I never used to spend much time at all thinking about my health and fitness. I worked hard and I played hard in my 20s – burning the candle at both ends, working round the clock, spending weekends hungover and then doing it all over again.
I occasionally guilt-tripped myself into going to the gym but I hated every second of it. I didn’t know what I was doing and I would spend every second comparing myself to everyone else, never feeling good enough to even be in there! So then I wouldn’t go again for ages…until the guilt-trip started again.
That was the cycle I was stuck in for years.
Until the niggle started. An uneasy feeling that I couldn’t shake off despite my best efforts to push it back down.
I was beginning to realise that feeling lethargic, disconnected and on edge wasn’t actually how I was supposed to be feeling at 30 years old! I was burnt out, stressed and unhealthy, but I had no idea why or how I had got myself there and I’d been running on autopilot for so long just assuming it was normal.
And so (with lots of stopping and starting) I began to explore different ways to feel better. To inject more energy into my life. And to pull myself out of the rut I’d found myself in.
To my complete surprise, fitness was the game changer for me…
I found myself signing up to a HIIT class (more out of sheer desperation than anything else) and something finally clicked. I can still remember the feeling when I left that class now. I was bright red, huffing and puffing, feeling as if my legs were about to buckle beneath me, but I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face as I stumbled home. I felt exhausted but bursting with energy at the same time. I felt more alive than ever and, for the first time, I began to see exercise in a different light…
….I was hooked
Exercise gradually became a solid part of my routine and I began to use it as a bit of an escape. Because for the hour I was there with the loud music on sweating it out in the gym, it was impossible to worry, stress or even think about anything else! It gave my mind a break. And then for the rest of the day after a workout, nothing seemed as bad. I could see things more clearly.
And it had a knock-on effect because the more I exercised, the more I wanted to explore other aspects of my health and wellbeing too – what I was eating and drinking, how I was sleeping, my mindset – and I started to notice the things that made me tick (and what didn’t!).
As I got physically fitter and stronger, I began to feel mentally fitter and stronger too. I became better at handling stress and felt more in control knowing that I had this new tool I could use whenever I needed a breather.
It became my reset button.
And in addition to this, I was finally beginning to feel connected to myself again after years of running on autopilot and not taking any notice of how I was really feeling.
I didn’t realise it at the time but looking back I can now see the massive impact fitness has had on my resilience and confidence over the last few years, as well as my energy levels and physical health.
EXERCISE CAN EITHER BE YOUR BEST FRIEND OR YOUR WORST ENEMY
It all depends on your mindset. Your approach. Your perspective.
But the good news is, you actually have a lot more control over this than you might think! You just have to figure out how to get out of your own way.
Because here’s the thing: if you approach exercise like a chore, it will always feel like one.
If you constantly beat yourself up for not being good enough in the gym, you can’t expect to suddenly wake up feeling amazing. But when you begin to listen intuitively to your body and learn how to work with it and not against it, you will get so much more from your workouts.
Your mind and body will respond in a much healthier way and you’ll soon begin to see and feel the results.
I want to prove that exercise doesn’t have to be a chore that we dread. If used in the right way and with the right approach, it can make us feel more alive and more empowered than ever.