Fit and Healthy?

Going back to what I was talking about in my Original Questions post, one of the things that people often say is “Boy! I bet you have to be really fit and healthy to do what you do!” And the answer is: yes… and no. Let’s start with no…

No

Over the last two years I’ve stopped performing for a couple of reasons. Partly because of injury and partly because my heart was never in performing. Some people live to perform. I could always take it or leave it. My heart was always in teaching. Teaching is a much fuller self expression for me than performing ever was. Ever since I learned to juggle when I was about 10 I started teaching people.

With a bad shoulder it often hurts to train (practice) so you won’t often see me doing acrobatics or flying trapeze anymore. Also, as a teacher, I don’t need to train like I used to.

I’m certainly not as fit as I used to be but I probably have a “base level” of fitness that’s higher than most. And for the teaching I do now I simply don’t need to be as fit as I used to be.

Yes

As a performer, yes, I used to train hard and I was very fit and healthy. My friends who are performers still train hard. (My non-circus friends are sometimes a little intimidated by how strong and fit my circus friends are!)

Nowadays I’m more content with being healthy. I get most of my exercise these days from cycling. I both commute and cycle for fun. This coming weekend I’m doing a Norwood Italian Challenge reunion cycle.

I know I don’t have the healthiest of diets (way too many meals on the go!) so I also take Juice PLUS+® which I discovered in about 2008. It’s a wholefood supplement (pesticide and GMO free) with the juice from 26 different fruits, vegetables and berries.

I wasn’t really into it when I started taking it. I took it on recommendation from my mum because I know I don’t eat enough fruit and veg. But it wasn’t until I started drinking the protein / energy drink that they make, Juice PLUS+® Complete, in the lead up to, and during the Italian Challenge that I really got into it. It didn’t seem to matter how much I trained, how hard I cycled, or how far I went – including 900m elevations gains up Italian mountains – I just didn’t get any fatigue, or muscle soreness after cycling. I wish I’d been taking it when I was still circus training!!

I know I don’t eat enough fruit and veg, and I wish I had the time to eat more healthily. But as much as I know I should do that, I don’t. So Juice Plus is a good way for me to bridge that gap.

Fit and healthy?

So, do I have to be fit and healthy to do what I do? I like to be healthy and I like to be fit, but to do the teaching that I do nowadays, I don’t need to be as strong or fit as I used to be.

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I tweet as @CircusBoy1. And yes, the 1 is important and intentional.

Learn more about Juice PLUS+®.

Thinking About The Future

Living in a swamp

I’ve not been here in a while. I’ve been busy. It’s not that I haven’t thought about writing a post, or haven’t had stuff to write about, it’s simply that I’ve been SO MASSIVELY BUSY it was unreal.

I’ve had a good friend visit from abroad – twice! Petra was an old flame many years ago and she flew through London on her way to South Africa from

Vancouver and then again on her way back.

I’ve also started training for a 4-day cycle/hike at the end of May. I’m raising money for Norwood, who support people with learning disabilities and their families, particularly in the Jewish community. I have  a disabled aunt so Norwood are one of the charities that would support her.

Anyway, what with being so busy, I’ve kind of let myself slide. My flat has suffered. I’ve not cleaned or tidied in quite a while, and have been tolerating living in a morass. Living in a morass is easy – you just have to get used to the smell.

But having an environment like that kills your vitality. It literally makes you more tired.

This week I’ve had most of the week off so yesterday and today I’ve been cleaning, clearing, tidying and organising. It’s not perfect but it’s a damn good start, and it’s enough that I can start to think more clearly, accomplish more, and have the energy and vitality to keep going.

One of the things I wanted to accomplish this week (apart from writing a blog post) was to continue creating my future – where am I going? what am I doing? where do I want to be? This is something that is never far from my mind; even more so in the last few months since turning 30.

Just after turning 30 I visited NY for a family reunion. While I was there a few things happened. My cousin was in the final stages of opening the Alpine Arts Centre, I visited the new circus school in NY (see my earlier post here), a fairly new circus school in Philadelphia and then went to see Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey.

I really liked the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts and I really liked seeing what my cousin was doing with her new arts centre.

“Ballet is ballet, gymnastics is gymnastics, acting is acting, but circus has everything”

In the UK there are two major circus schools: Circus Space in London, and Circomedia in Bristol. There are any number of smaller circus training centres or spaces, such as the Hangar Arts Trust, or circus schools, such as Wookey Hole Circus, and circus clubs.

Circus is on the up. It has been for a number of years, with the growth and popularity of Cirque du Soleil, with circus being a regular staple in theatre, opera and dance, as well as becoming billed in its own right for entire seasons such as the Circusfest at the Roundhouse in London. As a sector circus is growing and every year it gains credibility in the public eye as an art form. Whereas once circus was the poor bastard cousin of dance, theatre or gymnastics, now it is seen as an art, a skill, and a talent in it’s own right.

If circus is going to keep growing every year it will need a huge base audience in the same way that dance or gymnastics has. Any child anywhere in the country can find a dance school nearby. The young and talented students progress and move on to the larger dance colleges, and then on to the national school(s), which produce some of the best dancers in the world.

Both France and Canada have this kind of infrastructure. France has hundreds of circus clubs, dozens of small schools, a small handful of professional training schools and then the Centre National des Arts du Cirque. It’s no wonder that France and Canada are the number one for circus.

But the UK isn’t there… yet. We will get there, it’s really only a matter of time. After all, circus started here in England!

If that’s the future of circus in this country where do I want to be in it? I know I don’t want to perform anymore. Some people live for performing. I always think of my old friend Aaron Walker when I think of people like that. I can take it or leave it. But I do love to teach.

So if I love to teach, and the UK needs circus schools, isn’t the thing to be doing starting a circus school? It probably is but there’s something stopping me. I can’t see what it is yet but it’s there, like a splinter in my mind.

I guess I need to keep on tidying.

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If you want, you can follow me on twitter @CircusBoy1

If you’re nice, you can support me on my Norwood cycle/hike via JustGiving here.

And if you want to know who said “Ballet is ballet, gymnastics is gymnastics, acting is acting, but circus has everything” it was former Soviet circus acrobat Evgueni Baranok.