As many of us vow to kick off the new year by getting fitter, Ms. Kelly Holmes says the secret to achieving what you want in 2023 may simply be more self-confidence.
“I think people can make critical changes in their physique and the way they look and the way they feel if they believe in themselves a little bit more,” says the double Olympic champion. “I think a lot of people don’t realize how far they can go, sometimes people just don’t push themselves hard enough.
“Our bodies are truly miraculous, and we can do so much as long as we take care of them.”
But the 52-year-old doesn’t believe in resolutions.
“Nobody keeps them,” she said. “I believe in a time to make those fundamental changes and start your year on a positive note.
“My ambition in the new year is to be the healthiest I have ever been – and that means body and mind,” Holmes adds. “I want it to be a really good year for me, because it hasn’t been great over the years.”
In part, that means running again. Holmes – who retired from professional athletics in 2005 after achieving the historic double, taking Olympic gold in both the 800m and 1500m Athens He has suffered countless injuries in the past few years, and has not been able to run since tearing his calf last March. “It’s really important for me and my well-being to get back to doing what I’m good at, and that’s running — at any level.”
Holmes, who has partnered with Nuffield Health, was a fitness instructor for the Women’s Royal Army Corps prior to her illustrious career as a middle-distance runner, so she knows more than most about how to get bodies into peak physical condition. But she understands that it is not one size fits all.
“Everyone’s history and relationship to exercise is very different. So it’s about going according to your potential and not putting yourself off before you start. But knowing you can keep moving forward and knowing that everyone starts somewhere,” she says. The two mentalities are completely in sync – and mine, too. I think people You have To move their bodies to feel good.”
Plus, our bodies function better when we feel good, Holmes adds: “[If] We have a more positive attitude towards doing something, we will do it more regularly, and we will prioritize our fitness. The hardest thing is for the brain to tell you, “No, I can’t.” But the more excuses you make, the worse you feel.
“A lot of people say they can’t run, but if you can put one foot in front of the other, and it’s faster than walking, then you’re a runner—that’s it. How fast you run depends on the training you do and your ability to stay healthy.”
She suggests asking ourselves: “What is your ultimate goal? What would you like to do to make yourself feel better?”
But Holmes knows as well as anyone that you can be as physically fit as you can be, but struggle mentally a great deal. “I struggled with a lot of mental health issues during my athletics career,” she says. She often explained it away as hurt or not well, “but of course, there were other things going on in my life, too.”
Her feeling that she had to hide her sexuality for more than three decades (Holmes went public in June 2022) had a significant impact on not only her mental health, but her physical health.
“Everything I’ve been through and stress on my health, on myself, for 34 years hasn’t helped, nor has it helped my body,” Holmes shares.
Mental health is a huge issue [LGBTQ+] Society because not having that freedom to be you is exhausting. I’ve struggled with it my whole life. People They struggle every day, and nobody deserves to struggle just because of who they are.”
Although family and friends have known Holmes to be gay since 1997, until 2000 it was illegal for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals to serve in the British armyThe Royal Navy and British Royal Air Force, and feared that she would face repercussions for breaking this law during her time in the forces. Even her double Olympic gold win, she told the Sunday Mirror, was marred by fears someone would “take it” out of her.
“It’s taken a toll on my body, the pressure I’ve been really under in the last couple of years, and I’ve struggled really hard,” Holmes now adds. Everything seemed to match – 2 operations on Achilles, back injury, covid twice.
“I think it was because I was so stressed out with everything that was going on in my head. I wasn’t a happy person, and I think that really showed itself in my body,” the effect on her physical health shared.
“It’s not good to be under a lot of stress and have a lot of anxiety and worry in your life. It’s not good for anyone. It stops your sleeping habits, it ruins the way you nourish yourself. You kind of let go of things, and you don’t think enough of yourself.”
“If you don’t take time for yourself, you won’t stop your mind, because your mind is constantly having narratives that aren’t good for you.”
While she was in the military and then trained hard as a professional athlete, there was a distraction from the emotional turmoil: “My mind had other things to think about—I could go on with it,” says Holmes.
“But over the years since retirement, of course, you haven’t had the same distraction, because you’ve started to think about real life and how that affects it.”
Since its public release and the release of her ITV documentary, Kelly Holmes: Being Me, “I’ve just been able to relax,” she says. “I am able to express my feelings a lot better and how this affected me both physically and mentally. I am so much happier than I have ever been.
“Now I’m starting to think, ‘Okay, now it’s time to heal body and mind.’ Talking about my journey, talking about who I am as a person, what I’ve achieved, but also humanizing it and normalizing it to say, ‘Yeah, I’m just someone who has a really good talent but I actually went through these struggles, and through resilience, he didn’t give up and didn’t want to give up.”
“I think this applies to a lot of people, in any area of life, who feel under pressure, perhaps undervalued or stressed out by home life and financial and relationship concerns. And then they look at themselves and feel down, knowing that their health is not good. , and constantly thinking, ‘I need to train, I need to get better, I need to eat better,’ but you don’t do anything about it.”
Instead, Holmes adds, we have to say, “Okay, okay, no more talking about it, I’ve gotta do it”—because no one will get better if they don’t actually make those changes. Including me.”
Dame Kelly Holmes has partnered with Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest healthcare charity, to help promote physical and mental health in the country. For more information visit nuffieldhealth.com/gyms.