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Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Mental Health Personal Trainers Workouts Classes

Elaine Smith

I am old now. I have struggled with mental health all my life due to an unhappy childhood. I was anorexic at 15 and experienced suicidal thoughts from 13. I had issues with my body image. 

Exercise wasn’t big when I was young and my adoptive parents weren’t interested. I was bullied at school so only took up sports in my twenties, netball, hockey and yoga. I enjoyed the buzz of exercise and the camaraderie of team sport. I found I was good at sport. I brought my children up to be sporty and my husband was mad about cricket and football. I taught full time, hiding my mental health problems and found any exercise gave me a release from negative thoughts and made me feel positive and able to carry on. I first joined a gym and did exercise classes about 25 years ago. I have tried everything from kick boxing, running and aerobics and they all helped with me having a positive mindset and feeling better about myself. I am now used to HIIT, gym workouts, walking, jogging and now have Personal Trainers as well. The Townsend Twins train me. 

I was finally diagnosed with all my mental illnesses in May 2019 but have had breakdowns since 2001. I have been on medication since 1996. 

I started to increase my exercise regime after my diagnosis. Once I could start cutting back on medication I was able to exercise more. I find getting my heart pumping from HIIT classes gives my mood a huge lift and makes life bearable. I do Metafit and am proud I can do burpees. I also have a mini trampoline. During lockdown exercise has been my lifeline. Without exercise I wouldn’t still be here. Exercise is a huge part of my life and I work out several times a day everyday. I started posting on Instagram in the summer showing how exercise helps me manage my mental health. I am not great at some things but none of my photos are doctored and I post honestly. I now have over 800 followers.

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Family Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Mental Health Running

Claire Whitfield

“As a child I never really took part or particularly enjoyed exercise apart from PE at school because you had no choice. I was a bit of a rebel as a child and was smoking by the age of 12, shocking I know, it disgusts me now, but at 12 years old, and mixing with the wrong crowd and an older sibling who also smoked, well I guess I didn’t know any better. 

I started running about 17 years ago just after quitting smoking. I didn’t want to gain weight so I joined a gym and started running on a Treadmill. I was very slim but so unfit I could only run for about a minute without stopping. I continued pushing and upping the time on the Treadmill and when I managed a whole 25 minutes I was chuffed to bits.

I lost my dad suddenly 2 years later in 2005 at the age of 55, he was a smoker and didn’t have the healthiest lifestyle, we also have a family history of heart disease /failure, so I wanted to improve my health and fitness even more. 

My first official race was the Greggs children cancer charity run in Gosforth, a 5k Cross country run in May 2009, I also took part in this run for the following 3 years. I then entered the Great North Run for 2012 but had to defer until 2013 due to a prolapse and bulging discs in my back. This was a huge set back for me as I was unable to run for 3 months and even after this time it was a gradual increase in activity over the next 6 – 8 months to gain my strength and fitness back. Mentally this was really hard as I was on crutches for 2 months and in chronic pain . To help me get through this I took long walks on my crutches and carried out the strength and stretching exercises the physio gave me to keep my mind focused on recovering. 

I ran my first half marathon (GNR) in 2013, my biggest achievement at this point, in a time of 2hrs 7 minutes. 

I ran this in memory of my dad and my uncle who had died 4 years earlier of cancer. I always remember crossing that finish line and being overwhelmed with emotions, a mixture of pride and sadness. I then went on to complete the GNR again in 2016 and 2019. I also completed the Hamsterley Forest half marathon which was brutal, 3 miles up steep terrain which I completed in 2hr 10m, my hardest achievement by far. 

I run 5-6 times a week, covering around 40 – 60 miles a week. I love how a morning run sets me up mentally for my entire day. I have entered the Manchester Marathon for next October which will be my first ever marathon. Excited but nervous is an understatement.

I set up a Facebook group & my IG page to help inspire and motivate others to increase their activity, whether that’s running, walking, cycling  whatever they prefer to give them a healthier lifestyle. From my experience consistency is most definitely the key to success.

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Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Personal Trainers Running Weight Loss Workouts Classes

Tamara Olaniyan

 

“I had a relationship with fitness but it was sporadic. I took fitness seriously in spurts: when I needed to enlist in the military. Before that, I ran track in high school but not seriously. When I was discharged, my health took a nose-dive. I did not feel good about myself and when things didn’t go well, I turned to food. Food was my very best friend. I joined a gym because I didn’t like how I look and how tight my clothes fit. The bigger I bought my clothes, the more I was buying bigger clothes since I outgrew my clothes within months. At my heaviest, I was 210 pounds. 

Getting stuck with a year of personal training was the “best”, overlooked mistake I could have made. Two awesome women personal trainers assisted me on my journey. I learned the same way I made time to engage in other activities, I would have to learn to schedule and prioritize fitness. When I started putting my exercise workouts on my calendar, I became more accountable and made less excuses for working out. Even now with gyms closed, I use the weights in my house, download a fitness app on the phone, and get my workout in. Either way, 6 days a week for at least 45 minutes, I am going to engage in some type of HITT, strength training, or cardio. I give myself one day of active recovery and rest. For fun, I like to run races. I see it all as a great way to help with my depression and anxiety and to allow myself “me time” when I will not allow myself to be disturbed. I allow myself to be selfish during my workout times. 

What has really inspired me is seeing other women who have embraced weight training, like my former personal trainers. I always thought if women lifted heavy weights, they would look like “She-Hulk”. I learned later it’s not the case. My hat is always off when I see other women doing their thing in fitness, especially women of color. It’s a great feeling and maybe it will open the door for others to put health and fitness in the top 5.”

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Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Mental Health Personal Trainers Workouts Classes

Anisha Gangotra

“By day I work within the NHS and by night I’m an Inclusive Dance and Zumba Instructor.

Growing up, I was super active. I loved playing sports. Hockey was my main sport and I started off by pulling around an old sawn-off hockey stick of my dad’s from when I could just about walk. I love to dance too and I’ve tried hip hop and Bollywood dancing over the years.

My life changed in 2008 at 24 years old – I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC), a chronic auto-immune condition where my immune system attacks my bowels. Symptoms include blood loss, diarrhoea, bowel urgency, pain and fatigue. My most debilitating symptom is fatigue, which has affected how I can stay active.

Then in 2011, I was the victim of a traumatic, high-speed car accident. Overnight, my ability to exercise was taken away. I struggled to get out of bed by myself and I literally had to take everything one step at a time. I suffered with physical injuries as well as PTSD, depression and anxiety, which took years to recover from.

These personal challenges led me to becoming an Inclusive Dance and Zumba instructor. I wanted to provide a safe space for all, including those with disabilities, long-term conditions and mental health issues to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of dance. It’s also provided a space to have an open dialogue about the issues we’re facing and share our personal challenges. That in itself, has been truly powerful.

Being active from a young age taught me many skills which I‘ve used throughout my life and stood me in good stead to face these challenges. I’ve had to adapt and think outside of the box to find what works for me.”

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Holly Clyne

“I’ve not always had my disability, in fact, growing up I was extremely sporty. I did karate lessons, signed up for every event at sports day, ran charity runs and eventually even got into my county Badminton team! That was an amazing achievement for me as despite my love of sport, I never really had much aptitude for it – especially running – but hey, it’s the taking part that counts right?

As I got older I tried all sorts of exercise classes, gym workouts and developed a love for mountaineering. Indoor climbing is by far what I miss the most these days. I was diagnosed with a mild case of M.E. in my third year of university, and to be honest, I kind of ignored it. Boy did I live to regret that. You can’t beat M.E. you see, thanks to the main symptom of Post Exertional Malaise (PEM) – which basically means the more I exert myself, the more ill I am. So as I continued to work hard and exercise hard, ignoring the signals my body was sending me, and using painkillers and drugs to mask my body’s cries to stop, I just became increasingly ill.

I unfortunately now have a moderate case of M.E. which heavily restricts what I can do. Even small activities can trigger PEM. I have a perching stool in the kitchen for washing up, but I still have to spend a few hours resting afterwards as my entire upper-body will feel like I’ve been lifting weights. I recently purchased a coverless duvet because changing bed sheets left me feeling worse than that time I did a half marathon years ago. I even cut most of my hair off because of the exertion of washing and styling it. Theoretically I could still go climb a wall, but I would ‘crash’ afterwards, becoming extremely ill and bedridden for days or weeks. So traditional exercise is kind of off the table…

With M.E. you can only really talk about activity rather than exercise, because things like washing up may now be a major workout for you. However, M.E. varies a LOT in severity, so you’ll sometimes see individuals with the mildest cases still doing low impact workouts, but the most severe of us are permanently confined to bed. It’s kind of like putting pins & needles and paralysis on the same scale.

I still struggle with doing any kind of activity for activities sake, most of my limited energy is used up on day-to-day living activities. But I’m trying to get into the habit of doing something, even if it’s once or twice a week, sometimes not even that. I like to do 5 minute ‘yoga’, though it’s basically 90% child’s pose. Essentially I get a yoga mat out and do some stretches. I think this helps, as I spend so much time sat still, inactive, that I think my body just starts cramping up, but I can’t really say for sure. I do know that mentally it makes a difference, it makes me feel like I haven’t given up, like there’s still something I can do, it reminds me that I’m not being lazy, that I want to do more, it’s just not good for me.

If anyone else with M.E. reads this, I can’t give you much advice because of how varied our symptoms are. Just make sure to listen to your body. Don’t push it. I know society teaches us that we should push harder, that we shouldn’t take a day off unless we’re really ill, the whole ‘no pain no gain’ but sometimes that backfires. Sometimes your body just can’t take it and if you don’t listen you’ll only make things worse. Had I stopped and listened, maybe I would still be able to work part-time at least, do some of those low impact workouts, be able to make it up a single flight of stairs without stopping to rest.

So that’s my story. Listen to your body, work with it, not against it, do what you as an individual can, and forget what others can do. For most people, exercise is worthwhile and good for your health, but that doesn’t mean you have to go all out. Just getting a walk into your day is good enough for some. We’re all made differently.”

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Ryan Harris

“I was an athlete throughout my childhood up through high school. Played multiple sports. Even after high school I stayed active for several years playing flag football. It wasn’t until my late 20’s when I got married and my wife and I started our family that I found every excuse to not be active. 

Then about 5 years ago when my son started playing youth soccer and I realized I was so out of shape I could not keep up with 5 & 6 years old on a soccer field. This is when I decided it was time for no more excuses. I just needed to find something that would keep me motivated. 

A good friend of mine introduced me to obstacle course racing. I looked into it and thought oh this looks fun. I soon realized that I needed much more in the way of fitness to be able to run these races. I started working out and training at a local gym 3 to 4 days a week and also running several times a week. Once I realized how much better I felt physically and the benefits I would see from a healthier lifestyle it lit a fire in me. I soon found that my passion was running. 

I set a goal this year of running 1000 miles while also maintaining a balanced life with my family! My wife has also joined me in the fitness journey of life and we workout together several times a week doing her beach body programs.”

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Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Sport

Kirsten Williams

“I’ve particularly been into cycling since I was a child, mainly distance road cycling as I feel a sense of accomplishment after going further than I did before.

Although I enjoy cycling, it doesn’t provide the benefits of weight bearing exercise and strength training and that’s where @davidjameswellspt comes in. I learned so much in the gym from my sessions with him, I went from knowing absolutely nothing to knowing that I can walk in the gym and use any of the equipment by myself, and have the correct technique. 

I have gained confidence in pushing myself, and my posture has improved dramatically. He helped me achieve my goals such as drop my body fat from 29% to 21%. Not only is Dave an encouraging and patient teacher, but he’s a good listener and a friend. As well as gaining so much from the sessions in terms of fitness, I also really enjoyed myself.”

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Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Running Sport Workouts Classes

Amanda Wojtaszek

My relationship with physical activity is one with a late start and a lot of twists and curves.

I am a 39 year old camera assistant, skydiver and tunnel flyer who used to fake stomach aches to avoid gym class as a kid. I was the skinny, uncoordinated girl who figured out what position to be in to do the least. I hated sports.

Becoming a camera assistant requires a lot of carrying heavy gear, pushing carts loaded with gear and standing and moving around for 12 to 18 hours a day. If you are out of shape, it’s going to be a bad time. This made me learn to take care of myself a little better. With those hours, it’s hard to join sports or keep a regular gym schedule.

I would do at home work outs lifting weights and walking between shows just to keep a bit of muscles and stamina, but only as maintenance. I never really ENJOYED it. I ended up gaining quite a lot of weight and fell out of a routine.

At 36 years old, I had gone though a big break up. I joined Weight Watchers and lost 40 lbs. I started CrossFit, which I loved. I loved that it taught me how far I could push myself. I loved feeling strong and it seemed like all of my daily tasks were so much easier while feeling fit.

During this time, I went for a tandem skydive. It was so much more fun than I could have imagined. With a new found confidence in my physical abilities, I decided to sign up to become a licensed skydiver.

I was terrible at it. But the mental game that I had learned doing CrossFit and from work (hauling gear for an hour after working for 15 hours when you think you can’t make it, but needing to push though) I kept working on it.

This led me to trying indoor skydiving. The wind tunnel allows you to learn the positions for skydiving in a much more controlled environment. I fell in love with it almost as much as the sky.

If you look at indoor skydiving, you would think it’s just floating, however you are using every stability muscle in your body to hold yourself steady in different positions. Friends are always surprised by the pain in their shoulders and abs when they try it for 4 minutes.

In the winter, I spend at least 30 mins in the tunnel a week. I get sore and out of breath, it’s an amazing work out and so much fun.

Indoor skydiving or tunnel flying feels a lot more demanding than outdoor skydiving because you have to fight for lift and you stay in the wind for much longer. A skydive is a minute or less at a time, in the tunnel I usually do 2-5 minute rotations.

I even won my first gold medal in my first sport competition ever in the Canadian Indoor Skydiving Championship in 2019 in a 2 way event with my boyfriend.

I had to give up CrossFit after just a few months because of my work schedule and then spending every weekend in the summer. But I still hear the coaches voices in my head and I know I can push myself to do more than I think I can.

This past winter I tried hot yoga, and really started to enjoy it. I loved feeling strong, pushing myself and the core work was really helping my tunnel flying.

Unfortunately, COVID happened. I did like many, sat on the couch and ate and drank too much. And then one day I tried on my skydiving jump suit to find that it wouldn’t zip up.

And now for my latest adventure, running. At 39 years old, I had never been a runner. I hated it. But it was free and it got me out of the house. I started really slow, having to walk more then run. I started to use an app to help see progress and that has made it more interesting for me. As far as real runners go, I’m still super slow, but I see progress every week and I have actually begun to crave it.

I am back in the sky jumping this summer too, thankfully, with my suit that now fits thanks to running.

So for me, the relationship with physical activity is about a lot more than just the activity. It’s about the mental game and the confidence that you gain from it. It took me until I was in my 30’s to find a sport that I loved so much. But it has made a huge difference in my life. I found love, friends and a passion. All because of a physical activity.

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Family Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Pregnancy Sport Weight Loss Workouts Classes

Lauren Gift

I was relatively active throughout my childhood. I played soccer and a lot of driveway basketball. I stayed out from morning until night and ran around the neighborhood.

I didn’t really struggle with weight as a child or even a teen. I did however gain a lot of weight my first pregnancy at 21 years old. Being young I was able to get the weight off relatively quickly but definitely not in a healthy manner.

I then went on to have three more kids and every child it was more and more difficult to shed baby weight so I kind of lost motivation and gave up.

In 2016 my oldest son was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at age 8. It was a huge roadblock for us and completely unexpected. Our world was turned upside down and suddenly my child was forced to have shots all day long every day in order to live. We had no choice but to pay close attention to food labels in order to count carbs for him to know how much insulin he needed.

This was a very eye opening experience. Not only did it get me paying attention to labels which I hadn’t previously done, it got me thinking more about health in general. This was the start of my new lifestyle.

I decided to join a network marketing business for health and fitness which lasted a few years and in that time I created some bad habits. Truthfully, I’m still thankful for the experience because it got me where I am today. It was a stepping stone on the path to where I’m at.

I now do ZOOM workouts in the morning with a few of my girl friends. We get up early and workout “together” virtually. My choice of workout always involves weights. I love lifting and feeling strong. It gives me a confidence I wouldn’t otherwise have. Plus, cardio is hardio. It’s definitely not my cup of tea and that’s ok!

Working out with my friends virtually is my favorite part of the day. I absolutely love motivating and helping others. We all deserve to feel great about ourselves. We need to treat ourselves with respect and love and what better way than through health and fitness?

I’m not done with my journey and still have a ways to go, but I’m closer today than I have been in a long time. That’s because I made the choice to just do it and you can too. Change is hard and uncomfortable but being uncomfortable is part of the change.

You can’t have a lifestyle change without changing your lifestyle. You’ve got this! I believe in you.

#humansofhiit #soccer #basketball #football #weightgain #pregnancy #weightloss #diabetes #networkmarketing #business #health #fitness #lifting #gym weightlifting #cardio #zoom #workout #journey

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Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Mental Health Personal Trainers Running Weight Loss

Gemma Davis

Having spent the majority of my 20s overweight and unfit and I decided I didn’t want to spend my 30s the same way.

I wasn’t really sure where to start with getting fitter. Initially I started with a bit of running and a friend suggested a personal trainer – David Wells (@davidjameswellspt). Working with Dave I’m using equipment and doing exercises I never would have found on my own.

Importantly, no matter what mood I turn up to train in I always leave feeling like I can take on the world! I’ve loved seeing what my body can do and learning about what I need to best fuel it.

But the biggest change is my confidence. As someone who has always struggled with their body image the thought of running, in public, in shorts (!) would have terrified me 6 months ago.

Being fit and healthy is such a big part of my life now. I can run 5k and do push ups. Both things I never thought I’d be able to do. I can’t wait to see what is next on my fitness journey and what else my body can accomplish!

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#weightloss #unfit #fit #fitness #fitter #fitfam #running #personaltrainer #trainer #trainers #exercise #confidence #body #learning #fuel #mentalhealth #health #healthy #5k #pushups #fitnessjourney