys, not as I do 😂)

Try to put your phone down and out of reach at least 30 minutes before bed. Research shows that blue light from screens is damaging to the production of sleep hormone melatonin – something we all need for a restful sleep.

Not only that, you'll be more tempted to hit snooze with your phone under your pillow. Leave it outside your closed bedroom door and watch how quickly you're suddenly able to get up on the first alarm! (This is also helped along when your sleeping other half moans at you to get up!)


3) Lay your kit out the night before 


Or go one step further and roll up full outfits including underwear and socks in your draw so you can literally get up and go. The less time you spend rummaging around the better.

BUT SRSLY: WHERE DID THAT OTHER RUNNING SOCK GO?!


4) Prepare your breakfast and lunch the night before 


Fuel well for dinner and make your post-workout breakfast nice and convenient. Like these easy egg and veg muffins – proper yummy and perfect for on the go.

Like with your kit, the less time you spend faffing about in the morning the better - you want to get up, grab your pre-prepped stuff and go.


5) Plan your workout 

Give yourself purpose and book a class, meet a friend or book a PT session so you know what you're doing and can't back out.

Tomorrow I'm booked in for 7am spin with my MoveGB membership, and some mornings I meet my BTRS buddies for early runs and rides. Otherwise I hit the gym for strength and conditioning.

You might've seen on my Instagram that over the past few weeks I've been doing regular PT sessions with Brighton PT Pete Dudley. We're working on building strength for the various sports I do (including hockey - lots of changing position and running in a low position is having a right go at my knees!) and I'm loving the motivation it's giving me to keep pushing myself (and keep getting up on my alarm!)

I'm planning another post on why I have a PT and the benefits I'm seeing so keep an eye out for that.


I guess I might be a bit biased with all of this as this is definitely what works for me and it may not work for everyone with work schedules or family commitments. But it's all about giving it a go and finding your flow.

Whatever time you like to train, whatever you like to do, remember there's no right or wrong answer - but consistency is key if you want to see improvements. The challenge I have is just fitting it all in.

This is something I'm sure I'll find out next time I run (three runs one week and none the week after won't bode well for the run legs!)

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Thursday, 23 November 2017

Celebrating Sussex at the Sussex Sport Awards


I'm still buzzing from an awesome night at the Sussex Sport Awards last Friday - and not just because of the amazing banoffee pie we had for dessert, although it's definitely a memory I'll treasure forever. #banoffeeislife.

***Special big ups to our table-mates Worthing Gymnastics Club who won Sussex Club of the Year (pictured above with inspirational Invictus Games star and soon-to-be-Paralympian Mike Goody)***

I was invited to celebrate my role as This Girl Can Ambassador for Sussex and was featured in the Women In Sussex Sport presentation alongside some truly inspirational women.

I can't describe the pride I felt standing on the same stage that so many amazing athletes, volunteers, coaches and sports organisations in our county had done that evening.

Fix up look sharp

The 15th Sussex Sport Awards was held at The Grand Hotel in Brighton - in the very same room I fought my first boxing match in, and nearly fought my second. It was nice to be there without the tension and nerves that come with getting in the ring, I can tell you!

Inspirational women

 

Joining me for the Women In Sussex Sport presentation was Jan Sheward who spoke about her organisation Cancer United, a support group that fights cancer with fitness. The organisation uses its CU Fitter active recovery exercise classes to help people who have been diagnosed with, or are recovering from cancer, get their lives back and take re-ownership of their health and bodies.

After I spoke about the fun things I've done with Active Sussex to inspire more women into sport, ex-England boss Hope Powell shared her vision for the Brighton & Hove Albion Women's team since becoming Head Coach.

 

It was a really inspiring evening and such an honour to be invited. I love writing my blog and being This Girl Can Ambassador will always be a real privilege, but I do wonder if the constant surprise that anyone thinks what I have to say is worth listening to will ever fade. 

It's a strange thing, imposter syndrome!    


I started this blog because I wanted to share my story of how I got into fitness. I'm committed to breaking down the barriers to exercise to show that you really can start at any age, any ability, with any exercise history.


The key to finding the joy in exercise




The key to finding the joy in exercise is finding something that you love.

Something that's fun and silly, something that makes you laugh. Like trampolining, or skateboarding.

Or something that's challenging and rewarding, making you push your boundaries and achieve new things. Like running your first marathon or learning to swim as an adult so you can become a triathlete.

Something that let's you make new friends, learn new skills, get outside, and get out of your comfort zone. Like joining a new team sport.

Living an active life doesn't have to be about hitting the gym for hours on end (unless that's what you love doing, of course).

It's about lighting that fire in your belly that makes you come home beaming to your loved ones, telling them what a great time you had in that class, on that run, at that cycle ride, even though you didn't want to go in the first place - but made yourself do it anyway.

Find something that you can't wait to go back to.

Something you want to get better at.

Something that inspires you to try.

Try ALL THE THINGS until you find the above, and I promise you, you'll wonder how you ever lived your life any other way.

Find more information about sport in Sussex on the Active Sussex website
Find your nearest team sport here too, as part of Vitality's Women In Sport campaign. 


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How did you get into exercise? 
And if you're starting out, what would you love to try?

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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Walking in Skye - The Quiraing

 

Few outdoor experiences have blown my mind like The Quiraing walk on the Isle of Skye.

In fact every single day of our Scottish highland adventure last month had me oooohing and aaaahing at pretty much every second breath, but this walk, guys. Just, wow.

Read about our first taste of natural mountain biking on Skye 

I've literally never seen landscape so magnificent than the Scottish highlands - to be fair I've never actually travelled to many places outside of the UK but Scotland wins my heart every time. And it seems the readers of Rough Guide agree too, having named it the most beautiful country in the world in a recent poll.


This trip was our first back to Scotland since our amazing honeymoon in 2014. We basically did the same thing - one huge road trip taking in the spectacular west coast - only this time in our van, driving door to door from Brighton.

Our trusty van carried us more than 1700 miles from sunny Brighton to the top of a very windy, wet and moody Skye and back again, taking in the Lake District, Loch Lomond, the Cairngorms and Dundee to see family along the way. 

We woke up at Staffin Bay and drove to walk The Quiraing :)

Chris was in charge of planning our mountain bike rides and walks, and The Quiraing was meant to be another route to ride, but 50-60mph winds soon put a stop to that so we walked it instead. Or I should say, tried to.

The wind was so ferocious at times it took all our strength to stand upright. There was no way we could've ridden that day.

Part of the Trotternish ridge in the north of Skye, The Quiraing is formed by a massive landslip over thousands of years, creating magnificent high cliffs, hidden plateaus and imposing pinnacles of rock. A narrow, winding path hugs the clifftop and takes you on a 6.8km loop around the most spectacular landscape you'll ever see.


Food for the soul


The drive there was almost as spectacular as the walk itself - another beautiful winding mountain road on Skye. When you've been on the island for more than a couple of days, a strange thing happens as you get used to being enveloped in such natural beauty.

It feels normal to share the road with only a handful of hikers, mountain bikers, sheep or wondering cattle.

To climb another ridge, cross another waterfall or gaze in awe at the never-ending wide open space that stretches out in front of you.

To feel so insignificant amongst such a rugged, majestic backdrop and carpet of green and orange.

To breathe in such clean, unfiltered, abundant air.


It makes you realise how truly amazing it is to be alive, and it's this landscape, this beauty, this country, that makes my heart sing so loud.

We will return to The Quiraing, mountain bikes in tow, next time to ride its ridge and soak up its glory once again.

Food for the soul. Get yours too on the Isle of Skye official website.

PS. here's a cheesy video I made that does it absolutely no justice whatsoever :)
(Pls subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to see more video-shaped ramblings)



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Where in the world makes your heart sing like Scotland does to mine?  

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Thursday, 9 November 2017

Trying a new sport: hockey!

FitBits | Women In Sport with Vitality and England Hockey - Tess Agnew fitness blogger 

I'm still absolutely buzzing from last night. My bum hurts. And my legs. And my core, strangely enough. Didn't expect that one, but I'll take it.

Last night I went to my first hockey session with Southwick Hockey Club and LOVED IT.

It's been so long since I've played a team sport, it brought back happy memories of rugby training in the winter as a teenager. When I got home my legs were screaming at me like they do when I'm marathon training so it must've been a good workout - back on the magnesium and foam rolling I go if this is how it's gonna be!

ICYMI, I'm trying out hockey for six weeks as part of Vitality's #WomenInSport campaign.
I first blogged it here, and you can visit the Vitality website for more info and to find your nearest sports team here


Tips from the pros

Last week I was lucky enough to meet some of the England Hockey men's and women's team at Lee Valley Hockey Centre to get some tips and learn some skills before joining my local team yesterday.

I joined two other bloggers Lucy and Geraldine to learn the basics like how to hold and move the stick, how to pass, shoot and tackle. I wasn't sure what to expect on the day but I loved it then and I loved last night even more - I've never played hockey before, apart from literally a couple of times at school so this is all new to me.

FitBits | Women In Sport with Vitality and England Hockey - Tess Agnew fitness blogger
England players left to right: Sarah HaycroftHenry Weir,  Giselle Ansley, Adam Dixon, Phil Roper, Laura Unsworth

And you know I'm a sucker for a new challenge!

Vitality has just become the Official Wellness Partner of England Hockey, as well as title sponsor of both the grassroots programme, Back To Hockey and the 2018 Vitality Women's Hockey World Cup, taking place in London next summer (get your tickets here - it's gonna be a banger).

It's been a big week for the women's England team, with this news and also Alex Danson's much-celebrated captaincy being announced too. Laura Unsworth (one of the players at last week's session), and Hollie Webb have been made vice captains so big congrats to them also. It's a big year ahead for the sport, with the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April followed by the home World Cup in July.



So it feels like a good time to get into hockey, don't you think?! Big things are coming - and with the new Vitality partnership it can only bring more visibility to the sport in the lead up to next year's tournaments.



My first session with Southwick Hockey Club


My job then, as one of the #WomenInSport bloggers with Vitality and England Hockey, is to throw myself stick-first into the sport and share with you how I find it. To make new friends, learn new skills, get fitter and give myself a reason to get outside this winter.

And maybe score a goal or two? We'll see.

Need to learn the rules first...

I scored two goals in my second match! Read about that and my reasons to join a sports team here. 



FitBits | Southwick Hockey Club - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

I had such a wicked time at last night's training. Everyone was really welcoming and I learnt so much. It reminded me of rugby where we spent time practicing drills and skills to use in a game.

We did fitness (sprints - it's been a while!) and lots of passing, tackling and dribbling skills drills (is that what they're called?!) before putting them all to use in a game. I had absolutely no idea of the rules (must read up!) but learnt on the go as we played, and everyone was so supportive and friendly so it was such a lovely vibe.

It wasn't clicky like you might think some teams are - just everyone there together to enjoy a sport. Everyone helped each other out, shared tips with me and other newbies, and cheered the good tackles and strong passes.

FitBits | Southwick Hockey Club Women's team - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

When the coach asked at 8.30pm if anyone wanted to stay until 9pm my hand shot up - I was sold. So much so that I *may* have agreed to play my first match this Saturday with the ladies second team.

I have no idea what I'm doing and I only know about five of the team's names so calling for the ball will be interesting (although pass it to me at your peril!). I don't know much about the positions or anything yet but I do know that I can learn, so that's exactly what I'm gonna do! 

I drove home absolutely buzzing, the smile not leaving my face until I'd burst through the door to annoy Chris with my new-found excitement. (I do this a lot, he's kinda used to it). 

Stay tuned on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to see how I get on for my first match and onwards for the next six weeks. I have a feeling I may have found a(nother) new favourite sport... what do I want for Christmas? More days in the week please!






Next hockey post: my reasons to join a sports team. >> 

Want to get involved?


Find out more about Vitality's #WomenInSport campaign and the other fab bloggers taking part. 

Fancy giving team sport a go - Find your local sports team on the Vitality website and find out more about hockey on the England Hockey website.

And watch the videos from other sports I've tried as 

This Girl Can Ambassador for Sussex - let's break down the barriers to exercise and show how fun it really can be! 


Tess Tries: Trampolining 

 Tess Tries: Skateboarding
 Tess Tries: my first Breeze cycle ride
 Tess Tries: Synchronised swimming (way harder than you think!) 




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Have you ever played hockey or another team sport? 
Throw your tips my way - I'm gonna need them! 

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