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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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Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Running School Sport University Workouts Classes

Amol Regina

“I started participating in physical activities at a very age of 6 years. I was in the athletes team of my primary school and was a great performer, got many certificates for good performance and I remember each time I had a competition on sports day my opponents would beg me not to beat them which to me was crazy because winning was my aim. As I advanced to my higher levels of education I continued with athletics and then I also joined the school netball team as well and it was an amazing journey. It kept me fit and each time I had stress and participated in athletics I felt so much relief. As I advanced into the university, I somehow relaxed because I didn’t have enough time though I would just get time over the weekends and did some physical exercises. After university, a friend of mine introduced me to daily workouts and gyming and I have never regretted it. It’s so refreshing and keeps me fit all the time. Because a good life is a healthy life I also try to regulate what I eat. I hope to get back to athletics and netball soonest as I work on my fitness.”

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Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Running School Sport

Vusi Edeki

“I found my confidence in fitness! I wasn’t always the confident person you see today.

I had a secret love of physical activity growing up, but all schools focused on that time was team sports and athletics and never felt worthy of participating because I wasn’t slim enough and was shy.

But when I discovered circuit training, dance and boxing inspired workouts at 16, I realised I was stronger than I thought and decided that my only competition was myself! Being Active gave me a voice and a platform as a fitness trainer, as this once shy girl now continues to inspire hundreds of other people to be more physically active regardless of shape and to have fun whilst doing it.”

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Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Mental Health School

Tessa Deterding

“I always hated exercise as a child. I never made it on to any sports teams, and PE was my least favourite lesson at school by far. I came to associate exercise with humiliation and failure. I ran intermittently as a teenager, but always gave up after a few weeks.

It wasn’t until I went to university that I started going to the gym with a good friend. She showed me how exercise could be a great tool for managing mental health, which became particularly important in our final year, with the pressure and stress of exams and finding a job.

Since then, I’ve tried to exercise at least a couple of times a week, either running or going to gym classes, which I find particularly motivating. When the gyms all closed, Humans of HIIT was a wonderful alternative, and the community are so supportive and encouraging. It’s been fun to have the time and space to be able to work on my fitness goals, and begin to see real improvements as the weeks go by.

Now I can’t imagine not exercising for a week – I really feel the difference in my mood and energy levels when I haven’t moved for a few days. I’m very grateful to finally be in a place where I can look forward to a workout, and feel great afterwards, rather than dreading every second!”

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Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Injury School Sport University

Megan McEvoy

“My fitness journey began at four years old when I stepped on the ice for the first time. From that moment on, I fell in love with figure skating and I competed for 13 years. At the end of senior year of high school I was no longer able to jump on the ice due to ankle injuries, and I ended up moving to Florida to attend college. It was a huge change to not be able to figure skate anymore because it made up so much of my life and was my true passion.

At school, I worked out six days a week consistently but it still felt like something was missing. From searching for that missing piece I discovered a passion for the field of physical therapy and working with athletes. I have recently become a NASM-CPT and I plan to complete my undergraduate degree in Athletic Training and go on to Physical Therapy School. I can’t wait to share my knowledge and passion for fitness and movement with the world.”

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Female Humans of HIIT School Sport University

Gemma White

“I dreamt of playing football when I was young but I didn’t dream of being a footballer; women’s football in the early 00’s was barely a sport let alone a profession. But I still loved it… Growing up exercise always centered around football, if it wasn’t football, it was team sports – netball, basketball (never hockey). All that time my love of being part of a team was growing; working together, celebrating together and for me personally, developing my leadership skills. It’s pretty much all I did in my teenage years.

Fast forward to University and it was all about the football club, playing, drinking, organising (repeat). I think my degree was just a by-product… Football wasn’t just a hobby it was part of my identity. I’m now lucky enough to work in football so it’s not only my hobby or part of my identity it’s my job. Looking back on those early years at primary school, playing as backup goalkeeper because the boys wouldn’t quite let me on the pitch, makes me so proud I didn’t give up. Had I not fallen in love with playing football and playing sports just for the love of it, then my life could have turned out so differently.”

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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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Female Humans of HIIT Running School Sport Workouts Classes

Isabel Fernandez-Moreno

“I learnt to love working out in my 20s. Fitness and high intensity training can often feel like an elite club, reserved for skinny influencers or 200 pound body builders. And, in fact, there is an entire industry based on making women feel shitty so they feel like they need to exercise. As I’ve grown older I have reframed my mind-set to form a positive relationship with exercise that has allowed me to form habits that stick rather than using low self-confidence to force me into working out.  

When I was in my teens, I mostly viewed exercise as a way to lose weight and so it quickly became tied to my negative body image. I always felt like the athletic people at school were just built for exercise in a way that I would never be and for this reason, I shouldn’t try because I would never be as good as them. It felt like truly enjoying physical exercise just wasn’t on the cards for me. 

The first time I came out of the gym feeling excited to go back was when I started attending yoga classes. Feeling so in tune with my mind and body gave me this sense of peace and positivity that I began to crave daily. I would wake up excited to go to my 9am yoga class and by the afternoon I was already planning the next one because it just felt so good to be full of serotonin and energy. So, if you are in a rut with exercise, I would definitely recommend trying out a load of different activities and finding something that lights that spark inside you. 

The more comfortable I got practicing yoga frequently, the more adventurous and confident I grew to challenge myself. My love for yoga inspired me to reform my relationships with other types of exercise and things that I thought I hated. Last year, I started pushing myself to go running for the first time since the bleep test in high school, where I would literally scratch the CD before the teacher came into the sports hall just to avoid doing it. Instead of viewing it as a punishment, I gradually grew to hate it less and now I put on a banging playlist and run around my park feeling so proud of the progress I have made.

Obviously I’m still human and I still have my good days and bad days when it comes to self-confidence but I now consider working out as integral to my happiness and wellbeing. Instead of comparing myself and seeking out unattainable weights, I am building strength, physical fitness and power. I think exercising is empowering for women for many reasons but the idea of harnessing power is what resonates with me the most. Every day that I work on my fitness, I am challenging my mind to reach further, to not give up and to push past mental blocks that held me back from working towards my full potential. I think that the act of training your mind like any other muscle in your body is what allows you to grow resilient and what helps you thrive in life.”

 

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