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Humans of HIIT Male Running School

Joel Jake

“Sports were like a lifestyle to me from childhood. There were times where I was more anxious about sports meet in my school than the exams that are supposed to happen the next day. I was very much attached with running and volleyball. With multiple medals and trophies in 100 and 200m sprints I entered high school where too much concentration was put on studies rather than physical activity. My sports life had vanished. By the end of high school I got interested in martial arts then I joined a karate school, to learn and practice the style. But then within a year my college life started and I was put back to the studious life which later became the couch potato lifestyle.

Now that my running life was literally over and a huge break in karate, I was clueless where to restart again. That’s when I was introduced to a local running group. From 2019 they motivated me and guided me to train and run a 10km running race and made me finish in under 45 mins.

I feel more active and alive everyday after that fresh morning run, long ride on the saddle, amazing workout sessions on the beach side. And in every activity there was a group of people ready to push me to be my best. Remember together we go far.”

We’d love more men to submit their stories! Link in bio to inspire more to be active #humansofhiit

#sport #life #lifestyle #exams #school #highschool #college #running #sprints #runningclub #karate #motivation #race #workout #beach #volleyball

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Humans of HIIT Injury Male Mental Health Running School Sport University

Gamel Oki

I have a strange relationship with sports – I started out really disliking sports, or rather disliking how bad I was at team sports. But as I became older, sports, exercise and fitness became something that I could fall back on in my most significant times of hardship. 

Growing up, I was terrible at sports. I grew up with two older sisters, one of whom wasn’t into sports, and one of whom was a fantastic basketball player. Being much younger than either of my sisters and having older parents, I didn’t really grow up playing sports. Especially not team sports – I did learn to ride a bike and swim, but things like football, rugby and hockey didn’t really enter my life until I went to school.  

Being a late starter in sports, I have distinct memories of how unpleasant social sports were. There’s nothing quite like being the last player to be picked to destroy what little confidence you have in your abilities. But in retrospect – I was so bad I can see why. This curse of being “bad at sports” followed me into secondary school where playing football was THE essential social activity for my peer group. 

I still wasn’t a particularly skilled sportsman. Yet, in secondary school, I discovered something – I was fast, much faster than most of my peers. I was actually third fastest in the entire year group (there were about 180 of us). For the first time, I had discovered something physical that I could excel at – I could chase down attacking players with relative ease. For the first time, I felt of value to the teams I played for and started to play more. I began to get better, I wasn’t the last picked anymore, though this was in part because I was one of the few people who didn’t play as a striker. I started to feel like I contributed to our victories and stalled our losses; at the age of about 15/16, I have my first memories of actually enjoying team sports. 

University was a different ball game(pun intended). I was studying in the arts and between being a ‘creative’ and my brand new social life, I didn’t make time for team sports, or in fact any sports. This all changed in my second year when I joined the ski and snowboard club! It further changed after graduation when I stayed on as Students’ Union staff and joined the climbing club. These weren’t sports I was doing because they were a necessary part of having a social circle, these sports I loved! It was also strange as they both involved being very high up and I’m actually scared of heights. 

But the major turning point was when I was back in London and went through my first BIG breakup. The first big one is always the worst they say, and this was no exception. Unsure of how to process what I felt or even thought at the time, I dived headfirst into my job and career. I would work weekends and evenings, pushing myself to hit crazy targets with minimal resources. The results I achieved with this near-obsessive approach to work gained me the praise of peers and management and promotion to Department Manager (though not the pay rise I was hoping for). However, this didn’t come without a cost, overworking left me physically and mentally depleted, and I would often sleep for up to 14 hours on Saturdays as I tried to recuperate from 70hour+ weeks. Mentally I was numb – focusing so heavily on the tasks at hand left me devoid of much emotion and cold to everyone, including my friends and team members. 

Then I started running. I’d done some running after university. Still, long-distance runs were a foreign concept to a guy who mostly runs 100m and 200m sprints. I had noticed that Nike was hosting a run club starting out from their central London store and running a loop of Hyde Park, I decided to get some running trainers and join. Running was challenging, not only physically or mentally. For 40 minutes, I was forced to confront my own thoughts and feelings about my breakup, my life, my job and pretty anything else that wandered into my mind. Even when running in a group, I was uniquely alone with my thoughts, and my pain (Actual physical pain – my lower back would be killing after 2km). It was sobering and strengthening, I started to find that running was my time to digest and understand my own thoughts and feelings. People have asked me if running made me happier; honestly, I’m not sure. But it did allow me to find peace and balance. It also made my lower back stronger. 

As the first few months of running turned to a year, my mental health, work/life balance, and fitness all improved. I became a regular Nike Town runner and even made some friends in the running scene (yes there’s a scene). As the years of running rolled by, I took on new challenges; half marathons, obstacle courses, martial arts, and finally signing up to a gym. My work obsession turned into a healthy drive, and I started to make more use of my time outside of the office. My increased fitness (and better work/life ratio) allowed me to also excel as a snowboarder and climber (though I still have a long way to go). The various activities I’m involved in not only help me with maintaining balance but help me build positive habits and routines within my life. Which are handy in getting me out of the office before 10pm. 

When I think back to how I started, my fear of being the worst at sports and where I am now – I do feel a sense of pride. It took time, growth and some pain, but now I understand my strengths and weaknesses. Though looking back at how I started, it’s not a surprise that I’m not really a “team sport” person.

As I’ve gotten older, my commitments (and injuries) have grown, but I’ve kept up the running, though I don’t do it as much as I used to. I’m more of a climber these days, but I still go for a run whenever I need time to think or process a feeling, I’ll also run if there is any group of runners heading out. I still wear the same make of Nike running trainers (Lunarglide – I’m on my second or third pair) and have the same soundtracks to listen to.

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Gym Training Humans of HIIT Male Mental Health Running Sport University Weight Loss

Niall Stillwell

For as long as I can remember I’ve always been involved in sports. Athletics on Mondays, swimming with my mum on Fridays, family bike rides on Sundays and of course playing football at every opportunity I had.

As most young boys do, I harboured ambitions of becoming an elite sportsman. A footballer or sprinter, I wasn’t really fussed. I was fortunate to make great memories in both, captaining my club and my school team to various trophies and running for my district team (not as the sprinter I once thought I could be but as an 800m runner). I will always have fond memories of these experiences with the teachers, coaches, teammates and successes making it what it was. Despite trialling with a few teams and representing my County team, things soon ground to a halt. After playing for my college first team and on the cusp of rejoining the County team, I suffered back to back broken ankles, first during pre season and the second when coming back too soon from the first. This proved to be the first time in my life that I lost my love of exercise. Though I loved the sport I played, breaking your ankle twice in a row and spending 5 or so months of the year on crutches coupled with the thrill of turning 18, girls, alcohol etc etc lead me to taking a 3ish so year break from sport. No football, no running, no gym, no anything.

These 3 years marked some of my first at uni, I continued to eat badly, continued partying and continued overlooking sport despite studying on a sports degree.. go figure. One day though, my friend asked if I wanted to come for a kick about and reluctantly I agreed. Overweight, out of breath and with a touch worse than Guendouzi, I finally realised what I had done to myself. I’d gone from being a confident, ultra fit, county level footballer to a mess and it was time to make a change.

There were a few things that motivated this change, the realisation of how big/unfit I’d gotten, the fact I was going on a holiday with a girl I crushed on (god forbid her see me topless) and the longing I had to get back into competitive sport. I decided that I was going to run the marathon, get into the gym full time and most importantly get back to playing football whilst also disengaging in some of the negative lifestyle choices that had made me this way in the first place. The beginning was tough but it made the results all the more worthwhile. At first, I couldn’t run down the road without stopping, I couldn’t do a single pull up, I couldn’t reach my toes and I certainly couldn’t take my clothes off and feel comfortable. But every week I started seeing progress, running faster and farther, lifting heavier and longer in the gym, weight falling off me and most importantly my footballing ability starting to come back. I hadn’t fully realised what I missed until I was back in it and I can’t help but regret my actions for those few years as I consider it a period where I really did lose myself for a while. Nevertheless, it was a learning curve and I remember finishing my first marathon and crying at the finish line as it marked a significant change in my life and one that I’ve adhered to ever since.

Since that first marathon, I’ve gone on to do another 2, I’ve ran a whole host of half’s, I play semi professional football, I became a PE teacher, I have qualifications in personal training and sports therapy whilst engaging in and promoting sport and physical activity at every opportunity. Where I’d grown stagnant and unmotivated in life getting back into sport helped put everything back into perspective for me. All of a sudden I started achieving things again and having that need to achieve helped motivate me both in my physical and career based pursuits. My outgoing, resilient and confident personality came back to me and despite a number of setbacks both in work (not getting certain jobs) and in sport (breaking my ankle again and my shoulder) I used this heightened hardened mindset to bounce back bigger and better than before.

I think the main thing I’ve tried to explain here is that when I was at my lowest in life, physically and mentally in poor health, sport and physical activity were non existent for me. Since they’ve been back I am happier, healthier and enjoying life way more than a few drinks, a night out and a kebab could ever possibly provide me.

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Humans of HIIT Male

Cuan Coetzee

“Fitness for me started out as competition, it is now the main ingredient for my balanced lifestyle. Movement has always been ingrained in me. Growing up, my brother and I were competitive athletes. Exercise was the motivator to pursue a career in healthcare, and now is my biggest addition to all my treatment protocols.

Movement is so ingrained in me that it is the basis for my brand, MoveMed, which is the educational platform through which I educate my patients (and anyone interested) about how movement is the best medicine. As a Chiropractor and Health Coach, exercise is the common denominator and most important piece of advice I give to every patient I see. Exercise, when coupled with recovery, speeds up healing, decreases inflammation and decreases stress. I have witnessed, first hand, the transformation power that exercise has in a person’s physical, chemical, emotional and even spiritual being.”

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Family Humans of HIIT Male University Workouts Classes

Jacob Delveaux

I grew up in a heavy family from the American Midwest — think Big Macs and Thanksgiving dinners. I knew no other lifestyle other than sedentary. Of course I had heard of exercise, but it wasn’t for me. I didn’t like to get sweaty, I was busy, I had other things to do, etc. etc.

During my first year of undergraduate, I was pulled away from my family. It was the first time I started to question my lifestyle and I found that it didn’t make me satisfied. I started exercising, light at first — just going on walks while listening to some podcasts – and soon felt great! Why had no one told me that life could be this amazing? That my days could be so clear, that I could have so much energy? It was like waking up into a world of possibility, energy, and life! So much different than the dark, sluggish world I knew before. I added in push ups to my walks, then crunches, then found my way into the gym. I found that what I once thought was a gruelling chore was soon becoming the best part of my day. It took some patience, no doubt, (and I had a cheat day here and there), but by staying consistent and disciplined, I found myself shedding pounds and turning into something beautiful.

Now you can’t keep me away from the gym, a round of pushups, or an on-the-fly HIIT class! If I’ve learned anything from this journey, it’s to go out and do what you think is amazing – no matter what those around you think. Don’t wait for anyone else’s permission, don’t seek anyone else’s approval but your own, don’t let others negativity get you down! Get out there and get fit! Let’s do it!”

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Humans of HIIT Injury Male Religion Running

Gerald Gyane

“I am an avid footballer, it’s been my favourite sport ever since I was a child. I was gutted that I couldn’t make it as a pro. I channeled my passion into giving back to the youth as I was involved in youth work in my church. I organised regular keep fit sessions and even got more senior citizens to join. My passion for sports has always been tied in to my faith in God.

As a Christian I recognise that I have been entrusted with my body by God to do good and enrich my community with deeds of God’s love. I cannot do so if I abuse my body. Keeping fit by playing football, jogging, and badminton enables me to keep my body in good shape so I can show God’s love in my community.

Self-discipline and self control are biblical disciplines that have helped me greatly in sport especially as one who used to easily lose my temper on the pitch. I have learnt to rein in myself and I am now as cool as a cucumber all from deepening my faith in God and applying it to physical activity.

I gave up sports for almost 8 months due to a knee injury and started putting on weight. Just as I began light training the COVID nightmare plagued the globe. I have taken up jogging and skipping in the mean time to maintain my weight. However I am very eager to get back on the pitch again so I can race back to full fitness.

Stay healthy and look after your body, it is what you need to enjoy life on this earth.”

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Family Humans of HIIT Male Weight Loss Workouts Classes

Liam Addison

“20 stone is when I started losing weight seriously. I always struggled to maintain a healthy weight even as a child. I was completely oblivious to how heavy I was. Takeaways and processed food was my food of choice and working as a travelling engineer, sandwiches and pasties were my go to food.

My relationship with exercise started up again seriously in November 2019. After taking just over 7 years off, because of a steady girlfriend who is now my wife and the children that followed. It was nerve racking at first but since the diet change in august, I had lost over 2 stone and wanted to keep the momentum following. I was exercising 5 days a week following a simple routine I had found on the Samsung health app. The workouts are just simple movements, nothing fancy, basic push/pull exercises followed by cardio on either the x trainer, rowing machine or bike. But ironically the bikes were never my favourite in the gym. My workouts were before work also usually at 6am and for about an hour and a half.

Since the lockdown though my exercise has changed. I am now training everyday, roughly for 30 mins in my home gym and ride on average 30km on my bike every other day. I wasn’t working out at all before November. I work as a travelling engineer so that was my excuse. Being on the road and sleeping in different hotels. Today I weigh 16 stone and in the best shape of my life. I started my Instagram page to keep me accountable and to remind myself of where I was. I still travel with work but a gym has to be available in the hotel or I won’t stay there. I guess you can say all in my priorities have shifted and for the better. I’m most definitely a healthier happier person because of exercise and losing the weight.”

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Gym Training Humans of HIIT Male School Sport University Weight Loss

Marc Slowey

“I may work in sport however I have a love-hate relationship with training as I have always been someone who trains because of weight gain and loss.

I only really became involved with sport at the end of secondary school due to a few amazing teachers who helped me to get involved to become fitter and healthier. I got heavily involved with rowing and even competed at national competitions (well on an indoor rowing machine haha).

This experience made me want to become a PE teacher so I studied it at University, however, I ruptured my hamstring off the bone and could not stay active. So I once again gained weight but I found my love for sport when I got a job at the University of Sussex with some inspirational people.

Since then I have jumped from sport to sport for new challenges, of which saw me recently win a regional powerlifting competition. I am now looking at getting fitter and in shape in preparation for doing a load of challenges before my 30th Birthday next year.”

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Gym Training Humans of HIIT Injury Male Mental Health Running School Sport Weight Loss

Harry Millard

“Going to boarding school, rugby was a huge part of our daily life. I was training and playing during the week for school and then for the local club at the weekend. Every evening we were in the school gym, trying to get bigger and stronger – it was about as stereotypical as you can imagine (stringer vests and all)! Unfortunately being active all the time was masking the disordered eating habits I had picked up. When I was sidelined with a serious head injury the habits only got worse, and I dealt with my depression by going to the shop every day and taking food back to my room to binge – I stopped working out and, at my worst, I was over 130kg (20.5 stone) and miserable. I started my fitness Instagram to give myself some accountability and to document my journey with others – and it gave me a new drive to continue to improve. I fell back in love with the gym and with rugby – I started my career and was really in a good place. Then I was hit with another serious injury, this time a broken ankle, and I landed squarely back on square one. I continue to document my up-and-down journey back from that setback, and have found passion in being active again – including signing up for the Great South Run later this year! Whilst rugby remains a huge part of my life and remains a key motivation behind improving my physical ability, I also train for health and happiness that I know it brings.”

 

Thank you from the Humans of HIIT community for sharing your story!

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Tom Middlebrook

“Taking part in physical activity has always been something I have enjoyed; a kick about in the park with friends, playing tennis, outdoor adventure activities. Whatever it is, I’m always up for getting involved. However, life changes. The things we once had time for have become lost, and the challenge of a work-life balance takes centre stage.

As a young, working adult the time I had for health and fitness seemingly drifted away. After a long day at work the evenings became dedicated to doing nothing – there seemed to be no time for anything else. Finish work, commute home, make dinner, eat dinner, go to bed. Where was the time for anything else? And to be honest, in my early twenties I didn’t really care! I could eat and drink as much as wanted with little or no effect on my physical and mental wellbeing. Life was actually pretty easy.

But then came the late twenties…

It turns out you can’t eat and drink as much as you like and do no exercise! Not only does your physical appearance change, a feeling of unhealthiness kicks in. I became lethargic and unmotivated and good night’s sleep was hard to come by! And on top of this, confidence plummeted. It was time to make a change.

I needed to make time for health and fitness. Stop making poor excuses about there not being enough hours in the day – find them! This won’t be the same for everyone, but for me, I needed to make the most of the mornings. Stop rolling out of bed with barely enough time to get to work; start getting up earlier and do some exercise. Finding the motivation to achieve this was tough, but I succeeded by signing up to my local gym and paying for PT sessions. I honestly could not have done it alone. Yes, PT might be expensive, but it is 100% worth it!”

 

Thank you from the Humans of HIIT community for sharing your story!