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  • Writer's picturekmbleekman

What a year 2022 has been!

I always like to write an end of year/closing out blog ahead of Christmas. I remember this time last year thinking about 2022 as the world started to get back to real normality after all the Covid craziness & that literally feels like a couple of months ago. How this year has flown! I guess as life has returned to normal, there's been more on, we've been back out competing, being social so time has gone quicker but boy has it been good to be back.

For my clients, this time of year is all about finishing off their training weeks strong so that then if they wish to have a quiet, chill week of no training & rest over Christmas they are all set to do that. All Christmas training programmes are now set & last week I did my first team training call all about how to handle Christmas in regards to your exercise, food, balance etc & it was a great success. Moving into the New Year regular team calls are something I am thinking of doing more as I think they are so important to bring everyone together, create community & keep everyone motivated.

I hope whatever your aims & ambitions were for this year you achieved them & are proud of yourself whether that was in your personal, professional or equestrian life! I always find this time of year a great time to reflect & look back & for me there have been some big wins!

Professionally ERF has continued to grow & flourish & I have helped over 105 riders in the past 2 years! When I think that this programme & my coaching service has impacted over 100 riders' lives that is something I am really proud of. I started this business as I was in a really negative place with my own health, fitness & well-being & changed things for the better. When I did I felt strong, empowered, rode better, was happier & more positive & now my absolute mission is to help my riders do the same for themselves & show them how to do that. My clients have ranged from all over the world including the USA, Argentina, Ireland as well as the UK & big milestones like featuring on the Horse & Hound podcast have been achieved! I've continued to invest in my business & myself as a coach to make sure that ERF becomes the go-to service out there for all rider fitness & continues to expand & help as many Equestrians as possible achieve their dreams. I've got some exciting plans for next year to make my coaching service even bigger & better so I am looking forwards to what's to come.

Physically this year too I've really pushed myself to hit some big goals & step out of my comfort zone which has been great! Doing my first-ever fitness competition through Fittest Farmer was awesome & to end up placing 3rd in the final was just the icing on the cake! If any of you are thinking about doing a fitness event next year & have any link to agriculture then keep your eye out for entries opening in March. It was tough but so much fun & such a well-organised event I'd highly recommend! I continued my triathlon journey too, doing my first ever sea swim event & spent the summer getting more confident in open water. I love triathlons as like eventing it's fun to have the mix & it's not the be-all or end-all if 1 phase isn't your strongest. But more so I enjoy it as it truly pushes you out of your comfort zone, teaches you so much & in my opinion makes you way more positive & resilient! For 2023 I want to enter some Age Group events & see how I get on so that's the aim! I've PB'd in lots of my strength work this year too which is cool. When I first began strength training in 2016 I thought if I lifted heavy loads or deadlifts I'd get massive, bulky & end up being a man but that's not the case!! The feeling of beating your own performance & pulling something heavy off the floor is one of the most empowering feelings in my opinion so I can't wait to crack on with training next year. Losing a big support at my gym this year was a really sad time for me & affected many of us that train in the gym very hard. It was unexpected & he was such a resilient, strong person it was so hard to understand how that could happen so suddenly. The comments he used to make, encouragement he used to give me when training all spurred me on through these past few months of training & competitions & that's really driving me to push myself & be my best. With competing whether it's fitness or horses I have always been super competitive but 1 thing I've really learnt & truly believe now is that you're only competing with yourself. When you focus on being your best self you truly stay in your lane & if I'm honest the results are far better.

Personally, I always find it really hard to reflect back on what has gone well in my personal life. In all honesty, it feels like not much has hugely changed. When I moved back to my family farm in March 2020 I didn't still think I'd be at home fast forwards 2 years! Another example of time flying but equally, I'm grateful to be able to be at home, spend more time around family (most of the time!), have my horses on site & work from home in a beautiful part of the world. Pretty lucky in all honesty! I've been with my partner James now for over a year, we met online during covid & his constant support, fun & advice are huge to me. He never complains if work comes 1st or training at weekends has to happen so I thank him for all his help & support & driving this year! Doing our first triathlon together was great fun too. Being with James has made me realise even more that having a partner who holds the same values as you do is so important. We've managed to have some fun too & it's been epic to get out travelling a bit more this year now Covid has allowed. I realised at the start of the year that was something I had really missed & going to Cape Verde earlier in the year was such a great reminder of how important downtime & experiencing new things & cultures is. Something I am going to really work on in 2023 is having more regular downtime & off time. Not necessarily holidays but I'm awful at just having a day off or doing a little bit of work when I should be with friends. I tell my clients how important true switch-off is for your well-being so it's something I need to do more of!

I hope when you all take the chance to reflect back too you can see how much you've achieved & looking back is a great way to make your direction & what you want to achieve for the New Year even clearer! I know for some of you this time of year can be tricky to navigate whilst keeping on track with your food & fitness but the most important thing is to remember to enjoy it!

I wrote a blog last week about how to handle Christmas so if you’re feeling apprehensive about that then check it out! This isn’t the time to be stressing about your protein intake or your scale weight & if you miss a session to chill & Netflix then do it! Guilt-free.

I hope you have the most wonderful Christmas time, enjoy your break & then onwards & upwards to an exciting 2023.

Katie xx

& Zip obviously, CEO of all things professional/personal/dog based!

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