Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Running University Weight Loss Workouts Classes

Manda Morley

“I was never into sport or exercise in my early teens. When I started college I noticed that I couldn’t remain a slim shape and was gaining a bit too much weight. I started to develop insecurities, and would stress about my body daily; this essentially started an unhealthy relationship with exercise and food.

I got into running, 2-3 miles a day on a treadmill was enough. I was seeing results and liked it. I began limiting my calorie intake to an unhealthy amount; I was losing weight rapidly but felt great. When I started Uni in 2012, I was at my lowest weight ever of 8.5stone; I continued running and limiting my calories to as little as 1k a day.

It wasn’t until the second year that I realised the damage I was doing to myself, and if I continued I would be in a very bad way; so, I joined St Paul’s Gym (now my employer of 4 years). Here I began getting into weight lifting, albeit I was a complete novice and didn’t tend to have a training plan for years. The past two years I’ve educated myself on all things weights, and strength and conditioning – here I have managed to develop a healthy relationship with exercise (AND FOOD!), and am almost happy with my physique.

The one thing I have learnt over the years is that depriving your body of food in order to lose weight does nothing but damage your mental health; without the food, I wouldn’t be able to train as effectively as I do now! I’m halfway through completing my Level 2 & 3 PT diploma and enjoy channelling my energy by helping others who need guidance and personal tips in reaching their goals.”


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Gym Training Humans of HIIT Male Physical Impairment Sport University

Digby Hayden

My relationship with sport had a rocky start to say the least; the day after I learned to run, I fell and broke my toe- somewhat foreshadowing later events. I started off with minis rugby at age 6, and also had been doing casual swimming lessons.

Unfortunately when I was younger; I was more interested in other things than sport, and quit rugby when I was 10, but kept on with the swimming, which I am very glad my parents forced me to do! As I matured both physically and mentally, my swimming grew with it; I started winning our club galas, and my times were getting fairly impressive for a 16 year old, which took me up to county level, and even some podiums. But injury struck me again. Whilst climbing over a fence to fetch a rugby ball, I tore my ACL, which took me a good year to recover from fully. I could still swim, but my times and stamina both took a nosedive in quality. And by the time I recovered, my A levels were just around the corner, so the 5 training sessions a week were no longer possible, so this is when I decided to rejoin my local rugby club.

This time, I truly fell in love with the game, especially the social aspect, which then translated into my university life. Joining the rugby club at university was incredible, I got to know so many people, exercised a lot, and got heavily involved not just by captaining a team for a year, but also further up in sport at university. Here, I was voted into the executive committee two years running, and this really grew my passion for sport, and how it’s more than just exercise, but a release of stress and also the ability to socialise.

Now, I continue to play rugby at home, alongside the odd swimming session. Unfortunately, I seem to have recently aggravated my old ACL injury but once again, the rehab is giving me something to aim for by the time we are released!


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Female Humans of HIIT Personal Trainers Physical Impairment Running School Sport University

Dani Clamp

“At secondary school P.E. was my favourite lesson, even by the age of 14 when 80% of the other girls were getting out of it every week claiming they had “period pains” I still loved it (this was also when I realised I got on a lot better with guys)! I started playing club netball at the age of 10 and continued until I went to University at 19.

Despite studying a completely non-related subject, I threw myself into everything sport related. In my second year I took on an organisational committee role in the netball club, in my third year I was Captain, then during my Masters I continued as captain and also got elected as the University sports Chairwoman.

When I finished my Masters degree I moved back in with my parents and that’s when I hit a low point. I have always been a very positive yet realistic individual, however being stuck in a house on my own applying for jobs all day (and getting rejected from most) got to me; both mentally and physically. I was boredom eating so much and couldn’t afford to join a gym being unemployed. I began noticing some fat gain and having not played netball for 6 months I was missing it; so decided to join a new club. I began playing for the team and it was the only thing I looked forward to each week. 4 weeks in, I fell on my ankle during a game and tore my anterior ankle ligament. Complete tear. This was in October 2019.

It is now April 2020 and I have only just managed a 5km run in less than 32 minutes. My mental health plummeted, which I didn’t really tell anybody about. I was feeling down every day, I was irritable constantly and snapping at my family for the tiniest things. Luckily, a good friend of mine is very knowledgeable in the world of strength and conditioning and rehab and began helping me on my road to recovery.  The more my ankle recovered and the more active I got, the happier I became. The happier I became, the more my life seemed like it was falling into place, with both work and relationships.”


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Humans of HIIT Male Running Sport University

Phil Samuel

Exercising has always been a part of my life because as soon as I could walk I was kicking a football. However, once I stopped playing football at 18 I felt like I had a void whereby I didn’t have a sport to play but wanted to stay fit. Fitness has its own interpretation to everyone. From ages 18 until now I have an internal conflict that means my goals change almost every 6 months and I guess it falls in to two categories: cardio or strength. 

During the winter I normally persue cardiovascular fitness. I’m quite lucky in that aspect that I can improve my fitness relatively quickly but it does mean my goals get more ambitious each year. During my time at university I got involved with athletics club meaning I would run relatively regularly which enabled me to achieve a few personal goals. My proudest are running my first marathon at 18 and at the age of 21, I did a double marathon (an 85km race) that took me 11 hours to complete. Being cardiovascularly fit is great and when you finish the race you’ve trained for months for it seems all worth it. I’d love to say it was all easy and I enjoyed all of the process to crossing the finish line however that’s far from the case. There’s a few things that I really didn’t enjoy about running at least 5 times a week. Firstly, the majority of the training was through the winter and trying to find motivation to go for a run when it’s 2 degrees and hammering down outside is not easy. Were there days when I really didn’t want to run? Yes, lots of them and I’d love to sit here and say “and I went anyway” but that’s just not true. Missing runs was a regular thing (probably once a week) and I’d always feel guilty after. However once you’ve missed a run, there’s no point dwelling on it so you might as well just focus on the next training run. 

Another thing I don’t enjoy about running a lot is what it does to my body weight. I lose a lot of weight when I’m in race condition and although it’s not unhealthy, it’s not a physique I enjoy. During the winter it’s fine because everyone’s wrapped up in coats and it doesn’t matter. But when you get to summer and you’re around people who have been in the gym all winter, you look very skinny and it’s not a feeling I particularly enjoy. This then leads me to want to get back in to the gym and start weight training. 

I normally start weight training in April time when my body weight is at its lowest (around 70kg) and I’ll try and bulk over the next 4-5 months before September comes and I’m back to uni athletics. I find that as long as I incorporate going to the gym in to my daily routine I tend to go most days. The first couple of months are always the easiest with numbers flying up and some mass becoming more noticeable. However after 3 months of the same routine and exercises it can be hard to maintain focus and commitment but on the most part it’s okay. The thing I find hardest isn’t lifting the weight, it’s consuming enough calories to continue to enable growth. If I’m bulking I’ll probably eat around 4500-5000 calories a day and that enables me to gain weight at a steady rate. Eating that much food sounds amazing until you realise how much rice that is. Kilos of the stuff a week. Obviously I could eat more fatty foods but I’d rather keep a healthy diet. 

Over the next 5 months I aim to put on around 8-10kg which is pretty realistic. I do have days where I can’t be bothered to go after work and I just accept that that’s part of it. So September rolls around, I’m feeling strong but I wouldn’t have done much cardio, maybe a couple of runs a week, and I’d be too heavy to compete in atheltics so I cut down my gym sessions and I run more. 

On the whole I enjoy staying fit and I feel lost without physical activity. It boosts my mood and makes me feel like I’ve achieved something with my day. There are days when I really can’t be bothered to do anything and that’s okay, there’s no point beating yourself up over it. Staying happy is more important than an extra workout.”


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