Over the past few months I’ve spent a lot of time at the gym working on my abs. Currently my tummy is somewhere between baby-bell and custard, but with the new hockey season around the corner I’ll start working on my shoulder, back and leg muscles. If I want to be a slim-line, super-strong speed machine I know I’ll have to dedicate a few more 6am starts and it won’t be a lot of fun – but eventually I’ll get where I want to be. But what about the more ethereal of the muscle groups? Your creative muscles! How do you flex them, tone them, strengthen them? What area do you focus on, and how do you make sure that you’re pushing yourself to the max without over-training or inducing injury?
I thought I’d do a bit of an exploration to find out how the HKB team best flex and tone their creativity, or do we have a few creative couch potatoes in our midst? First off, SPAM. On initially hearing my question Cait and Sarah were quick to answer with ‘books!’ I’m not sure that this counts. If books are what we live and breathe, then burning off creative energy should happen outside that particular training ground. But delving a little deeper we soon discovered that the team are secret artistic adrenaline junkies. Cait is a collector, apparently of re-homable dogs and Welsh people, but she also hoards music – going to as many gigs and festivals as she can, and sometimes finding the band sleeping under her kitchen table. Kate on the other hand is an endurance athlete, hopping on buses to explore the city while Sarah flexes her creative muscles at the theatre.
Going to the gym can be lonely sometimes, and it’s really hard to get motivated when its barely light and you haven’t had breakfast and you’re already sweating through your socks (enjoy that mental image folks!) Which is why I get inspired, both creatively and physically through amazing group classes, and team sports. As the Olympics have clearly shown us, excelling on the sports pitch can be just as creative as painting a still life. When you have lots of people around you working to a shared goal you can often achieve way more than you might have thought. Naomi in the editorial corner likes to take a friend to go drawing on the heath, whilst digital Amy takes dance classes. She says that she always works harder and better with an exacting teacher. So sometimes the way to get the best results is with some individual hard work, other times it might be better to work out with some like-minded types so you can work your competitive muscles as well as your creative ones!
For me, it’s a toss-up between drawing late at night under the covers, and pushing myself in this crazy cool work out class called Willpower and Grace. It’s hard core but it makes you think about achieving outside of the gym. A few weeks ago, after 6 months of hard work, I completed a 4 minute plank. It doesn’t sound like much but it burned! This experience left me both stronger and better equipped to deal with creative blocks. Now I know that if I ever come nose to nose with an artist’s block, I can tense my hard earned creative muscles and punch right through it!