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Female Humans of HIIT Mental Health Workouts Classes

Faye Freeing

“I’ve struggled with my mental health since my early teen years. I lacked a lot of confidence and self belief growing up. I tried pole dance for the first time when I was sixteen, despite being told I wasn’t allowed to by a negative influence in my life. I removed them from my life and tried it, instantly falling in love.

Due to health and location issues, I couldn’t pole dance much after that until I was 20. I was in need of a huge confidence boost after a series of unfortunate events and to do something that was simply for me. Instantly it revoked a passion within myself, became my way of coping and building myself back up enough to care enough to want to keep living.

I later went on to train to become a pole dance instructor and have been teaching the sport to a range of individuals of all walks of life.

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Humans of HIIT Male Mental Health School Sport

Paul Nicholson

Throughout school I was obsessed with sport, I played as much as I could, my whole life was consumed with playing some game. I was immensely competitive and still am today.

From 11 I played for 2 rugby teams, ice skated 4 to 5 times a week, If not we played roller hockey or football. After leaving school this huge void opened up, I began a career in hairdressing and it was a party lifestyle, I gained weight, drank too much, smoked too much and dabbled in recreational drugs.

I started to realise that I was struggling with drink and I couldn’t just have a few, I had to shut the lights completely out. This took its toll professionally, physically and mentally. I hit rock bottom and was around 112kg, so unhealthy and something snapped and I became suicidal.

One day my best friend decided to take me for a game of squash, I can pinpoint that session in summer 2009, as the beginning of my recovery, it awoke my physical side and my competitive nature. We played more and I found new partners, eventually I started at the gym and since 2009 it’s become an integral part of my life. I wanted to end my life and now I wake up earlier every day to be more proactive, I train to be obsessive and it keeps me on the right path. 

The knock on effects it has, my productivity stoked by endorphins and the positivity, I’m almost coming up 40 but I feel younger and more energetic now than when I was 27. Never underestimate the mental health benefits physical activity can yield, it takes time to get there but you’ll never look back.”

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Active Suffolk I This Girl Can Humans of HIIT Mental Health University Workouts Classes

Sarah Ann Gray

 

“After graduating, I worked 6 days a week overseas and literally never found the time to exercise; any spare time I did have I was just exhausted & physically needed to rest. My diet was poor and to be honest, I lost my interest in boring exercise classes.

I once worked in a town where I didn’t know anyone, gained a few extra curves and hated the gym. Having heard about Zumba I finally decided to give it a whirl. As soon as the music began I loved it, a total party atmosphere and my hips started to move in ways I never knew they could! It didn’t matter to anyone, even the instructor, if I got the moves right or wrong; so long as I kept moving.

I began to make the time to fit at least two classes a week in, which really benefited not only my physical health, but also my mental health. I had become quite lonely in this new town. It made me feel good inside and out; building my body confidence. Whilst making new friends I toned up those curves & even learnt to love my chunky wobbly thighs (I OWN them!). I enjoyed shaking my jiggly bits and embraced the skin I’m in!

I worked beyond my fitness goals. Absolutely loving it, I decided to teach it myself. (It was just supposed to be a hobby!) This Girl Can Campaign encouraged me to help motivate others, girls and women just like me, into fitness. It’s important to find something that, quite simply, you enjoy doing. I now teach Zumba, Zumba Gold (modified low impact), Seated Zumba Gold, Aqua Zumba and Zumba Kids.

I also take the party to those who can’t get to it, with modified seated classes; having furthered my fitness education beyond qualifying as Level 2 Exercise to Music Fitness Instructor. I also specialise in working with older adults having trained in chair based exercise for older and frailer adults. I work with lots of students affected by dementia; music & movement are power tools.

I work with cancer patients too. It’s a real joy to bring smiles through inclusive dance fitness!

Zumba really is for everybody and every BODY! Different ages, shapes, sizes, abilities and goals; including fitness, weight loss, making new friends, socialising, even therapy for some! It’s a total judgement free zone, real people, real bodies, having a real good time losing ourselves in the music! Dancing, sweating, wiggling and giggling! Dance at your own pace, just keep MOVING & have Fun!

Since Covid-19 and lockdown, I have had to adapt my classes to teach online and now I’ve just begun classes outdoors; including my own toning class, Bumba Blast & women’s only Booty Camp!

My lifestyle is still quite hectic, but I’m healthy, positive and despite the normal highs and lows, I’m loving life!”

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Active Suffolk I This Girl Can Family Female Humans of HIIT Mental Health Pregnancy School Sport

Gemma Marriage

 

“Growing up I always loved being out on my roller skates, sometimes whilst my brothers pulled me along from their BMX bikes! I basically wanted to be in Starlight Express! In school I hated PE, I wasn’t popular and didn’t enjoy any of the activities offered, so I didn’t really get involved in sport.

Fast forward to 2012, I moved to Suffolk to support my husband who unfortunately lost his life to cancer. Finding myself far away from friends and family but needing a support network I reminisced about my childhood roller skates and decided to try out for the local roller derby team.

I was instantly hooked! It’s a full contact team sport, and I love that I can take out all my stress by hitting other people on skates, but it’s also very tactical, so every training session I can lose myself thinking about strategy and gameplay, giving me a chance to switch off from real life.

Eight years on, I still skate at least once a week. We are not able to play competitively at the moment due to coronavirus, so I’m going back to my roots and taking my wheels outside. Right now I’m taking part in a virtual roller marathon, raising funds for a community skating project.

In 2019 I gave birth to my son, and now I’m finding toddler friendly ways that I can skate. Skating was great exercise physically through pregnancy and brilliant for my mental health during the post-natal period. Through derby I have many new friends for life, skating has had a massive positive boost for both my mind and body!”

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Active Suffolk I This Girl Can Family Female Humans of HIIT Mental Health Personal Trainers Physical Impairment Running School Sport University

Claire Jones

 

“I have always enjoyed sport although I wasn’t the best at typical school sports like netball and hockey. I gave them a go but was never good enough to make the teams. I always wanted to do the typical boys sports.. football, cricket. I’ve always loved running and cross country and did that through my teens.

At uni I met a couple of girls who played football. I joined the women’s football team and loved it. After uni I carried on playing football and got my coaching badges. I kept running and going to the gym to keep fit.

After I had my daughter I gave up coaching as it took up too much time with a young family. I still tried to keep fit by running and going to the gym. I then started to suffer with a bowel condition..

In 2012 I was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with chronic ulcerative colitis. My only form of treatment was to have my bowel removed. I was given a permanent ileostomy which saved my life. As I recovered I wanted to get fit again.. I set myself targets.. events or distances I wanted to achieve, whether it was a distance or a strength goal. I’m now fitter and stronger then ever. My ileostomy has given me life.. I am determined to live every minute. I go to the gym, have run 2 half marathons, regularly run 5 and 10ks, I have done a duathlon and I cycle.

Keeping fit and active is a privilege, it helps me feel better and allows me to spend time with my daughter when we are out running or cycling together!”

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Active Suffolk I This Girl Can Female Humans of HIIT Mental Health School Sport University

Charlotte Ditchburn

 

“I was always active and outdoorsy as a child, part of the school orienteering team, competing to a regional level with the athletics team in high jump and enjoying horse riding whenever I could fit it in. I then went to University and events here led to me being diagnosed with PTSD and I suffered with depression and anxiety.

The outdoors and being active has really helped me to recover from this and get back onto my feet again. I used hill walking in the Lake District to find some head space away from the day to day craziness. I went from couch potato to walking everyday, not always summiting mountains but making sure to make time for a short walk everyday.

As I recovered and began a new job in Suffolk I rediscovered my love of riding my bike. I have recently bought a hybrid bike allowing me to enjoy road biking as well as venturing off onto the local bridleway and byway network to give me a change of scene. As my fitness levels have increased I noticed a real difference in my mental well being, I am much happier and feel more awake and productive each day.”

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Family Female Humans of HIIT Mental Health Sport

Holly Hammond

“3 years ago I hated all sports and exercise because I got really badly bullied so I had to do something about it . One day we had England women scrum half Leanne Riley come into our school with a local club to do a lunchtime session with us. I really enjoyed it so that evening I went home and told my mum and dad that I wanted to play rugby, so my mum signed me up for the 2 pre-season dates I could attend. I really enjoyed it and could be myself when I was playing. 

So I started the season we had 3 coaches ,one I really got on with Laurisa and one I really didn’t get on with but he didn’t like me either. Everyone knew when I was annoyed at him because I crossed my arm and stuck my foot out. At the end of the season I had to make a big decision, do I quit playing or find a new club. 

So I went and found a new club and I’m so happy I did. My teammates welcomed me and the coaches push you to be the best version of you. So after starting rugby the bullying didn’t stop but less people were bullying me. But the reason I carried on playing was because I made a promise to someone and I can’t break my promise. 

So overall 3 people inspired me to play rugby, Leanne, Laurisa and Chloe, and I thank all of them. Me and Laurisa became good family friends and she still gives me a confidence boost as well.”

#sport #exercise #bullies #rugby #englandrugby #scrumhalf #school #rugbyclub #confidence #coaching #family #friends

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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!

We’re looking for more stories! Link in bio to submit yours #humansofhiit 

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

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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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Family Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Injury Mental Health Pregnancy Weight Loss

Miranda McIntyre

“Depending on who you ask they would say my journey is complete or only beginning. I see it as a consistent journey.

I started my weight loss portion of my journey in 2010. I can not tell you my exact starting weight as I had become far too ashamed and afraid to know the truth, so I base my start at my last known doctor’s weigh in. 265lbs. I guarantee you I was well over that at the start of everything.

A little bit of background, I was a super skinny high energy kid, until I was about ten. Then my whole body composition and view of myself started to change. I hit puberty earlier than all my friends and started to gain weight very easily. I was 140lbs in fifth grade. From there I moved to a new town and school just before junior high. That added to me withdrawing and becoming far less active. Fast forward to high school graduation year, stress of school and the rest of my life facing me head on I gained more weight. Enough that my dress for grad didn’t fit well even with two layers of compressive garments to help sausage me into it. 184lbs at 18, it was extremely depressing for me. I was aware I was big, bigger than most of my friends. So I tried to hide my insecurity with being the helpful smiling friend. Pushing aside my own feelings, it wasn’t as if I wasn’t happy. I just didn’t deal with things when I should have. I suppressed a lot.

Pushing forward, I was married 29 days after my 21st birthday and got pregnant on my wedding night. Surprise! Definitely not something you plan to have happen. Though as unready as I was then, you honestly are never actually ready for kids. They come into your life and shake it all sorts of crazy in the best ways possible. Once my daughter arrived, my life didn’t change much in the way of my health. Two years later, I was pregnant with my son. His birth was traumatic on my body and my mental health. I developed postpartum depression, which manifested in me being only concerned with my kids. I didn’t want and need to have connections with friends or other family. Not even my husband. Needless to say my marriage dissolved and we divorced when my kids were 3 and 1. Though I began to make a few online friends, who were mums with kids the same age as mine. None of my friends were in that area of life yet; though they absolutely adored my kids.

The end of my marriage thrust me into living in a new city and back at home with my mum and dad for a couple years. It was within that time when I finally hit my “reason why” moment. I couldn’t make it up the stairs chasing my toddler without struggling to breathe. I decided since it was just me and my kids, I had to do everything in my power to be better for them. To make sure I was around as long as possible for them.

There I was at 27 years old trying to start my life over again and make the right choices for my health. I set myself as a priority for the first time in so many years. I struggled with that because I was so used to putting others ahead was always my way. Changing my diet, eating smaller portions, cutting out pop was the start. I then did the hard part. I would wait until my kids were asleep and go to the basement and work out to Jillian Michaels dvd’s and do minimum three Zumba songs on the Wii as cardio. This was my life for almost a year, every single night. I didn’t feel comfortable going to a gym. I had no idea what I was to even do at a gym. I started to research and after a while when I was not progressing much further with my home workouts, I found weight myself using my community sports complex gym. I was still sticking mostly to cardio because I had a delusional view of what my goal was. Skinny was the only goal that seemed to be in my mind; anything but fat. I had a new job which was very physically demanding now, my food intake was minimal. I had slipped into a very dangerous mindset.

I wanted to try running a Mud Hero Obstacle course. So in 2014 I did it! I was extremely proud of myself, I manage the run in under an hour and felt amazing for doing it. I was at my lowest weight 117lbs…..and I was still not happy nor was I actually healthy yet. I hit a wall in life again. I made some changes, was able to get my kids and myself into our own place. I had managed to move up in my company into an office position. I had a new drive to succeed. I also started a relationship with an amazing man. Life was improving. So needless to say going from a job that was physical and barely eating to a desk job and snacking of office snacks, my weight began to rise. I was becoming paranoid of the weight-gain, I was weighing myself 4 times a day. Knowing exactly if I limited myself to exact foods, I would gain an ounce. It was extremely damaging, thankfully I had my boyfriend who cared enough to push the hard conversation with me. To help me to see the truth in own worth and that I didn’t need to find value in the scale. That I didn’t need to fear, that I would get back to being over 265lbs. He helped me to see that I was strong, that because I was determined not to let myself get so overweight again I wouldn’t. He also pointed out that I needed to break away from the unhealthy need to be “skinny” that I needed to be healthy. Regardless that if for my body that means being closer to 135-140lbs.

I still have moments of struggle, but I wanted to find strength over being skinny. I needed to find what was MY healthy. I took that challenge of running the Mud Hero into running multiple Spartan Races, the community was so supportive and encouraging in finding your strengths and pushing your goals. I adjusted my training to include weight lifting and I could not have been happier! I even completed my Trifecta which is running a Sprint, Super and Beast in one season. The Spartan Beast was 24km+ up and down a mountain with obstacles, 33* blazing sun. I finished in 6 hours all alone. I got a finishers medal, a t-shirt and second degree sunburn! Beyond all that I proved to myself I can overcome anything. I hung up my racing glory for the past couple years since I was pretty darn banged up from multiple injuries, but my weightlifting has continued. I spoiled myself with new workout gear when I started my Spartan journey, that is how I found Gymshark and it changed my life. The clothes gave me a new found confidence in my body along with new connections in the fitness world. I have learnt so much from others whose journeys I have begun to follow. I took part in two Gymshark 66 challenges, I loved the engaging support and friends it has brought into my life. This isn’t just a company it is a family world wide. I even won third place in the 2019 campaign! I was dumbstruck! The fitness journey I am on is not a start and stop race. This is a lifestyle for me, ever evolving and being exactly what I need to live my truest healthiest life. I now love and appreciate my body, embrace my story, celebrate my shape even if it wasn’t the ideal of media. I share my journey to help anyone who was ever in the place I was, to know you can continue, you can change, you can adapt, it isn’t failing if you need to change your plans. It is only failing if you stop and you give up.

I am beyond grateful for my kids for being the reason that pushed me forward and continue to drive me. My boyfriend who loves me no matter what I am going through. To my friends who have joined me on this crazy lifestyle change and embraced their journey. I am proud and never want to stop this drive towards living my life instead of must numbingly let it pass foggy in front on me. I look forward to 5am gym sessions, hiking, family movie nights with lots of snacks, to balance in all parts of my life.”