Exercise… The devil of the humble couch potato and that killer mountain that every athlete has to climb to become fit and nail their goals. I’ve never really been fully committed to that couch potato life, however I have always had trouble finding the motivation to exercise. It wasn’t always because I was lazy, it was also because I never knew what to do or how to do it. This exercise business is hard work and without it I wouldn’t have been offered the opportunities I have but I could have been offered them earlier had I had the physical (and mental) stamina I needed. Fitness has ALWAYS been my downfall as a referee and only now am I seeing that change and improve, helping me to creep closer to goals I have had for years.
I’m not here to tell you how to exercise/train because I am still finding my feet as well, however I am going to tell you how I have found the motivation to become the referee I have always wanted to be. First up was getting past the I don’t know by knowing what I enjoy and what I feel my body responds to. For me, I had a trainer throughout high school who ran HIIT sessions that I used to get up at 5am some mornings for. I absolutely LOVED these sessions no matter how much they actually killed me because I felt my body enjoying them and felt myself becoming fitter and stronger. That trainer is now a professional referee and is in a position many other referees aspire to be in, including myself.
It’s not like I hadn’t been training of late, it was just the fact that I hadn’t been training well enough to fully improve my physical fitness. Insert F45 Hamilton Central’s opening in August 2018 here and I found a new-found love for pushing myself further and getting out and exercising harder. Becoming aware of my love(/hate) relationship with HIIT sessions and circuit training meant that I knew signing up to F45 (no matter the price) was going to be the right move to get me on the right track. Alongside all of this, the trainers at F45 have also helped me to train effectively out of the gym, in a way that is more specific to rugby which has been just as rewarding fitness-wise.
With exercising more and having less excuses for not exercising I have noticed results in our club 7s, with physical fitness improving significantly meaning that I don’t look as slow or out of place on the field even when refereeing premier sides (which I am super proud of!). Having this fitness has also meant that I have been lasting longer before my mental fitness runs out. I am fresher on the field for longer and can therefore make better decisions throughout the day. It all kind of works together. When I am unfit and slow I get to breakdowns slower and make 2nd or 3rd infringement decisions, or when I am unfit and having to push and run faster and harder throughout the game I can’t make the right decisions for the fact that my tiredness has overtaken my brain. This is where I have noticed the most difference. My brain fog stays away for longer and my ability to be ball inline and make those breaks with the players has improved. This in-turn improves my performance and the players game so it has been a win-win for everyone!
I am in no way saying that I have found the answer, because I know I have so much more work yet to do. What I am saying is that with a bit more motivation (from where ever it may come from) the goals that seem to be unachievable one week may end up being within reach the next. It has taken me almost 6 years to work this out (so clearly I am a slow learner…) so by no means am I an expert in this area. I just want anyone reading this to know that hard work is hard work but if you put the hard yards in than it’ll give back to you in the most incredible ways.