This is where most people expect me to write how I was incredibly sporty as a child and that inspired me to continue.
In fact it’s quite the opposite.
Having always been “the academic one” out of my sister and I, I resided to never being good at sports so I took that as meaning therefore I should steer clear at all costs.
My story initially began with me not being the sporty one at school. I was always walking cross country (if I couldn’t get out of it), never picked for sports teams and shied away from the sports field.
After my knees started to play up thanks to growing at a ridiculous rate, I managed to use it as an excuse to wriggle out of the team sports and start swimming instead. I remember it made me feel great as I saw a marked improvement by sticking to the one sport, and over time I got the confidence to take myself for a run and to the school gym, leaving me feeling great about myself.
At the time, I assumed the more exercise I did, the better it was for me, and this went on for years. It became a slightly unhealthy obsession but when everyone complimented me on my discipline (as it was before going to the gym was something everyone thought they should do), how much weight I’d lost and how hard I trained, it was a huge confidence boost.
Looking back, this makes me a little sad as I sought validation in others, and their opinion of my physical appearance, however that’s how it is when you’re in your late teens into your 20s. Growing up with Heat magazine, and the rest, plastering bikini body workouts and diets on their covers you think that this is where your worth lies.
I’m not going to lie, it took a good while to understand and reach the balance. I qualified as a PT over 3 years ago thanks to being overly anxious at work in the advertising industry. I had been doing this for over 6 years, however there was a point where I went home to Norfolk and saw my sister doing a job she loved. All I could talk about on the drive back was how I wanted to have a job I felt passionate about and felt fulfilled by.
Looking to find my passion, I realised that part of my working day I looked forward to the most was exercising before or after work. The mental release, the me time that made me feel confident and happy in myself, that helped me escape from whatever else was going on.
After realising this I decided to qualify as a PT, and while I did this, I hired a PT to understand how it felt to be a client. My PT and the course educated me on how to lift as before I didn’t really have a structure to my sessions, I just did rounds of the gym, trying out the machines and every class on offer.
3 years in, I realised that what drives me isn’t the exercise part, as being a PT your priority is your clients, and that’s my daily motivator. Being empathetic I’m one to develop emotional relationships with each and everyone, helping them find their confidence, feel happy in themselves.
Also, I now fully understand the balance, that every body is different and it’s not a case how how you look, but how you feel. Exercise should complement your lifestyle, rather than consume it.
More often than not, we turn to exercise to create a look of confidence, but it’s more a case of creating a feeling of confidence from the inside, by reframing that negative goal to work against, into a positive goal to work towards.
Up until the beginning of last year, there were still times when I turn to exercise as a fix as it was a hard habit to break, especially with the pressure I placed on myself in the lead up to my wedding. Then there was my sod it moment a month or so before my wedding where I’d gotten fed up of trying to be this person I thought I should be, and then I realised, hang on a minute, the reason why I can never be that person is because I’m me and not that person.
Since then, I now workout to feel good as part of my healthy lifestyle. No overtraining or panic if I can’t exercise one day as I’m in it for the long run, exercising for life (not just for Christmas).