I had a massive realization this week – I discovered I was being a massive scaredy-cat AND that my silly fear had been holding me back for YEARS!

In a rush one morning and scrabbling about for gym gear before a personal training session with the über awesome Jack Smith, I pulled out a T-shirt I’d never worn outside of the house.

Taz Thornton

Well, not since the night I received it, at least.

It was part of the ‘reward’ loot I received for completing my first Tough Mudder, with my awesome assistant, Dee Atkins, and her fella, Mikey, last year.


If you haven’t heard of Tough Mudder events, they’re obstacle courses, designed by British Special Forces.

Challenges include three storey cargo net climbs, crawling through mud under heavy tarps filled with gallons of water, climbing over sloping walls with no hand or foot grips and running up a huge, smooth quarter pipe.

To put this in context, I was that asthmatic kid who never got picked⏤on school sports day. I have knees that don’t support me very well (my patellas are too small!), a once-broken back that occasionally screams at me, one lung that was damaged by a severe chest infection and all the stamina of… well… something with no stamina.

I never, ever, not in a million years, thought I’d be able to complete a Tough Mudder – not even the shorter, 5k event, we opted for.

How wrong could I be?

We conquered the course, we danced, we got the T-shirts. And headbands. And a celebratory non-alcoholic beer!

Which brings me back to the story…


Though I was massively proud of my achievement (I was proud of all three of us, as well as my wife, Asha, who braved the cold to take pics of our adventure), I had never quite been able to muster the courage to wear my Tough Mudder T-shirt in public.

A couple of times, I’d grabbed it for gym sessions – even got as far as putting it on – then ripped it off again and opted for something far more plain and sensible!

Why? That little voice in my head has laughed at me, whined at me, and convinced I’d look like an idiot wearing a Tough Mudder tee in a large gym, full of people fitter, and healthier, than me.

In my head, I was convinced they’d all be looking and sniggering and whispering: “Look at that fat twit wearing a Mudder tee. Bet she got it on eBay.” Or something similar.

What a load of bulldust!

And, even if it were true, so what?

Once I’d spotted the pattern – and it’s a really old childhood one – I was able to have a stern, but kind, word with myself.


Though I parade about with bright pink hair and my Unleash Your Awesome branded tops, I realized that my confidence hits a brick wall when it comes to self-image around health and fitness.

Sure, I work out, and I’m much healthier and stronger than I used to be, thanks to my fitness kick over the past few years, but I still have wobbly bits and parts I’m not entirely proud of.

How had I not been cognizant of the impact this had been having on my life until now? This was about far more than my Mudder reward loot!

Long story short, I wore the T-shirt.

And guess what? Nobody said a word. I doubt anyone even noticed.

People don’t go to the gym to take the piss out of other people… they go to work on their own form and get fitter. Nobody’s there to check out my gym gear!

So now, I’m wondering… what about YOU? Does any of this resonate? Do YOU need to have a word with yourself?

If you do, please remember to do it with love and kindness… even if that does need to include giving yourself a compassionate kick!

Until next time,