Categories
Female Humans of HIIT School Weight Loss Workouts Classes

Bethany Rose

“Since as a young girl I guess I had always been quite active and when I got into middle school I joined up to the cross country group and loved it! I joined army cadets at 13 and the discipline really helped me to be better and more efficient in deciding what I wanted to do with my life in the future, I left at 16 and then exercise went down hill and gained a little weight when college started.

Exercise means life to me and really saved me from my own depression, I had found Bodypump from LesMills at my local gym and it completely changed my perspective on ending everything right there and then and kept me going. After feeling the drive and motivation from the group exercise class it just grew and grew and grew and now I’m a qualified Bodypump instructor myself and run my own HIIT bootcamps 2-3 times a week and learning to become a holistic nutrition advisor. Before all this I had just left London, I was a smoker, never drank, found comfort in food everyday and started becoming even more aware of the fact that I had anxiety all my life. I wasn’t happy and just felt so sorry for myself and enough was enough. Exercise is my way of channeling my insecurities of being different from the rest, to feel strong, to stay focused and committed but to also live my life, to feel and be better than myself, to see the bigger picture and to know that if I feel sad, worried or even having an attack that exercise is my number 1 pillar.

When SAS who dares wins came around I was totally hooked and my passion for exercise got even bigger and soon enough I got myself onto Ant Middletons mind over muscle day camps and got to meet him myself. I still wear the wrist band we all got given from that day and wear it everyday to remind myself that I can do anything I put my mind to and to seal the deal even more… I got it tattooed. HIIT training and Bodypump is the love of my life and I can’t see myself quitting any day soon.”

Categories
Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Mental Health Personal Trainers Workouts Classes

Elaine Smith

I am old now. I have struggled with mental health all my life due to an unhappy childhood. I was anorexic at 15 and experienced suicidal thoughts from 13. I had issues with my body image. 

Exercise wasn’t big when I was young and my adoptive parents weren’t interested. I was bullied at school so only took up sports in my twenties, netball, hockey and yoga. I enjoyed the buzz of exercise and the camaraderie of team sport. I found I was good at sport. I brought my children up to be sporty and my husband was mad about cricket and football. I taught full time, hiding my mental health problems and found any exercise gave me a release from negative thoughts and made me feel positive and able to carry on. I first joined a gym and did exercise classes about 25 years ago. I have tried everything from kick boxing, running and aerobics and they all helped with me having a positive mindset and feeling better about myself. I am now used to HIIT, gym workouts, walking, jogging and now have Personal Trainers as well. The Townsend Twins train me. 

I was finally diagnosed with all my mental illnesses in May 2019 but have had breakdowns since 2001. I have been on medication since 1996. 

I started to increase my exercise regime after my diagnosis. Once I could start cutting back on medication I was able to exercise more. I find getting my heart pumping from HIIT classes gives my mood a huge lift and makes life bearable. I do Metafit and am proud I can do burpees. I also have a mini trampoline. During lockdown exercise has been my lifeline. Without exercise I wouldn’t still be here. Exercise is a huge part of my life and I work out several times a day everyday. I started posting on Instagram in the summer showing how exercise helps me manage my mental health. I am not great at some things but none of my photos are doctored and I post honestly. I now have over 800 followers.

Categories
Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Personal Trainers Running Weight Loss Workouts Classes

Tamara Olaniyan

 

“I had a relationship with fitness but it was sporadic. I took fitness seriously in spurts: when I needed to enlist in the military. Before that, I ran track in high school but not seriously. When I was discharged, my health took a nose-dive. I did not feel good about myself and when things didn’t go well, I turned to food. Food was my very best friend. I joined a gym because I didn’t like how I look and how tight my clothes fit. The bigger I bought my clothes, the more I was buying bigger clothes since I outgrew my clothes within months. At my heaviest, I was 210 pounds. 

Getting stuck with a year of personal training was the “best”, overlooked mistake I could have made. Two awesome women personal trainers assisted me on my journey. I learned the same way I made time to engage in other activities, I would have to learn to schedule and prioritize fitness. When I started putting my exercise workouts on my calendar, I became more accountable and made less excuses for working out. Even now with gyms closed, I use the weights in my house, download a fitness app on the phone, and get my workout in. Either way, 6 days a week for at least 45 minutes, I am going to engage in some type of HITT, strength training, or cardio. I give myself one day of active recovery and rest. For fun, I like to run races. I see it all as a great way to help with my depression and anxiety and to allow myself “me time” when I will not allow myself to be disturbed. I allow myself to be selfish during my workout times. 

What has really inspired me is seeing other women who have embraced weight training, like my former personal trainers. I always thought if women lifted heavy weights, they would look like “She-Hulk”. I learned later it’s not the case. My hat is always off when I see other women doing their thing in fitness, especially women of color. It’s a great feeling and maybe it will open the door for others to put health and fitness in the top 5.”

Categories
Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Mental Health Personal Trainers Workouts Classes

Anisha Gangotra

“By day I work within the NHS and by night I’m an Inclusive Dance and Zumba Instructor.

Growing up, I was super active. I loved playing sports. Hockey was my main sport and I started off by pulling around an old sawn-off hockey stick of my dad’s from when I could just about walk. I love to dance too and I’ve tried hip hop and Bollywood dancing over the years.

My life changed in 2008 at 24 years old – I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC), a chronic auto-immune condition where my immune system attacks my bowels. Symptoms include blood loss, diarrhoea, bowel urgency, pain and fatigue. My most debilitating symptom is fatigue, which has affected how I can stay active.

Then in 2011, I was the victim of a traumatic, high-speed car accident. Overnight, my ability to exercise was taken away. I struggled to get out of bed by myself and I literally had to take everything one step at a time. I suffered with physical injuries as well as PTSD, depression and anxiety, which took years to recover from.

These personal challenges led me to becoming an Inclusive Dance and Zumba instructor. I wanted to provide a safe space for all, including those with disabilities, long-term conditions and mental health issues to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of dance. It’s also provided a space to have an open dialogue about the issues we’re facing and share our personal challenges. That in itself, has been truly powerful.

Being active from a young age taught me many skills which I‘ve used throughout my life and stood me in good stead to face these challenges. I’ve had to adapt and think outside of the box to find what works for me.”

Categories
Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Mental Health Physical Impairment Running Sport University Workouts Classes

Holly Clyne

“I’ve not always had my disability, in fact, growing up I was extremely sporty. I did karate lessons, signed up for every event at sports day, ran charity runs and eventually even got into my county Badminton team! That was an amazing achievement for me as despite my love of sport, I never really had much aptitude for it – especially running – but hey, it’s the taking part that counts right?

As I got older I tried all sorts of exercise classes, gym workouts and developed a love for mountaineering. Indoor climbing is by far what I miss the most these days. I was diagnosed with a mild case of M.E. in my third year of university, and to be honest, I kind of ignored it. Boy did I live to regret that. You can’t beat M.E. you see, thanks to the main symptom of Post Exertional Malaise (PEM) – which basically means the more I exert myself, the more ill I am. So as I continued to work hard and exercise hard, ignoring the signals my body was sending me, and using painkillers and drugs to mask my body’s cries to stop, I just became increasingly ill.

I unfortunately now have a moderate case of M.E. which heavily restricts what I can do. Even small activities can trigger PEM. I have a perching stool in the kitchen for washing up, but I still have to spend a few hours resting afterwards as my entire upper-body will feel like I’ve been lifting weights. I recently purchased a coverless duvet because changing bed sheets left me feeling worse than that time I did a half marathon years ago. I even cut most of my hair off because of the exertion of washing and styling it. Theoretically I could still go climb a wall, but I would ‘crash’ afterwards, becoming extremely ill and bedridden for days or weeks. So traditional exercise is kind of off the table…

With M.E. you can only really talk about activity rather than exercise, because things like washing up may now be a major workout for you. However, M.E. varies a LOT in severity, so you’ll sometimes see individuals with the mildest cases still doing low impact workouts, but the most severe of us are permanently confined to bed. It’s kind of like putting pins & needles and paralysis on the same scale.

I still struggle with doing any kind of activity for activities sake, most of my limited energy is used up on day-to-day living activities. But I’m trying to get into the habit of doing something, even if it’s once or twice a week, sometimes not even that. I like to do 5 minute ‘yoga’, though it’s basically 90% child’s pose. Essentially I get a yoga mat out and do some stretches. I think this helps, as I spend so much time sat still, inactive, that I think my body just starts cramping up, but I can’t really say for sure. I do know that mentally it makes a difference, it makes me feel like I haven’t given up, like there’s still something I can do, it reminds me that I’m not being lazy, that I want to do more, it’s just not good for me.

If anyone else with M.E. reads this, I can’t give you much advice because of how varied our symptoms are. Just make sure to listen to your body. Don’t push it. I know society teaches us that we should push harder, that we shouldn’t take a day off unless we’re really ill, the whole ‘no pain no gain’ but sometimes that backfires. Sometimes your body just can’t take it and if you don’t listen you’ll only make things worse. Had I stopped and listened, maybe I would still be able to work part-time at least, do some of those low impact workouts, be able to make it up a single flight of stairs without stopping to rest.

So that’s my story. Listen to your body, work with it, not against it, do what you as an individual can, and forget what others can do. For most people, exercise is worthwhile and good for your health, but that doesn’t mean you have to go all out. Just getting a walk into your day is good enough for some. We’re all made differently.”

Categories
Female Humans of HIIT Mental Health Workouts Classes

Faye Freeing

“I’ve struggled with my mental health since my early teen years. I lacked a lot of confidence and self belief growing up. I tried pole dance for the first time when I was sixteen, despite being told I wasn’t allowed to by a negative influence in my life. I removed them from my life and tried it, instantly falling in love.

Due to health and location issues, I couldn’t pole dance much after that until I was 20. I was in need of a huge confidence boost after a series of unfortunate events and to do something that was simply for me. Instantly it revoked a passion within myself, became my way of coping and building myself back up enough to care enough to want to keep living.

I later went on to train to become a pole dance instructor and have been teaching the sport to a range of individuals of all walks of life.

Categories
Active Suffolk I This Girl Can Family Female Humans of HIIT Running Workouts Classes

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 – https://www.activesuffolk.org/this-girl-can

Categories
Active Suffolk I This Girl Can Humans of HIIT Mental Health University Workouts Classes

Sarah Ann Gray

 

“After graduating, I worked 6 days a week overseas and literally never found the time to exercise; any spare time I did have I was just exhausted & physically needed to rest. My diet was poor and to be honest, I lost my interest in boring exercise classes.

I once worked in a town where I didn’t know anyone, gained a few extra curves and hated the gym. Having heard about Zumba I finally decided to give it a whirl. As soon as the music began I loved it, a total party atmosphere and my hips started to move in ways I never knew they could! It didn’t matter to anyone, even the instructor, if I got the moves right or wrong; so long as I kept moving.

I began to make the time to fit at least two classes a week in, which really benefited not only my physical health, but also my mental health. I had become quite lonely in this new town. It made me feel good inside and out; building my body confidence. Whilst making new friends I toned up those curves & even learnt to love my chunky wobbly thighs (I OWN them!). I enjoyed shaking my jiggly bits and embraced the skin I’m in!

I worked beyond my fitness goals. Absolutely loving it, I decided to teach it myself. (It was just supposed to be a hobby!) This Girl Can Campaign encouraged me to help motivate others, girls and women just like me, into fitness. It’s important to find something that, quite simply, you enjoy doing. I now teach Zumba, Zumba Gold (modified low impact), Seated Zumba Gold, Aqua Zumba and Zumba Kids.

I also take the party to those who can’t get to it, with modified seated classes; having furthered my fitness education beyond qualifying as Level 2 Exercise to Music Fitness Instructor. I also specialise in working with older adults having trained in chair based exercise for older and frailer adults. I work with lots of students affected by dementia; music & movement are power tools.

I work with cancer patients too. It’s a real joy to bring smiles through inclusive dance fitness!

Zumba really is for everybody and every BODY! Different ages, shapes, sizes, abilities and goals; including fitness, weight loss, making new friends, socialising, even therapy for some! It’s a total judgement free zone, real people, real bodies, having a real good time losing ourselves in the music! Dancing, sweating, wiggling and giggling! Dance at your own pace, just keep MOVING & have Fun!

Since Covid-19 and lockdown, I have had to adapt my classes to teach online and now I’ve just begun classes outdoors; including my own toning class, Bumba Blast & women’s only Booty Camp!

My lifestyle is still quite hectic, but I’m healthy, positive and despite the normal highs and lows, I’m loving life!”

Categories
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.

Categories
Humans of HIIT Injury Male Sport Workouts Classes

Ross Simpson

“I started training for my sport when I was 14 years old and I’ve enjoyed it ever since. Due to my sport being high risk, I’ve had different injuries and through my course at university I’ve learnt how to overcome them and different ways to prevent them.

I love exercising and mixing up my workouts from doing strength training, cardio or HIIT sessions. I enjoy seeing results and looking for ways to progress every week. Since starting my university course two years ago, I’ve learnt different exercises and workouts that has allowed my training to expand, and my passion for exercise and keeping healthy has grown. Exercise is the one thing I always look forward to each day, as it always makes me feel good after every session and my enjoyment always allows me to keep motivated.”