Humans of HIIT Male Physical Impairment Running Sport Weight Loss Workouts Classes

Jon Wheatley

I’ve always been a pretty fit and healthy person; very active and not one to sit inside and watch Netflix on a day off. Technically I am what old fashioned scales (like BMIs) would call overweight, but I’m healthy and very comfortable. In 2018 I completed my first marathon (narrowly missing out on a sub 4-hour finish by 3 minutes, despite never training passed 13 miles).  I’ve always stayed fit through football, going for runs after work, longboarding, cycling, swimming, walking/hiking, basically anything other than the gym. 

Unfortunately, I’ve spent the last 6 months recovering from ACL and cartilage damage in my right knee, and about 80% of my exercise and physical activity is highly impacting on this.  It’s been a tough recovery; having gone from it taking me 5-10 seconds for my brain to process actions involving the joint to straightening my leg, walking, cycling and swimming.  I’m still in a position that I may need surgery, but that won’t be known until once a certain C word has passed!   

The downside of this injury is that now I definitely am overweight!  I weighed myself recently and wasn’t surprised to see that I have put on over a stone since this occurred!  It has however given me the motivation to correct this; furloughing me has had some benefits!  I am really enjoying exploring alternative exercises to what I have traditionally taken part in.  I have the time to test out workout routines and pilates/stretching and can still enjoy my long cycles.  I have been following my friend’s HIIT workouts that he leads on Zoom and enjoying exercising with others able to see and support me. I am learning what I can and can’t do and what I am feeling the benefit from.  I must be cautious of my knee and will adapt or replace exercises if required.  I’m beginning to feel healthier already and confident in my strength and knee at the moment, and very motivated and determined to use my time off from work to return to a healthier weight.


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

Female Humans of HIIT Sport Workouts Classes

Beverley Agyeman

“I’ve always really enjoyed being active – from rounders and benchball, to netball and hockey, to boxing and dance – but “active” doesn’t typically look like me. Being overweight, I often felt underrepresented – especially in a scene that is also not as diverse as it could be.

Many view social media as a negative tool, but I’ve always believed it comes down to the content you choose to follow and immerse yourself in. For me, it has been uplifting to come across more and more people who embrace their relationship with exercise – and actually look like me! I’m grateful for fitness communities, such as Humans of HIIT, that motivate and inspire us all to enjoy being active, no matter what level we’re at. 

I also once came across a tweet that said, “Exercise should be a celebration of what your body CAN do, not a punishment for what it can’t.” That changed my perspective forever. So much so, that I’ve even launched my own beginners’ dance classes and workshops (@vybe365 on Instagram), encouraging you to Dance Your Way, Every Day.”


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

Female Gym Training Humans of HIIT Sport Workouts Classes

Rebecca Hensman

I used to dream of being a footballer, the dream had started and I was playing… I was the fittest I had ever been… this all came to an end due to peer pressure. When I was younger you couldn’t be different and girls couldn’t do what boys did, girls were doing make up and the boys were fighting and playing sports, so I was convinced to ‘be a girl’ and wish I had decided to do things on my own terms as I never played football again.

My fitness was dropping when I got a job in the Kingfisher Leisure Centre… this was my way back but I hated cardio, I found it repetitive and I wanted to see results quicker so I worked a lot on weights – this was not improving my fitness but it was something I felt comfortable with and growing up I learnt I had to be strong… Whilst I enjoyed this I was not comfortable being in the gym, there was a lot of pressure to do things at other people’s pace and a lot of posers which I hated.. I have joined and cancelled 4 gym memberships as I just couldn’t be happy and think people were watching me or judging my technique.

The career came and I became busy and wrapped up in ‘My future’ I felt I was doing enough with regards to my fitness, I didn’t eat badly and was always on my feet – but social media became an influence on how myself and many other people look at themselves in the mirror and what is ‘The right body’ – Like everyone I tried YouTube videos, workout DVDs, but again it was repetitive and I could make excuses not to do it – then the Coronavirus of 2020 came and we were locked in our houses for 6 weeks – I could see I was putting on weight, this was noticeable in my face and my stomach, I was eating a lot due to boredom and I had to change my lifestyle  – I have always been and will always be a confident woman, but this woman, I could tell was disappearing… nothing was working for me, I live alone so didn’t have anyone to motivate me or to train with so I was at a dead end.

I had heard of zoom for conference meetings or catching up with friends but then found out my brother was doing workouts via this portal most days in the week – of course I had to try it … Myself and my mate Lauren decided to be a part of this ‘community’ my Brother had started – Not only did I find this so useful for me, I could go at my own pace, no judgement, no care, it was interactive, fun and feel like I am getting to know the people more and more every day in the group – this them encouraged me to give myself a weekly plan of what to eat and when I would workout.

I have never felt so good about my health and my fittest, I am not there yet but I know that my brother and the community he has created will get me there – During the lockdown being alone it was hard to keep busy and sane but my brother has enabled me to mentally and physically handle this so I will come out the other side looking differently at fitness – everyone has their own way of keeping fit and active and I have found mine.


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

Humans of HIIT Male Sport Workouts Classes

Jack Cross

“Being active is something naturally engrained in who I am. Even on the laziest of Sundays I will struggle to sit still. I’m not necessarily exercising, in fact I’ll actively avoid traditional exercise but I am probably finding some new way to get onto the sofa, jumping over it from behind or somersaulting onto it – generally just making my fiancé panic whenever she sees me leap across the room.

Growing up I always played a lot of sports, and have found being part of a team my safe space. Until the age of 19 I regularly played football and rugby and so they became my primary source of exercise and also my happy active place. At 19 I got into drama school which meant moving away from home and the teams I had been a part of for so long. I was now experiencing a very different form of exercise with long rehearsal hours and sometimes physically demanding acting roles – my training regime became a lot more about my solo flexibility and conditioning rather than kicking a ball around a field and having a laugh with mates whilst doing so. After a year of monotonous forced conditioning I travelled to Estonia for a 2 month placement where my training specialised in circus acrobatics, particularly group acrobatic work. I had finally found a form of exercise that allowed me to express my fearless physicality, the same I found diving into slide tackles or attempting to tackle the biggest lad on the rugby field, and I thrived doing so.

Fast forward to graduating and my pals who I trained so tirelessly with to create theatrical acrobatic routines have all moved to different parts of the country, taking me back to a place of having to train alone – and ultimately hating it. I was taking the first steps in career, signing an agent and getting professional work in theatre. We are constantly told in our industry to keep fit and forever be developing our skills, which meant, with my background in acrobatics I needed to stay physically fit – however this pressure came with huge constraints. I could no longer play football or rugby or anything that would present a risk of injury. No one wants to see Hamlet hobble across the stage on crutches!

This restriction in what I was ‘allowed’ to do physically really affected me mentally, to have to maintain something so crucial to your chances of getting work (with such a high possibility of rejection anyway) with no drive or love of doing it, made me question everything I’d worked to achieve because the combination of the industry and what I felt I was missing out on because of it was making me so sad.

I have been extremely fortunate to have performed many unique roles in my career, walking on stilts and performing aerial hoop and harness routines have allowed me to express the active nature engrained in me as well as doing what I love. The true crux of why I have enjoyed these jobs is because once again I was being physical as part of a team, working with likeminded actors just like when I played sports as a child and teenager with likeminded people.

As I am sure is the case with many people this lockdown has sapped me of any motivation to be physical, I am in a first floor flat with no garden, a cheesecake that needs eating and no team to exercise with.

This was until a very good friend of mine broke up the memes and general silliness of the group chat to suggest us joining him in his workouts. He put no pressure on ability or age or anything else for that matter just a safe space for anyone feeling too down or unmotivated to exercise alone. I logged in on the first session and only saw one familiar face, I set up my mat and took part in the 20 minute full body workout – as it ended the other (very sweaty) faces all came towards their screen and I felt a real sense of shared achievement, for those 20 minutes we all forgot about our employment issues, life struggles and general impeding fear of doom. We briefly chatted and went back to our lives until the next time where the unfamiliar faces from the last time had now become familiar, a community, a team to exercise with. We worked out again, some struggling, some thriving but all supporting each other with no pressure to lose weight or gain massive muscles but just to keep our bodies and minds fit and active. Finally out of this horrible pandemic I had re-found the drive to be active with a team. My team.”


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

Humans of HIIT Male Sport Workouts Classes

Alex Cole – Founder

I wanted to be a professional footballer. Shock. I had a great childhood that was filled to the brim with activity, a different sport every night of the week. I just didn’t know I was bang average at all of them, rather than the baller I dreamed of becoming.

My early teens were hard. I was bullied daily at school and family troubles saw friction between everyone, including my siblings, so we found it hard to be around each other.

Sport was my outlet. At 15, the realisation hit that I wasn’t going to be a Footballer and I felt lost. I attended an amazing after school club and by this age, I was too old to take part so I decided to volunteer with them. One of the leaders changed my life forever. Tony, who I’ve never been able to find to thank, said ‘‘we are here to engage the disengaged. Disengaged from life or school and we are here to give them a purpose, through sport’’. This blew my mind and I had found my calling. I wanted to engage those that needed it most in physical activity to give them a sense of community, fun and better health.

I started straight away by running my brother’s little league team as his manager quit and I told the kids, only two years younger than me, if they show commitment they are in my team – ability was not important. The buzz was insane! I studied hard, at points, and somehow graduated with a degree! For 6 years I’ve been working in HE delivering sport participation programmes and even though the job can get repetitive, I still get the buzz when introducing someone new into activity.

COVID-19 hit. Mine and my partner’s fitness regime stopped and we needed something new, motivation was wilting away. I posted a message out to friends about doing a workout on zoom. The response was great and the first 5 workouts saw 35 people – I’m not a PT, we are just working out together and it was awesome. #HumansofHIIT was born. My family, friends, colleagues and their friends, family and colleagues were getting involved. Real people, working out together. Now you’ll see amazing people sharing their stories to motivate others to be active. Life. Made.