Living the simpElle life: Martha

Let’s welcome in August, but at the same time, lets not forget all the steps we have taken this year to get to this point! Sharing our journeys with others always serves to inspire, motivate and empower others…so they can take their first steps towards change and not look back! 

No better way to share the steps that people have been taking with the world than this mini series – Living the simpElle life – where I talk to someone who has inspired me with their story.

I heard a great phrase last year –

“The Universe is made up of stories, not of atoms”

 – so that is what I want to share with you, stories, to open up the Universe to us all!

Each individual we meet embodies what this blog is about. They have dug deep to find motivation, they have sought inspiration and in doing so become inspirational to others. They have been empowered with knowledge to change and that is what their story will do for the rest of us…

Meet: Martha Crawford   

I met Martha a few years back while I still worked 9-5 in an office, teaching Nike Training Club classes in my lunch break at the University in which I worked and at Nike Stores and parks across London. It has been amazing watching Martha’s transformation… I’ll leave the rest of the story to her!

…here’s Martha’s story…

– {THEN} – 

Elle: What made you decide to start training / running? …What were your plans / goals?

Martha: I started training because I had put on quite a lot of weight in a short period of time – thanks to moving from a practical degree course to a desk job and to being a bit confused! I was in a bit of a dark place at that point as I was really unhappy about a lot of things. I had started overeating; I was smoking and drinking a lot; I was living with strangers; I had a job I really didn’t like and felt trapped by; I was as single as a single person could be… the list goes on.

When I started training I knew it was going to be pretty hard to get fit so I started with something I had always really loved and I swam most mornings. About this time a new woman started at my work and persuaded me to do a weekly yoga and Nike Training Club class at work. I think that first Nike Training Club was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life and I remember doing burpees and thinking that this new woman was probably completely insane and that anything was better than the pain I was in at that moment!

And then I walked out of the class and felt better than I had felt in a long time. This was probably where the love affair began – with exercise, not with the woman at my work!

As for running. I absolutely hated running. I remember doing the 1500 metres at school and walking the entire thing with two other friends feeling really smug about our brilliant idea to walk it. I only started running properly last September after my sister started and loved it. Even now every time I go out for a run I am still super surprised that it is me actually doing it. I think something no one ever tells you is that the first 10-15 minutes of doing any exercise is really hard because your body is thinking ‘what the heck is this and what are you doing to me’. If more people knew this massive secret – that it is actually easier and fun after that initial first moment – then I think more people would be up for running.

I wouldn’t say I was at the point where I spring out on a run loving every moment of it but I have got a lot better – did my first 10K in just under 54 minutes a few months ago which I was pretttty pleased with. When I started up I was probably the most unfit I have ever been so my main goal was to move up from that position! I am starting now to set myself some ‘proper’ goals and have a few things in the pipeline: 5K obstacle course and the Oxford Half in October. I would love to do a marathon one day too.

– {HOW} – 

Elle: What’s your favourite way to workout?

Martha: I don’t think I have any one favourite class or activity really; I really try to do loads of different things as I like variety and change. I am really lucky at work as I can go classes on my lunch break and after work and they have really good and varied classes on site. One thing I do love is working out with other people – particularly other women. I think doing classes brings out the best in people and it is really great to have that support from people in the room. It is really great to get better altogether – I don’t think this happens as much in the real world as people are competitive in a negative way. They think that competing with you means over taking and they aren’t as collaborative.

Elle: What’s your typical weekly schedule?

Martha: No typical schedule but this is what I aim for – sometimes I miss things due to work meetings or holidays but try quite hard to keep to schedule:

Monday – Circuits at lunchtime (this class literally kicks my weekend goodbye and is probably my least favourite class as a result!) or a run after work
Tuesday – Yoga at lunchtime and then Total Body Conditioning followed by 202020 in the evening
Wednesday – Kettlebells followed by Muy Thai
Thursday – MMA Fitness or Legs, Bums and Tums at lunchtime
Friday – Boxing at lunchtime
Saturday/Sunday – NTC or a run in Victoria Park

Elle: What / who has been your inspiration?

Martha: There are three people who get massive thanks and love in this section: Lex for getting me to that first NTC class and not being insane and generally being one of the fittest people I know! I think she has muscles in places my body doesn’t know exists. Katie for joining me on the journey and never accepting my excuses and always making me put more weight on my bar in body pump and continuing to do things even when she was growing a tiny person inside her. Joey for showing me what a marathon runner is, being always up for doing more and more, and showing me how to eat boys for breakfast on a daily basis.

Elle: What was the first big difference in you, that made you feel proud and excited?

Martha: Being able to run 3 miles without stopping!

Elle: Did you make any changes to your diet once you started training?

Martha: I stopped eating entire packets of digestive biscuits when I got home from work! That was quite a positive change. Other than that nothing has really changed that much. I suppose I am probably more aware of eating more protein and vegetables and trying not to eat stuff which doesn’t have anything real in it!

 – {NOW} – 

Elle: How do you track your progress?

Martha: I mostly just compare myself to previous workouts. I use the Nike Running app to track my running and speed. Other than that I just go on how sweaty I am post-class!

Elle: Have your goals changed since you started your journey?

Martha: Not really but I never thought I would ever do a half marathon so I suppose that is a bit of a surprise for everyone all round. I want to do it to raise money for a local charity so hopefully everyone will be so shocked about my aim that they will give lots of money!

I think a major moment for me was no longer worrying so much about my weight and exercise for weight loss and moving to wanting to be able to do amazing things with my body and getting strong! My friend Jen has started working out with me at work and her mantra is ‘We are the gentlemen now’. I like that a lot. I think it is sad that women mostly work out to lose weight and men work out to get bigger and stronger. It is like we should reduce the amount of space we take up in this world. Being strong and fit is fun and I think strong and fit women are amazing. Let’s have some more strong women please!

Elle: How do you keep yourself motivated?

Martha: Well I am probably pretty addicted at this point so that helps! The other people I do my classes with help keep me going. I get a bit funny if I have a week where I miss some of my classes and they really make me incredibly happy so I think motivation isn’t the issue – it is when other things get in the way that I get cross.

Elle: If you could go back and give advice to the “before” you…or any other person contemplating changing their lifestyle…what would you say?!

Martha: I would have told before me to move around that 1500 kilometres at school a bit faster – trot around it, dance around it. Just try it.

..so what d’ya think?! 

If you’d like to leave Martha a comment below please do! 

If you would like to share your own story please get in touch with me: {Contact Elle}

Until then, keep living that simpElle life 😉 

Elle 🙂 


1 Comment

  1. Lex Rees
    August 12, 2014 / 20:40

    Wow! I never knew I inspired you like that, Crawfs! It was in you all along; perhaps I just helped you see that…? You're fabulous. Don't go changin' cxx

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