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Gym Training Humans of HIIT Male Mental Health Running Sport University Weight Loss

Niall Stillwell

For as long as I can remember I’ve always been involved in sports. Athletics on Mondays, swimming with my mum on Fridays, family bike rides on Sundays and of course playing football at every opportunity I had.

As most young boys do, I harboured ambitions of becoming an elite sportsman. A footballer or sprinter, I wasn’t really fussed. I was fortunate to make great memories in both, captaining my club and my school team to various trophies and running for my district team (not as the sprinter I once thought I could be but as an 800m runner). I will always have fond memories of these experiences with the teachers, coaches, teammates and successes making it what it was. Despite trialling with a few teams and representing my County team, things soon ground to a halt. After playing for my college first team and on the cusp of rejoining the County team, I suffered back to back broken ankles, first during pre season and the second when coming back too soon from the first. This proved to be the first time in my life that I lost my love of exercise. Though I loved the sport I played, breaking your ankle twice in a row and spending 5 or so months of the year on crutches coupled with the thrill of turning 18, girls, alcohol etc etc lead me to taking a 3ish so year break from sport. No football, no running, no gym, no anything.

These 3 years marked some of my first at uni, I continued to eat badly, continued partying and continued overlooking sport despite studying on a sports degree.. go figure. One day though, my friend asked if I wanted to come for a kick about and reluctantly I agreed. Overweight, out of breath and with a touch worse than Guendouzi, I finally realised what I had done to myself. I’d gone from being a confident, ultra fit, county level footballer to a mess and it was time to make a change.

There were a few things that motivated this change, the realisation of how big/unfit I’d gotten, the fact I was going on a holiday with a girl I crushed on (god forbid her see me topless) and the longing I had to get back into competitive sport. I decided that I was going to run the marathon, get into the gym full time and most importantly get back to playing football whilst also disengaging in some of the negative lifestyle choices that had made me this way in the first place. The beginning was tough but it made the results all the more worthwhile. At first, I couldn’t run down the road without stopping, I couldn’t do a single pull up, I couldn’t reach my toes and I certainly couldn’t take my clothes off and feel comfortable. But every week I started seeing progress, running faster and farther, lifting heavier and longer in the gym, weight falling off me and most importantly my footballing ability starting to come back. I hadn’t fully realised what I missed until I was back in it and I can’t help but regret my actions for those few years as I consider it a period where I really did lose myself for a while. Nevertheless, it was a learning curve and I remember finishing my first marathon and crying at the finish line as it marked a significant change in my life and one that I’ve adhered to ever since.

Since that first marathon, I’ve gone on to do another 2, I’ve ran a whole host of half’s, I play semi professional football, I became a PE teacher, I have qualifications in personal training and sports therapy whilst engaging in and promoting sport and physical activity at every opportunity. Where I’d grown stagnant and unmotivated in life getting back into sport helped put everything back into perspective for me. All of a sudden I started achieving things again and having that need to achieve helped motivate me both in my physical and career based pursuits. My outgoing, resilient and confident personality came back to me and despite a number of setbacks both in work (not getting certain jobs) and in sport (breaking my ankle again and my shoulder) I used this heightened hardened mindset to bounce back bigger and better than before.

I think the main thing I’ve tried to explain here is that when I was at my lowest in life, physically and mentally in poor health, sport and physical activity were non existent for me. Since they’ve been back I am happier, healthier and enjoying life way more than a few drinks, a night out and a kebab could ever possibly provide me.

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Female Humans of HIIT Weight Loss

Constance Enlow

“I started trying to lose weight at the end of 2018. I was 312lbs and didn’t even realize I had gotten that big. My blood pressure was out of control and even with me taking 3 medications at age 28 it could not be maintained to what is considered “normal”. I wanted to be there for my daughter and not develop more issues so I began small with just a walk and actually playing with her at the park. Then I slowly moved into actual workouts.

A quarter of the way into my journey I hit a stall and didn’t want to keep going and felt defeated. I then realized that not only did I have to take care of my physical health , but I also had to take care of my mental health. Once I began to address all aspects of life my weight loss became less difficult and I started to enjoy working out, I even began to lift. Today I am down over 100lbs and my bp is finally under control.”

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

Maryam Qureshi

“Growing up I was always at a pretty healthy weight, but I was never a very active person. I got married at the age of 19 and just a few months after I got pregnant with my first child. Back then there was no social media to help guide me along or motivate me to be healthy during my pregnancy. I gained a lot of weight and found myself struggling to lose it. Shortly after I got pregnant again and by the end of this pregnancy I was severely overweight.

Here I was….a newlywed and a young mother of two. I had gained so much weight in such a short amount of time. I became very depressed and felt trapped in a body that wasn’t me.  I had zero self confidence and lost my sense of worth. Fast forward a few more years and 2 more pregnancies. I was so happy to be a mom to these amazing kids but somewhere along the way I started to forget about myself. I didn’t give myself priority. I hated the person I saw in the mirror. By this time I was severely depressed and obese.

Until one day, 4 years ago, I said enough is enough! I joined a gym and started eating healthier. At first I absolutely hated the gym. I had no idea what I was doing. I would cry almost every single day and wanted to quit so many times. But I didn’t give up. Every single day I would dedicate some time to myself, I would give myself priority. Here we are today. I am still working towards my goals but I am so much healthier and happier. Exercise saved my life. Being active has completely changed my whole outlook and attitude. I have so much more self confidence now and I am proud of the person I have become! My message to anyone reading this is to never give up on yourself.”

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Family Humans of HIIT Male Weight Loss Workouts Classes

Liam Addison

“20 stone is when I started losing weight seriously. I always struggled to maintain a healthy weight even as a child. I was completely oblivious to how heavy I was. Takeaways and processed food was my food of choice and working as a travelling engineer, sandwiches and pasties were my go to food.

My relationship with exercise started up again seriously in November 2019. After taking just over 7 years off, because of a steady girlfriend who is now my wife and the children that followed. It was nerve racking at first but since the diet change in august, I had lost over 2 stone and wanted to keep the momentum following. I was exercising 5 days a week following a simple routine I had found on the Samsung health app. The workouts are just simple movements, nothing fancy, basic push/pull exercises followed by cardio on either the x trainer, rowing machine or bike. But ironically the bikes were never my favourite in the gym. My workouts were before work also usually at 6am and for about an hour and a half.

Since the lockdown though my exercise has changed. I am now training everyday, roughly for 30 mins in my home gym and ride on average 30km on my bike every other day. I wasn’t working out at all before November. I work as a travelling engineer so that was my excuse. Being on the road and sleeping in different hotels. Today I weigh 16 stone and in the best shape of my life. I started my Instagram page to keep me accountable and to remind myself of where I was. I still travel with work but a gym has to be available in the hotel or I won’t stay there. I guess you can say all in my priorities have shifted and for the better. I’m most definitely a healthier happier person because of exercise and losing the weight.”

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Female Humans of HIIT Running Weight Loss

Hannah Pavelkova

“Throughout my life I have constantly battled with my weight. I was a heavy teenager and never felt comfortable to take part in sports or physical activities. Getting older, I fluctuated due to dieting but my fitness was never a priority, only what I looked like and a number on the scale.

Just under two years ago me and my partner started planning a trip to South East Asia. We spoke about the treks and mountains we could climb, and beaches we could swim in. My heart sunk. I realised, not only was I not comfortable enough to be in a swimming suit, but I genuinely don’t think I would of made it up a small hill, let alone days trekking on hard terrain.  I wanted to see the world, but only if I could see it without my fitness limiting me. This was the start of a massive lifestyle change.

One day I attempted my first run. I managed all of 5 minutes and couldn’t go further. I felt defeated. But that defeated feeling spurred me to keep going. I started running once a week, then twice, then four times, until I was running almost everyday. I truly found a hobby that not only helped my fitness, but also allowed me to switch off from the outside world and focus positively on my body.

Shortly after I managed my first 5km I was hit off my bike and suffered torn ligaments in my knee…a major set back. But I knew I couldn’t let it stop how far I had come. After a 3 months recovery and physio, I was back on the road but had dropped managing only 2km and in very slow time. Instead of feeling defeated again I set myself a goal. A half marathon.

I started a strict diet and running plan, mixing in the gym as well. In September 2019, just six months later, I ran my first ever race, The Richmond Half Marathon in a time of 1hr 58mins, raising £700 for Macmillan Cancer Trust. I can honestly say I have never been so proud of myself.

At the moment I am currently in South East Asia, weighing approx 65kg (almost 30kg lost in total) and today completed a jungle trek of 10km, one of many I have done on the trip so far. Although I am so much happier in the way I look, I can genuinely say that I am most happy about being much healthier and knowing that I can achieve anything I set my mind to.“

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Family Humans of HIIT Injury Mental Health Physical Impairment Sport University Weight Loss

Michael Kiddell

“I’m a mature student that has thrown himself into university life. I am a student night manager, university sports exec vice chair and President of the American Football club. I have also just been voted in as Development Officer for the University of Portsmouth Students Union, plus I have a family and two amazing children.

Sport has been a journey for me, I played rugby and football from a young age, I played multiple levels of rugby but due to injury and finding out I had a rare ligament disease stopped me playing. This where I lost track, lost a lot of friends and went off the rails. There were a lot of dark days and I gained a lot of weight. Almost 3 years in plaster cast on both legs will do that to you.

I tried as much sport as I could to try and re-find the love and passion I had. Then I found American football. It’s a family that has opened their arms and have welcomed me in on so many levels. I still have some of those dark days but I have become very close to some of my teammates. I have told them things I would’ve never felt comfortable saying to anyone, even family. I know I can finally talk about some of the issues going on. I have people that will never know how much they have helped me and are helping me every single day.

I’m taking this year to focus on my Development role, get my aches and pains sorted and lose more weight.”

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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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Family Female Humans of HIIT Running Weight Loss Workouts Classes

Sophie Moore

Exercise, I always hated it. I wasn’t a fan of gyms or running and then I started to lose weight & now exercise is my go to. I’m training to run 5k as I used to jog before but didn’t have a clue what I was doing and I have really upped my game on exercise. It makes me feeel so good during and after the session & it’s really starting to help shape and tone my body.

I have 2 kids and I put on 4 stone after having them and I was so down so once I hit 13 stone I started exercising and I’ve never looked back. I wanted to be fit and physical for the kids sake and be able to join in the fun with them & take part in sports days.

I’m so close to my 4 stone loss and I’m running more than ever. I never in a million years thought I would love running or enjoy it. I was never that person but these last few weeks it’s actually something I look forward too. Being in lockdown I was scared of putting the weight back on but now I’ve found a new love for running it’s made me turn a corner and lose more weight (which I wanted to do anyway). I’m hoping I come out of lockdown a lot healthier and fitter and even abit more shaped and toned.”

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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.”

 

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