Family Female Humans of HIIT Injury Mental Health Personal Trainers Pregnancy Sport University

Sue Tetley

“My relationship with sport and exercise has been rather mixed throughout my life. I was never particularly sporty as a child. I enjoyed sprinting and doing the long jump. I went to school in the 80’s to mid 90’s and still remember very clearly waiting to be picked for teams. I was generally picked somewhere in the middle or towards the end. Never a good thing for a child’s self-esteem. 

As a teenager, I really got into racket sports, badminton initially then squash.  I had a few friends  who were at a similar level and would enjoy playing weekly. At the age of 18 I went to Loughborough University to study psychology. I was aware this was a very sporty university, but that wasn’t really a consideration when I went there. The level of even the inter-mural hall sports was very high.  It did put me off trying much sport there. I chose to do karate as it was something I could start with as a beginner and work up the grades. I enjoyed this and did it for a few years. Twenty odd years on, I wish I had made more of the available facilities. 

Following university, I started to dabble in running and did my first race for life. Prior to that, I don’t think I’d ever run 5K before. A few years later, I did my first half marathon in Nottingham where I was living at the time. This was a huge achievement for me. It was great that lots of my friends did the event as well. Throughout my 20’s and 30’s I was always rather inconsistent with exercise, training for an event and then not doing much afterwards. I was definitely a ‘Yo Yo’ exerciser.

In my mid 30’s exercise took on a different and more cathartic role and really helped me with my mental well-being as well as physical well-being whilst going through multiple rounds of IVF.  After each failed attempt, I would enter a running event or cycling event. After I had decided to stop treatment and choose to adopt instead, I threw myself into a more consistent pattern of exercise.

Around 4 years ago a friend of mine spent about 6 months trying to persuade me to join the local triathlon club.  Initially I thought I wasn’t good enough at any of the disciplines, however, soon realised that this didn’t matter at all.  I was getting injured just running. I started PT sessions and soon realised I needed to do loads more strength and conditioning to prevent injury. Joining TRISudbury was a real turning point for me.  I had never been part of a club before and had always exercised on my own. I really started to enjoy training with groups and have made some great friends.

I have now done many triathlons and taken on new challenges each year.  I also discovered my love of swimming in open water and last summer did a 2 mile swim in the Serpentine. I really love challenging myself. I’m never going to be the fastest, however, I am mentally tough and won’t give up on my goals. My next challenge will be a half ironman distance triathlon. In addition to this, I also became the Welfare Officer for the club for 2 years. I am now one of the club’s Mental Health Champions. At the AGM earlier this year, I was delighted this year to be given the female Grindstone award and became a This Girl Can Ambassador for Suffolk as well.

I am nearly 43 and I totally believe that if you work hard and never give up on your goals you can achieve anything. It’s so important to me to be a good role model for my little girl. I am fitter now than I ever have been and would say to anyone to never let anyone tell you that you cannot achieve something!”


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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.”


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Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT School Sport University Workouts Classes

Jordan Lockyer

My appreciation for fitness probably started later than most. l was a chubby kid growing up so I didn’t really get into sport until starting senior school. That’s where I found out rugby was my calling as size was an actual advantage! I loved playing the sport and joined our local town team as well as playing for my school through my years there. I enjoyed the team camaraderie, especially on tours across Europe.

As I got older, Uni life and weekend work took over and I actually became really skinny through doing a few fitness programs like ‘Insanity’ (and probably not eating much as a broke student). Even though I was keeping my fitness in check, it felt more like a chore and I wasn’t enjoying it. I’ve maintained gym memberships over the years, however I never really had the right approach in terms of setting long term goals or following specific programs. It also didn’t help working in an office where I was served fried chicken multiple times a week! Fitness wasn’t a priority and I lacked drive which had a knock on effect on my mental health too.

Fast forward to more recently and across the past year things have really changed for me, especially since working for a group of fitness clubs. I made my fitness a priority and it became a core personal focus of mine. Being surrounded by fitness professionals and having access to their expertise & training has given me a greater understanding of what is required to improve myself. I became happy with myself and I am looking / feeling in the best shape of my life.

Now here we are in these crazy lockdown times… I wanted to keep up my fitness and resigned myself to following random online workouts. Fortunately Alex stepped in with his awesome initiative. Although I’ve missed going to the gym, I’m loving the routine and community Alex has built with his zoom workouts. I think through my experiences I’ve come to realise that fitness is a constant, it’s not a destination. As long as I can enjoy what I’m doing and keep focused on improving then I will be motivated to carry on!


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Family Female Humans of HIIT Personal Trainers Sport University Workouts Classes

Hannah Robinson

“As a child I only really did sport to stop putting on weight, I was a tennis and swimming coach but more because kids are meant to get involved in these hobbies, not because I enjoyed it. Fitness wasn’t really my thing despite growing up in a family that walked marathons, ran half’s,  captained cricket teams and trained to become a PT.

Skip to uni and I was more interested in clubbing and cheesy chips then keeping fit and I put on an extra layer of chub. Post uni/working life I got a PT, joined a gym and due to some things that changed my life I turned to running a lot more. With an events job changing my routine daily, it is hard to keep it up when deliveries of food and wine are plentiful. Pre lockdown I was due to go to the Philippines, I was very much on the London Barry’s/1Rebel hype, running on treadmills in the pitch black until I was nearly sick.

Then came lockdown, a cancelled holiday & mums stockpiling of Easter eggs, all the effort I had put into classes was gone. I started running but got bored of my routes and when my pal mentioned these classes I thought why not. I’m isolating at my family home and asked my mum if she was up for joining. 17 workouts later and we are both tuning in where we can. We both feel fitter then ever, I just hope I can keep it up when I start working and commuting again, it keeps me motivated and it’s great to see others.”


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Humans of HIIT Male Running Sport

Rogan Sage

“I’ve always been fit. I grew up playing every sport you can think of, my family went to a sports hotel when my brother and I were kids and we were sent off with friends to outdoor activity holidays when we were old enough to go alone.

Sports have been the basis for a lot of my social activities for all of my life. I was never ‘actually’ good (good enough to do professional sports), but that was never my goal. These days at 28 I play squash once a week (and football whenever I can fit in a game), and run once or twice to counteract the good food and drinks.

This year, I started out by overplaying squash and damaged my shoulder which meant that my squash partner and I stopped playing for about 6 weeks. Just as I got back to my first game, lockdown struck and we’ve not been able to play ever since. I’ve substituted this with running more but nothing beats the social side of sports! I can’t wait to get back.”


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Female Humans of HIIT Sport University Workouts Classes

Emily Taper

“I’ve always been a sporty and active person, at school I used to do everything from dancing and swimming to netball and hockey, but I’ve always struggled with keeping my motivation levels up. At uni I played netball, but throughout I could feel my fitness levels dwindling – moving from WD to GK so there was less running about.

Then after uni I went to the gym here and there, but wasn’t really too focused on my fitness for a few years. Last year I picked up running again and did a 10k. But then since moving to London I’ve been up and down with my fitness efforts, joining the gym and then cancelling my membership a few months later, and running very intermittently. But then lockdown came and I was beginning to feel quite lazy.

As soon as I saw my friend ask if anybody fancied joining him for a workout on our lunch breaks I thought yay this could be my chance to get motivated again. Since then I’ve been joining regularly and have definitely noticed my passion for fitness come back, and this has inspired me to get back into running and reach my PB distance. Thanks to everyone in the community for helping me bring the motivation and passion back, and for putting a smile on mine and everyone else’s faces during these very weird times.”


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Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Sport University

Emily Roche

For me, I’m not as active now as I used to be, but playing sport has given me so much more than health & fitness, and has shaped both my life and my personality in a really positive way.

Most of my weekends have been filled up by lacrosse, ever since I can remember.  When I started at Sheffield Uni it was pretty obvious that I’d join the club, and already knew a few of the girls playing there.  For one thing, it kept me in shape, as I don’t bother going near a gym without lacrosse to motivate me, but something that people don’t always talk about is the confidence that you can gain through playing and coaching sport.

I was a very shy person when I first went to University, and the thought of having to speak in front of more than 10 people or so would have left me feeling pretty anxious.  After my 1st year, I ended up as co-captain of the beginners team, probably mostly because nobody wanted to do it at the time, and on my first session over 100 players turned up – I was sh**ting myself.  That year was a turning point for me, and I started learning a lot about myself and gaining confidence without realising it was happening.

I went from coaching beginner sessions, to club captain & helping to coach the 1st team, to running in my Students’ Union election because I loved University sport, and then into my first ‘proper job’ as Sports Officer.  From barely being able to mumble in front of 100 strangers, four years later I was hosting the University’s Sports Awards dinner for over 600 people, and lifting our Sheffield Varsity trophy in an Ice Hockey arena that seated around 8,000.  For me, there isn’t another avenue that could have brought me to be able to do that, and although the actual sport was my motivation, it was the communities, friendships, safety net and endless number of supportive people in my life that got me there.

Sport Sheffield was a home to me for 4 years, and gave me my best memories of Uni.  I love thinking about how many people this is true for, and Humans of HIIT is another perfect example of physical activity bringing people together at an important and tough time.


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Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Running Sport Workouts Classes

Anna Richardson

“I’ve always been someone who’s more interested in running around and being outdoors than working or watching TV. I barely scraped through school because I was more interested in playing rugby than doing my homework, but at uni I found a better balance. I used to do a HIIT class every lunchtime to break up my day when I was working full time. I could genuinely tell the difference on the days I had to skip a session because of meetings or timetable clashes. I’d feel more lethargic, less motivated and more agitated sat at my desk for the afternoon.

I left Portsmouth last year to go travelling and found it hard to make up a new workout routine by myself. I ended up doing sunset yoga sessions on top of the cliffs in Indonesia (I was terrible), squats in 90% humidity on bamboo platforms in Thailand (sweaty), hill sprints up and down mountains in Korea (horrendous), days of cycling in Taiwan (not so bad) and cross country skiing in Canada (I face planted a lot).

Due to Covid I came back from my trip and found myself staying in Dorset until I can wait for this to blow over. I’m not working and I’m terrible at sitting still for more than half an hour. Netflix marathons are my worst nightmare and sitting through a whole film is sometimes a struggle. Despite this, I was still struggling to find the motivation to keep moving. Luckily I’ve borrowed a road bike and joined in on a few zoom sessions to give me some structure and break up my day. If I can’t self-motivate then I know that I can rely on a 20/30 minute zoom session to get me moving. I always feel infinitely better after I’ve done some exercise and it’s so feel-good to be able to join in on the odd session with other people when I fancy seeing some new faces!”


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Humans of HIIT Male Physical Impairment Sport

Brian Hensman

“As a kid I was very sporty, mainly football, gymnastics and cricket. I never made the school footy team as our weekly football was a coach ride away and the smell of diesel made me sick, hence never at my best. However in an after school club, where we played 5 aside,my team ( I was the goal keeper), won the North London Comp. medals were presented by the lady Mayoress. Our 4 outfield players were all playing for the London School Boys team, they played at Highbury & Whitehart Lane, I was very jealous.

My only thing of note at Cricket, was in the nets one day( at Middlesex county cricket school), when Eric Russell( once an England opener) bowled to me, asking me to play a forward drive on the on side. I hooked him through the covers, he protested that I had played the wrong shot, I said “ if you had bowled it correctly I would have played the shot you requested of me, to which he called me a cheeky ginger headed little “B”.

We didn’t do loads of gymnastics, but always performed a display for parents at the end of year. One routine in particular stands out, a forward dive over a full box with forward roll as you hit the mat. I always had to go last ,as I had so much natural spring they had to remove the springboard otherwise I might have shot the landing mat. This natural spring was put to good use in the school house games at the end of my last year. I won the high jump,100 m hurdles and our 4×100 m relay team won, a great performance all round.

Now at Work. I played a little tennis, but football was my love. At 16 I started playing in a MANs team, eventually playing goalkeeper in the first team, where we won either the cup or league every season. In a cup semi we got hammered, but won 2-1. The news report in the Islington gazette must have mentioned my performance 15 or more times, what a game, just great!

The team used to let me play in the forward line in friendly games, in one I scored 5 goals, they never let me out again. I eventually left to become an out player.

Getting older now, married with 2 children, living in Hertfordshire, played W/E footy for local teams, now an outfield player. I also played for the PO Towers Saturday team, a good standard. By that time I was what you would now call a no. 10. Very fit, all over the pitch and scoring goals. I managed to get into the works Area team. Being paid to travel round playing footy, great! Unfortunately I had only one game. In 1967, I had a scooter and on the way home from work got taken out by a head on collision with a car. Not my fault, but resulted in 11 weeks in hospital with a fractured leg requiring traction. It was 6 months before I could go back to work, with my leg now just over 1” shorter. Luckily, my local physio dept. was run by a gent who also ran a W/E football team. He invited a number of his patients back to the physio weekly in the evening to play football in the hall, followed by a dip in the hydrotherapy pool.

Eventually, at about 35 I had to give up football. I had a back injury caused by me taking the long throws. I tried many cures to resolve the problem, the hospital for physical medicine at Goodge St. osteopaths etc Crystal Palace’s football club doctor, ugh ! he was an animal !! Eventually I went to a spiritualist church that did “ hands on healing “ . 1 visit- never had the problem since.

Married with kids, not much sport after football, it’s a bit of a void in my memory. I did start playing table tennis, inter club matches and really enjoyed it. Bognor didn’t seem to have any T/T clubs, so it’s only on cruises that I play now, I can still hold my own!

In my mid 40s I started to playing badminton, enjoyed it a lot. Found a club when we moved to Bognor, but again had to give it a miss as my knee kept collapsing, many years later had to have keyhole surgery, not a total success but an improvement.

I’ve omitted to mention golf, whilst still at New Malden and having just met Paula in 1996, she brought me some golf lessons for Christmas in 1997. Afterwards I went to the 2 tier driving range, met a group of retired people and started playing regularly at Richmond Park. When we moved south I joined Chichester golf course it seemed really good value compared to Bognor & Littlehampton golf courses, low joining fee,2 x 18 hole courses, a 9 hole par 3 and a driving range. I’m still there, once or twice a week, now only spring to autumn and only if the weathers good! Got my handicap down to 11, which on Chichester’s Cathedral course, I was well pleased with. 

Getting older now, 75 in July, still playing but off of 16.In the winter, it’s now snooker and indoors bowls, I’ve always enjoyed a social game of summer green bowls, so decided when I dropped winter golf I joined the local indoors bowls club playing both roll ups and league games.

I should add that although my life seems to be totally sport oriented, lm a keen gardener, do all my own decorating and up til recently walked our 3 dogs. Oh, and do everything that my lovely wife requires of me!


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Female Humans of HIIT Physical Impairment Running Sport

Nadine Doutre

“From a young age, Tennis was my thing! From the age of 4, I would play tennis a few times a week for fun, then gradually as I became older, I was training up to 4-5 hours a day, 6 days a week. I would train on and off court and compete too. My mindset from a young age was to improve technique, to be fitter, to be faster, keep improving as you could always be better! Physical exercise then was only to improve my tennis.

At the age of 19 I stopped playing tennis full time and went into education, I went to college, then onto University and then into full time work. Priorities changed for me and physical activity was not my top priority, but I would still try to exercise as much as I could. I found that I was now exercising for a different reason, to keep my weight down, to feel better, to look better. I still enjoyed playing tennis, I would run, go to the gym and attend fitness classes. In 2018, when I turned 30 I decided to run the Brighton Marathon to prove to myself that I could still physically challenge myself, which was a real achievement for me alongside raising money for MIND.

In Nov 2018 I was diagnosed with Pleurisy, which has been off and on affecting me up until the lockdown. This is inflammation of the Pleura (lining of the lung) which can cause a lot of pain when breathing when inflamed. As a result, the majority of the time I was unable to do any exercise that put any pressure on my lungs.

I have only just been able to start exercising regularly again within the last 3 weeks. Exercising from home at the moment is great for me as I can work at my own pace and do what I can. My chest is feeling good at the moment and I have even started going out for some short runs again too. 

It has been tough starting back, I have to be patient and know my limits of what I can do, but i’m loving it! Being able to exercise is not something I will ever take for granted!”


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