Bonjour, I'm Julia.

2016 Review: What I Learnt And Experienced

I don't really believe in New Year's Resolutions, as I think there's no better time to take action than now. What the New Year brings however, is a natural point to review what's happened over the past year. Below is a list of my key stand-out experiences and learnings over the course of 2016.

  • Skiing - after a couple of years break from skiing, I finally got back into it, revisiting the skiing village of Zermatt, Switzerland, surely one of the best skiing spots in the world.

  • Surfing - it has been a long time dream of mine to be able to catch and feel the power of a wave beneath me. I was finally able to experience this...numerous times, in Lanzarote, Canary Islands.

  • Veganism - I continued learning more about veganism, with 2016 being the first full year I spent living a mostly vegan lifestyle. As a consequence of this, I learnt a lot about nutrition (I wanted to ensure I was getting adequate vitamins, minerals etc.) and how to use spices and herbs to make tasty food.

  • Strength training - I started working with a personal trainer for the first time in my life, as I wanted to learn more about lifting heavy weights and developing strength. I discovered that I actually like lifting heavy and feeling strong, and have since diverted a significant chunk of my exercise time from cardio to strength training.

  • HIIT - I discovered F45, a high intensity interval training studio, after deciding I was getting tired of endurance training (specifically marathon training) and wanted to try something new whilst still retaining my fitness. I ended up really enjoying how functional it was and have been continuing these classes for the best part of 9 months.

  • Rome Marathon - After taking a 1 year break from marathon running (the first year I've taken a break since I ran my first marathon in 2012), I ran the Rome Marathon in April 2016.

  • Learning French - I decided to take a more active approach to learning French around the start of the year. I was listening to podcasts on conversational French and reading easy books in French (slowly). This died out towards the end of the year however and is something I need to revive.

  • Meditation and journaling - I tried to cultivate a habit of consistent meditation, despite never being able to do so in the past. I used the Calm app to help me with this. Again, started strong with this, with my longest streak being 32 days. I started guided meditation whilst trying the 5 Minute Journal. I think both fell down when I started having problems sleeping and therefore waking up early, which made it difficult to incorporate meditation and journaling into my morning routine. Again, this is something I want to revive.

  • Cold therapy and breathing - I discovered Wim Hof and his breathing techniques in the last quarter of 2016. I found him, his philosophies and his methods super interesting and signed up for his 10 week course. The course basically takes one through daily breathing exercises, meditation, stretching and cold exposure. I liked it and made good progress with them, but then December came round and I lost the momentum. I definitely want to pick this up again (the cold exposure exercises should also be easier with spring approaching!)

  • Fasting - Fasting for over a day was something I started trying just before Christmas, predominantly for the purported health benefits it brings. My initial experience was positive and this is something that warrants further trials.

Happy 2017 folks!

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