FitBits - fitness for fun and wellbeing: 2019

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Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Goal setting for 2019

Ahhh the start of a new year. I love the fresh slate and sense of renewed motivation it brings. January is always a good time for me - it's usually when I'm itching to get back to routine and am on my way to my fittest (about to start training for my fourth Brighton Marathon), feeling my best.

The pre-Christmas burnout to get everything done before the break took a lot out of me this time round, probably because I'd been burned out for a few months as we hadn't taken a proper holiday last year, only a couple of weekend trips snatched when we could.

Not pre-booking holiday and downtime is a mistake I won't be making again this year! The pre-Christmas rush was followed with some wonderful and indulgent family time (we hosted this Christmas) and a few glorious days of riding and much-needed relaxation in Wales.

Wind in the Willows caravan Wales - Tess Agnew fitness blogger
The best cup of tea I'd had all year... 

We swapped the usual van life for the most gorgeous gypsy caravan and log cabin in the Monmouthsire countryside. It sat on top of a field only accessible only by foot, with panoramic views all around. I had the best cups of tea sat at the picnic table looking out at those views. All we could hear were birds, neighbouring sheep and the odd faraway plane in the distance.

The caravan was the bedroom with a log burner inside, and outside was a firepit which Chris cooked the farm's delicious black lamb on for dinner. It even had its own sauna next to the cabin. We basically did nothing for three days apart from ride our bikes, eat like Kings and drink too much wine whilst sat around the fire.

I had time to write, and snooze, and read a book for the first time all year. We then went to Bike Park Wales and I finally did the mountain bike coaching that Chris bought me as a present last Christmas! It was GLORIOUS.

Wind in the Willows caravan log cabin Wales - Tess Agnew fitness blogger
Space and time. 

I'm now feeling rested and ready to jump back into things with gusto - including writing this poorly neglected blog, which has never had so few posts written over 12 months in its six year lifespan.

This is actually the second time I've sat down to write this post. I had the whole thing written over last week in Wales but then accidentally deleted the copy and Blogger auto-saved the blank screen which was NOT FUN. I've come to terms with it now but cba to rewrite the whole thing so you're getting a condensed version.

In brief, it went a bit like this:

2018 was:

An amazing year for sports and fitness freelance clients. 

Freelance life - Tess Agnew freelance copywriter
Needed to see this. 


Last year I found my feet a bit more as a freelance copywriter and social media marketing consultant. There were some real challenges and hard lessons being learned (finances, forward planning, general adulting), but I got through it and am proud of everything I achieved.

I'm starting 2019 with some amazing new clients which I'm SO excited about, but here are some of the clients / projects that have made my heart sing in 2018: 

  • Working with Sustrans to run an after school bike club for girls aged 14-16 in Hove.
    This is a project funded by Active Sussex and Sustrans to encourage more girls to ride their bikes, build confidence and teach new skills in bike handling and maintenance. The school we're working at already has a large population of cyclists but many of them boys, so we're hoping to give the girls the confidence to show the boys how it's done. We've had a great turnout for the first few sessions and big plans for this term so I'm excited to help the girls get stuck in again :) 


  • More commissions for The Body Coach blog. 
    • How to do a digital detox and why you need one. This is a blog I'm particularly proud of writing because of the research involved and personal connection I have to the subject. Working as a freelance copywriter and social media marketing manager for my clients is amazing and I love it, but it means I'm online ALL THE TIME and find it hard to switch off. I shared more of my personal reasons for needing a digital detox here on the blog (ironically one of the very few blogs I did manage to write last year!) and will be trying my hardest to keep my promises to myself as we go into 2019. 
    • 6 fitness hacks for busy people. It's hard to fit fitness into our busy lives but for me, when I get it right, it's about making the most of the time between things and building activity into your day or your commute. I need to take some of my own advice this year to kickstart January off well...
The Body Coach blog - Tess Agnew freelance copywriter
  • Landing an awesome gig with Evans Cycles to launch their Brighton community project and social presence on Facebook and Instagram. Big things on the horizon for this project which I'm excited to help shape. 

  • Working with a promising pro boxer to launch his social media strategy to help him reach the top. Some lovely first shots coming out of the shoot we did before the Christmas break so look out for Lucien Reid as we help him transform his brand to go for his titles. 
  • Writing website copy for fitness videographer Richard at Sweatlife Films and getting this great feedback: 
Freelance copywriter Tess Agnew


A *very* difficult year for mental health 

2018 was a challenging, sometimes relentless and incredibly sad year for me with mental health - not just mine but mostly others around me. In the midst of continuing to care for someone with long term mental illness (something I didn't realise I was doing until I was called a carer), I lost a friend and nearly lost someone else very close to me both in the same month. That shook me to my core. 

I think of my friend every single day, still in disbelief over what happened with no way to rationalise it. I feel like I could've done more, as I'm sure those closer to him must certainly feel, but the question is would it have ever been enough? 

These are not my stories to tell so I won't share any more here apart from mental health is so personal and unique to everyone. Just as there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to suffer with depression, bipolar, anxiety or any other mental illness, there's no 'one-size-fits-all' magic fix either, though I really wish there was. Recovery is never linear and sometimes it never comes at all, but the best I can do is to make a promise to myself to look after my own mental health and wellbeing so I can be there for the ones I love when they need me. 

Mental health carers NHS East Sussex - Tess Agnew fitness and wellbeing blogger
I didn't realise a carer until the Trust looking after my mum started referring to me as one. 


The year I got strong 

In more ways than one, not least in part due to the challenges detailed above. Mental strength has always been something people have told me I possess - but the truth is not always what you see on the outside. Despite more than a few wobbles I only ever allow my husband to see I do feel like I nailed keeping it together in 2018 - and I have a self care plan to allow me to do better this year. 

Aside from the mental strength 2018 was the year I got physically strong. Training with my amazing PT twice a week for the first half of the year along with doing the F45 challenge before the summer got me to my fittest.

Strong is not a size - this girl can Tess Agnew fitness blogger

I was squatting more than my bodyweight, lifting more than I ever thought possible and lording it around the weights area no problem. I was empowered, and confident and grateful AF that my knees didn't hurt when walking up stairs any more.

I kind of lost my way with consistent training from the summer when other things in my life went to shit but I'm determined to get back to where I was and feel that fire in my belly again.

I know I can get back there, I just need to start...


F45 Challenge - this girl can Tess Agnew fitness blogger
Sorry to put my arse on the internet but I'm pretty proud of where I got to before I lost my way... 

2019 will be the year I: 

Prioritise self care 

This means different things for different people but for me self care means:

  • Yoga at least once a week. This is for my body as much as my mind, especially with marathon training. More amazing classes like this Escape to the Sky on the i360 please! 
  • Make time to meditate - either by floatation, at yoga, a gong bath or just sitting by the sea listening to the waves. Taking time out to be still, however that happens. 
Yoga in the sky i360 Brighton - this girl can Tess Agnew fitness blogger
  • Make time for friends, family and loved ones, because they won't be around forever. As much as I love my job and get excited by the work I'm doing I need to make sure it isn't *all* that I do. 
  • Get offline every once in a while - I need to reframe my relationship with my tech and shift my priorities back to the present moment. I'm sure a lot of people can relate to this, especially anyone who works online or in social media (or maybe just anyone who blogs more regularly than me!)  
Wind in the Willows log cabin Wales digital detox - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

Catch up on my self care blog posts below: 

    Run a marathon PB 

    I've ran Brighton Marathon three times so far, and I know what my body needs to run well: split up with sugar, get off the booze, train consistently and focus on recovery. Simple? With less than eight weeks to go until Brighton Half, and 15 until the big one, we'll see...

    Last year I did the BM10k which is on the same day as the marathon but really I've got massive unfinished business since the flash heatwave of 2017 that robbed me of all my targets. Here's the video if you want proof, and stay tuned to see how this training cycle goes:



    Catch up on my previous Brighton Marathon attempts:



    Ride my bikes more 

    Liv Cycling Race Day kit - Tess Agnew fitness blogger
    Wearing the new Liv Cycling Race Day kit like a true lycra wanker mountain biker that I am! :)  

    Not enough cycling happened in the latter part of the year when I needed it the most and that's something I'm not gonna let happen again. For some reason it's always the things that bring me most space and happiness that slip when things get busy or life gets in the way. 

    I went on some epic adventures, mostly on the mountain bike and two of which courtesy of the wonderful Marmalade MTB team who have taken us to so many amazing places this past couple of years like this awesome weekend in Wales riding w2 at Afan followed by The GAP natural trail. I never got round to blogging this as half of my video footage was blurry on the GoPro but here's a photo that sums it up and I think you'll see why:

    The GAP ride Wales Marmalade MTB - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

    And we also went on the awesome Isle of Purbeck day trip (aka the most beautiful ride of my life!!) Catch the video below and full blog post here if you missed it.

    More of this for 2019 please...




    And finally - make time to write this blog!!! 

    I've never been the most frequent blogger, one or two posts a week tends to be my peak, but this year really has been a dip in my motivation and 'time' to write here. It's hard when you're online alllllll the time, writing and doing social media for other people, the last thing you want to do after 8+hours of staring at a screen is come home to do it even more.

    But my blog is important to me for a number of reasons. Even if no one read it I would still write it because it's been my journey over the past few years and is part of me now as much as it is anything else.

    I've got a lot of plans for the blog this year - the first one is to finally migrate to Wordpress after, oh I don't know, about THREE YEARS of talking about it. That and do more vlogging because I love making videos of my cycling and running adventures. I've got tons of unedited footage, abandoned notes and blog posts half-written and this is going to stop too. Gonna make a real effort to pick this little baby of mine back up and give it the love it deserves.

    I'm saying it out loud so I can't get out of it... watch this space!

    My word for 2019, therefore, is: FINISH.


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    What's your word for 2019? 

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