I didn’t make any new years resolutions for 2020, but I did set myself some personal goals. Since becoming a Mum and going through the trauma of Theo’s prematurity, I lost touch with a lot of the things that made me, me. Exercise and fitness are two of those things.

I’ve always seen my body as something I have to nourish, move and look after. But for the first time in my life it just became a vessel to get me through, living on survival mode. A personal goal for me this year is to refocus on my fitness and get back into running. I have signed up for the York 10k in August, for which I will fundraise for the Leeds Neonatal units. I know that exercise does wonders for my mental health and I want to get back to craving those endorphins.

A couple of days after setting this goal and starting my first frosty training run, I received an email about trying an Inner Warrior rugby session. Having never played women’s rugby in my life, I initially dismissed the opportunity. It wasn’t until I learned a little more about it that I thought, come on Jess, why not push yourself to try something new?

Inner Warrior rugby is an initiative set up by England Rugby to encourage women to try playing rugby for the first time. It welcomes complete beginners and women of all fitness levels to give rugby a try and learn the basic skills and key exercises. Inner Warrior rugby sessions are running at over 100 clubs around the UK, so there could be one right on your doorstep. Best of all, the sessions are totally free and there’s no commitment required.

I attended the Inner Warrior rugby camp at Keighley RFC, which was ran by a lovely England Rugby Community Coach named Harry. Being a total novice, I was a bit apprehensive to start

with but the coach was so friendly and welcoming, as were the other ladies. I asked a thousand questions, but they didn’t seem to mind! In our session we played non-contact tag rugby, which is an incredible cardio work out and also a lot of fun.

By the end of the session I’d had an amazing cardio workout and felt I had learnt loads. I was concentrating a lot more than in a usual gym workout, so the session flew by. I admired the other ladies who turned up that chilly Saturday morning to play rugby; for fun, fitness or their own personal challenges. My Inner Warrior rugby training experience reminded me that, I am strong, I am brave and I am capable of doing new things.

I am glad that exercise is a part of my life and my weekly routine again.

If you’re interested to find out more or experience a session for yourself, head to the Inner Warrior rugby website to search for a participating club near you.

When was the last time you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone to try something new?

This post has been sponsored by England Rugby. All views are my own.

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