Humans of HIIT Male Mental Health Running

David Clarke

“As a boy growing up I was always fit, running around riding bikes and roller blading which I still do.

As I grew up the busyness of life started to creep in. Work more work, marriage and children. I then started a business.

Back in December 2018 I had my first breakdown. It was too much. I was stretched too thin. February 2019 I took up running.

I now try to run 3 days a week. I say try as sometimes I can’t do it. I blame my medication, or I blame my depression.

The hardest part is getting out of bed, putting on clothes and getting started.

My best runs are the ones that I find takes the most effort to start. They end up being the most rewarding.”

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Nelly Kasei

“I wasn’t really sporty. I spent most of my primary school in choir. I loved it because there was less effort.

However; I became adventurous when I joined high school. Started off with field hockey which ultimately introduced me to running

Running wasn’t my favorite but I loved field hockey and it was the only way to stay fit. Slowly by slowly; I started falling in love with it and it became my way to go for fitness.

I have been running 10 years plus. Not consistently but a few times a year. This year with everything that is happening; I have taken it a notch higher and it has been my stress reliever. So far I am loving it; I already know that I am running more than last year and I hope to continue like that. For me; it’s more of a mindset than it is of a physical effort. 

Anybody can run; it only starts with one step at a time.”

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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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Nichola Whymark


“Growing up I was extremely fit and active. I loved the way it made me feel and loved the competitive element too. I represented the school in running and badminton. Which I loved. Running and dancing were my staple ‘go to’ activities of choice. Every week I would take part in training or events. Winning trophies and keeping me occupied.

My parents are avid sports people, which meant that my three brothers and I followed suit. I was fit and active, training for the Brighton Marathon and weekly Zumba and Pilates classes right up to the day I was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer.

At the age of 36 my life was turned upside down. It was horrific. It was so hard going from an athletic person to little exercise whilst I had to concentrate on getting better. I walked as much as I could through chemo and when I could start running again, I did. And I was so proud. I started doing other activities and events too. Exercise, sport and activity played a massive part in my recovery and became a therapy and crucial aspect in my life. I linked it with a lot of fundraising too,  competing in many different events for various charities.

I have now created Survive Be Alive. A project I hope will inspire anyone going through trauma and illness and encouraging people to live the life they aspire to live and be themselves. That all exercise and activity is awesome and to be celebrated. To focus on what you can do and not what you can’t.

Find out how to become a This Girl Can Ambassador here –

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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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Claire Smith


“I hated sport at school. It was a mixture of being forced to do it & undiagnosed arthritis, asthma & Crohns Disease. After having my first child I slowly started to become more active & found it had a physical benefit to my medical conditions. I was reaping the rewards of physical activity & began to enjoy it.

16 years on, I’ve taken part in many obstacle races & raised money for charity. I’ve gained qualifications & used them to help others improve their health too. I’ve had 10 surgeries & waiting for more. I am also a full time carer for my daughter, so I understand it’s not always easy or possible. Sometimes walking round the kitchen multiple times whilst I wait for the kettle to boil has to do. It’s a great stress reliever too.”

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Angela Soames


I’ve never been sporty and don’t consider myself to be – I laugh when my friends call me that!

But after trying out lots of different sports in adulthood, I finally found that I like running.

It has given me the confidence to do things without worrying about what other people think and also not to compare myself to anyone else, but just to go out and do what I enjoy.

I’ve found that I enjoy challenging myself, even if it is just a small one it keeps me going when sometimes you just want to be lazy.

I’ve recently started wild swimming and enjoying the joy of being in the water, in nature, no pressure just going with the flow – i’m also liking how my body and mind feels afterwards.

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.

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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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