THE BLOG

How to Become a Sporting Goddess in Three Steps

03/02/2015 14:42 GMT | Updated 05/04/2015 10:59 BST

Pardon my grammar but I'm no athlete. I don't have the fitness levels, the attitude, or the figure for leotards. I once almost caught athlete's foot but the fungal infection was too proud to sully its good name and passed me by for a jogger with potential.

I just never really got it: 'it' being sport. I misspent my youth dodging conversation, running from opportunity, and ducking out of social situations. It all sounds vaguely energetic but, in fact, I reached my fourth decade having avoided all forms of physical activity, up to and including jumping for joy.

Lately though, I've found my way back to exercise and, you know what, it's pretty good stuff. But it's hard, when you've been estranged for so long, to rekindle that old flame or, if you're anything like me, to kindle a completely new flame from dust and disappointment.

You might not believe it though, but you're only ever three steps away from sporting goddess-hood. No, really.

Step one - Pick your battle

No offence to the education system, but you understand yourself better than a double period of P.E. teachers. Athletics, netball, hockey: if they're not for you, you know it before the puck has landed - normally nowhere near your stick. Yet still you're expected to run, jump and cry around a frozen court for all your worth.

But sport, thankfully, is a wealth of diverse pursuits. Walk in the woods, climb up a cliff, fence with a foe: find something that suits your personality and you'll never suffer sport again. If you're not enjoying the exercise you're doing, you're not doing the right exercise.

Try it, hate it, move on.

Step two - Explain yourself

For some, sport is a passion; the doing as much a pleasure as the having done. For those folk, exercise is not only the answer, it's the question too. For me, not so much. Exercise serves a variety of purposes in my life, each of them as important as the next. Whether it's to earn that extra slice of cake on a difficult Monday or to enjoy the camaraderie of a team game at the weekend, I always have a reason for being there, and that's crucial in keeping me motivated.

When there's an end result, something to refer back to when you're talking yourself out of your trainers, it's often enough to stir the spirits and keep those laces firmly tied. So even if the endorphins don't quite kick in the way they should every time, you still achieved your goal, and that's sometimes all the incentive needed next time around. Tell yourself why you're venturing outside on a freezing Friday night and, afterwards, enjoy the cakes of your labours.

Step three - Kid around

When I was eight, I was a donkey. Yep, a donkey. There was no pinned tail and I'm yet to be paid for a trot along Blackpool beach, but all the same, I donned my tartan blanket and brayed my way across the carpet. You'd be forgiven for thinking I was pretending, but, make believe or not, I knew I was a donkey and nothing else really mattered.

Kids have that incredible gift of embodying a role with their whole person, and believing that they are exactly who, or what, they want to be, without the irritation of social norms or insecurity to persuade them otherwise. I'm a castle, they say, and moat and turret are implied. Losing that skill is a symptom of adulthood, but it's not terminal. Convince yourself that exercise is your bitch and no-one will suspect any different.

Be a sporting goddess and you will be a sporting goddess. It's really just as simple as that.

And if you still don't quite believe me, just take that useless tautology - and run with it.