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Alexis Pritchard knows what takes to be an innovator. As a member of the inaugural field of women boxers at the 2012 Olympics, she relied on a deep well of mental and physical toughness to unlock her potential. Now she and her husband, Cam, are teaching others those same skills from the Wreck Room, their boxing and group fitness gym in Auckland, New Zealand. Here’s what she had to say about her journey.
Rebuild with Lex is about empowering people to take control of their lives courageously. Our minds are our greatest assets when we use it in our favour, or it can be our biggest obstacle in achieving our goals. When I learnt how to unlock the power of my mind for growth, I started to flourish as an athlete and a person. I want all people to have access to these skills. Mental skills are important to learn, and we need someone to help guide us through the process. I am a Mindset and Performance as it gives me great joy in seeing people thrive.
My husband Cam and I opened Wreck Room in 2015. A gym for anyone and everyone. No pretense. It is a place to learn solid boxing technique even in our fitness classes, have fun and sweat. The gym we were renting space from was closing down. We either had to find a garage to train out of or take a leap of courage and open a gym. Cam and I were in the middle of a boxing campaign working towards the 2016 World Champs.
I was part of the first ever contingent of female boxers at the Olympic Games, what a freaking incredible experience. Life-altering. I was able to take one step further than my pioneer sisters in this sport because of all the work they did. There are certainly more young girls taking up the sport of boxing, and I hope they break through my achievements and one day bring home an Olympic medal for women’s boxing.
Bring an open mind, bring some courage to try something new and possibly suck at it. Leave all your judgements about yourself at home and do not compare yourself to anyone else. Keep going back at least three times, see the progress you make, and then make up your mind if it is for you or not. Water bottle, comfort clothes to train in, and trainers. Check if the gym has gloves you can hire for your first class.
After retiring from international sport, I found it difficult to motivate myself to exercise. It took me six months to get off the sofa after the 2018 Commonwealth Games. I returned to movement very gently. I made a deal with myself to try and do one yoga class a week for one month. And then, I started slowly adding other things in and increasing the intensity. I was inspired by my mum to run a half marathon, as she did her first half three years ago at 63 years young. I will be doing my first one on the 21 March 2020. And I have returned to one of my other sporting loves, rock climbing, so hopefully you see me outside on some rock, problem solving how to get up it and living in courage when I feel a little scared on the hard bits.
Looking after myself is a priority. And I make time to do the things that nourish my soul and fill my cup up.
Not every week is going to be the same, and some weeks are better than others. My self-care practice is movement/ exercise 3-6 times a week. This could be a run, weights, rock climbing, some boxing, or a bit of yoga. I have a beautiful office where I sit on my comfortable chair facing the morning sun and just focusing on my breathe for 5-10 minutes with my eyes closed. This is my meditation 3-6 times a week. I have a gratitude journal that I write in a few times a week too. Making time to connect with people who are uplifting is important to my wellness routine. For example, on a Sunday, I go to community yoga with two fabulous friends, and we have a chat, coconut loaf, and tea afterwards. Quality time with my person, my husband, is part of my self-care too. Little things like having a coffee to getting chatting, laughing with him, holding hands while sitting on the sofa watching our favourite show on TV, or bigger things like driving up to the beach and me pretending to surf and him having a swim.
Wellness, for me, encompasses my mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Start by making yourself a priority in your life. In terms of self-care, do what works for you. If you don’t know, be curious, and explore different things, find the ones that work for you, keep those in your toolkit, and get rid of the other one. Do not compare yourself to others in this space. Their way is not better than your way. If your way nourishes your souls, then it is perfect. If your friend loves doing yoga at 6 am and drinking a kale and avo smoothie, and you don’t like either, don’t do it. If you enjoy sitting on a bench eating a little ice-cream and a little walk on the beach, do that.
In New Zealand? Try it out for yourself! Book a class at Wreck Room now.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.