Keep Moving

My fitness journey and why you should keep moving too!

Chantal: I love movement, that’s why my standard hashtag on Instagram is #keepmoving. I am thankful that my body allows me any kind of movement. It is impossible for me to understand why some people hate physical activities. So let me tell how everything started, maybe I can motivate you.

As a kid I had the chance to try everything I wanted (thanks mum and dad!): I started skiing at the age of three as well as dancing ballet, I tried swimming, ice skating, jazz dance and fell in love with horse riding at the age of fourteen. Guess what? I was not particularly skilled at any of those and never made it particularly far in competitions. Nevertheless, I enjoyed training every time I could.

One of my first horseriding competitions at Adda Nord with Sultano I, a beautiful black Maremmano horse with a big heart.

As I started university, I had a horse and was riding it at least three times a week and competing every two weeks. Through horseriding I met my beloved Stefan, who is a very skilled dressage rider. Long story short, I moved to Vienna, Festoso (my horse) moved to Vienna too and suddenly life became quite busy as mum wasn’t doing my laundry and housework anymore. My horseriding skills were not progressing as I did not have a proper trainer, I had a serious lack of motivation and I started looking around for something additional making me feeling better.

One of my first pics with Stefan more than 15 years ago as we met in Upper Austria.
Stefan riding my Festoso: he was really a fabulous dressage rider but a bit skinny at those times 😉

We inscribed to a conventional gym but did not have any idea how to train properly: we did tons of cardio and trained somehow on machines. Of course we didn’t get anywhere. We quitted quite soon as a small aikido dojo opened near us. This beautiful martial art caught us for three years until I’ve severly injured my left knee during preparation for an exam. The knee surgery, my PhD and Stefan’s new job in a store let us quit Aikido and we started again something new.

Aikido Enshiro
My Aikido beginnings

Stefan did Crossfit and I started pole dancing. I realized quite soon that I was lacking some strength and therefore started joining Crossfit classes too, since Stefan was doing some amazing progress. In those times I was doing three things at a time: pole dancing, Crossfit and still horseriding once a week. On top of that we threw in some random strength programms (Wendler’s 5-3-1, Westside Barbell and so on) to get stronger. That was not sustainable at all, especially as I started running too and again we were going nowhere.

Stefan doing hexbar deadlifts at Crossfit Pantheon

But there were several good sides of it:

  • Stefan finally quitted his energy and soul draining job to get a PT certification and become a full-time coach.
  • I’ve met some great girls through pole dancing some of them being now among my best friends.
  • We both started loving the iron-side of Crossfit and less and less the high intensity metabolic conditioning game.
  • We met the Pürzel brothers and their unique concept of “Das Gym“, the best strength temple in the world.
Viola, Juli and I are still friends even if Viola is a busy crafting&business lady, Juli a gorgeous soon-back-to-work mum and none of us is pole dancing anymore. Credits to Vova (Juli’s husband) for the pic.

In 2016 I had to undergo surgery again, this time it was an inguinal hernia. During recovery, Stefan and I joined a seminar by Menno Henselmans , one of the best evidence-based strength coaches and scientist, at Das Gym. It may sound cliché but it completely revolutionised our approach. We quitted running, the Crossfit-style training, pole dancing and focussed completely on hypertrophy (=building muscle mass) training. Why? Because it is the most efficient way to look good naked, to stay healthy and get strong, as I already told you in my bodybuilding article.

What focus on hypertrophy training did to me.

Together with my new job in Krems and Stefan’s start as an online coach, it was definitely our best decision. Still, I go horseriding once a week, as I found a good trainer which keeps me and my oldie stay motivated. The same is true for aikido. Thanks to our friend Fritz and his Yuyashinkai dojo, we went back to it again as it is a “moving meditation” and a wonderful martial art which keeps us balanced.

Happy aikidokas!

And what’s happening in the future? Stefan and I are now getting both a new PT certification: the Dipl. Strength Coach at Intelligent Strength/Das Gym in order to become better coaches. I do not exclude to take part on a bodybuilding contest to see what it means undergoing this process. And of course we want to get stronger, better and #keepmoving 😉 .

Looking forward to a stronger future. Picture© by Sebastian Räuchle/Tiefenscharf

Why did I tell you my story? I firmly believe that our bodys are capable of so many more things that binge watching Netflix series and get our bottoms seated flat from the office desk to the couch. There are so many forms of movement and I can not imagine there is nothing for you:

  • outdoor sports like biking, running, callisthenics, climbing, triathlon, horse riding…
  • “conventional” sports like swimming, tennis, skiing, ice skating…
  • martial arts like aikido, kendo, karate, judo…
  • dancing from pole dancing, to ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary…
  • acrobatics like aerial silks or hand balancing or cheerleading…
  • group sports like rugby, football, basketball…
  • strength sports like powerlifting, olympic lifting, bodybuilding…
  • Crossfit, boot camps…
  • …and so many more!

Try, play around, quit, retry and choose according to your goals. And do not think you are too old, too fat or too clumsy for it: my mum is 72 and rides Festoso once a week, Stefan’s mum is 71 and hits “Das Gym” two times a week, I have the proprioception and coordination skills of a potato bag and I’ve never quit movement since I am three years old. Just do it, it will improve your quality of life, your health, your fitness and your self-esteem.

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