They say that mental health is just as important as physical health. In May this year, I was looking after neither and I didn’t know how to escape my cycle…
Often stressing out because of work-work and the pile up of things I needed to do for The Residents, feeling foggy and sore, I just did what I tend to do when it came to exercise – ignore it and keep on trucking. I often put this blog ahead of myself when it comes to getting things done and dusted. Yep, I know guys – I don’t have to but I do. And while you might not have a blog you can treat like your BAE, you likely have family, a busy job, other volunteering commitments – who knows what else.
I’d like to point out, this isn’t entirely my fault. I come from a non-sporty family where Mum, my brother and especially my Dad tend to treat our bodies as though they are just vessels to carry our brains around in (and our always chattering mouths). We consider exercise an occasional leisure activity growing up (the rarer the better as far as some are concerned), and never really excelled or stuck at sport. And while I am quite a mobile gal, who occasionally binges on yoga, I do work in an office which requires me to sit down from 8:30 – 5:30 every day. While I’d like you to think I am physically fit, if you were a reader on The Residents (I am assuming you are) in reality I rely on my metabolism, the seasons change and not gorging myself on fast food to keep my figure. But I also came to be weak, physically weak where I could feel my muscles literally withering inside me, and I hated it (although if you’d asked, I’d never admit as much). I was also worried about how I would survive a hot summer in Europe, lugging around packs and walking up thousands of steps to get to a tall tower over Paris. I was scared I might not be able to. It made me feel inadequate and like I’d given up on myself.
I’d like to pretend that it was I who decided things had to change my mindset to exercise, but actually I was approached by local Personal Training Business ‘Results Room’. I’d already been toying with the idea of a personal trainer, inspired by some of the vloggers I watch, but was too lazy to do anything about it. However, it was the persuasive Angie who gave me the nudge I needed.
Initially the idea was to set me some light fitness focused challenges around Europe for my trip – places to explore, to set a goal. It certainly sounded fun and exciting *to find out if I actually go through with these, you’ll have to follow me on Instagram while I am travelling!*
Before I knew it, I was signed up to a three month programme with PT Laura Jones. At this point I started to panic. Scratch that – it was when I was signing up, and talking to the owner of Results Room (shout out to Mo!). Angie handed me the form to declare whether I’d had injuries in the past that I began to panic. I looked down at it: I’d filled in this kind of form once or twice in my life before. I started to hear voices harassing me: “Surely you’ve been through this, Lucy” a little voice in my head said, screeching “You know you aren’t a fit girl. You suck at sport. You can’t catch, can’t throw, and you always injure yourself when you try. No one picked you for the spots team at school. You never will change. So why bother. Plus, you’ll get fat and bulky if you lift weights and what good will that do you? Don’t do it!!” But I couldn’t back out now. A louder voice, my own voice overpowered these doubts, stating that I wanted to focus on functional fitness, not physically changing my body. I wanted to be strong, capable and to change for me – no one else. As soon as I’d said I would, I knew I’d need to be accountable for showing up, and not giving up – and for not giving a f**k.
From my first session onwards with Laura, a seriously lovely and adorable human from Bristol, I knew what I really needed to overcome in my own exercise was the demons which still lived in my own head about what a crap person I was at anything physical. That voice was a huge hangover from my school days and from the last time I threw in the metaphorical towel with strength based activities, largely based on the idea that I shouldn’t lift weights or worry about having a healthy, strong body, because I was probably going to make myself larger and that would be a terrible thing.
Instead, I was ready to change the game on myself: I chose to start Results Room, three times a week, with one of the most body positive attitudes I’ve ever started exercising with. My goal wasn’t to lose weight. I didn’t want to do a before/after shot or do a transformation journey on Instagram. I really wanted to being functionally fit to help me do EVERYTHING I wanted to do on my holiday; lifting heaving bags, having stamina to run at the airport and be strong enough to look after myself (with Matt of course) while I was away. I couldn’t bare the idea that I might pass up a chance to do something, whether it be help on our Greek Sail boat or go on a hike, because I was unfit. The time has come to embrace the attitude of a grown-ass woman who wants to be living her best life – Instagram norms and sample sizing be damned.
Three days a week, rain or shine, Laura and I met to bust my ass and build my strength and muscle. Her personality has been like a brilliant sunbeam, pulling the rain out of what could be a miserable little cloud (aka my initial attitude to exercise). Not once have I dreaded coming to exercise in the morning (okay, maybe once on a particularly crap day). We’ve laughed when I showed up dreadfully hungover, I’ve shown her how to take video by timelapse using the different spots around the training room and best of all Laura reassured me that there IS someone perfect for you in the exercise world to help motivate you to get up every day and do something for youself. Laura has never shouted at me, never pushed me until I want to throw up (she can tell – it ain’t my thing) and even has been patient with variations in arrival times (ie I am not always punctual).
Personal Training has worked for me where other exercise platforms, places and spaces have not because I have loved getting to hang out with a person I genuinely liked three times a week. Knowing I had to show up for someone made me get there. People is my primary motivator and driver and it’s kept me going. I only have cancelled one session, and for that, I am incredibly proud. It also has amazing facilities and equipment, all of which I was able to use and you can see in the pictures in this piece. Results Room are also experts in helping their clients understand the benefits of eating real food to get their energy and fuel their lives. Greens, grains, protein at every meal and understanding the importance of hydrating often are just some of the cornerstone habits the team teach clients about. You wouldn’t run your car on cheap unrefined petrol, so why wouldn’t you give yourself the best you can to maximise your gains?
The hardest part about my Results Room experience was about a month ago when it was really miserable because of the weather and I felt quite burnt out. But we pushed through and now I’ve been consistently exercising for longer than I ever have before – 3x a week, every week. Take that!
It made me realise the negativity or at least self-consciousness I’d brought in the past to my motivation to work out or ‘slim down’. An old personal trainer from a rival gym who won’t be named once said ‘Girls only want to get fit in my experience for a holiday or if they’ve broken up with their ex’. This crap and misogynistic attitude pretty much sums up everything wrong with how I used to think about fitness. It was only worth it if I got thin, to look better for everyone else. This was the case when I was 21 and I was slimming obsessively by going to that gym and started to beat myself up when I plateaued (it was actually a control thing I had unconsciously manifested due to an emotionally abusive ex). Even when I was losing weight for a friend’s wedding last year, it wasn’t about maintaining myself for the long term – it was a performance for the rest of the world.
After 3 months I can tell you that the biggest changes are the ones you can’t see. Yes, my bum is more like the peach emoji. And yes, I am proud that my shoulders are broad, and strong, and will carry a 20kg pack like a bawse. The big change though is in my head: that I haven’t had a crying fit in 3 months (basically unheard of for me). Also, I haven’t had a meltdown, or been super snappy and aggravated. I’ve had more energy and been overall way happier. I suddenly noticed I drank on a Thursday night WAY too much. I haven’t dieted, because I wasn’t aiming to get thin.
Investing in your health through a personal trainer isn’t the cheapest option. Sure, you can get a 24 hour gym membership for a fraction of the cost. But if you end up paying $7 a week for the next 3 years and never go, you’ve lost more than the money. You lose your confidence in yourself because the own ability to actually take care of yourself because no one wants to run like a rat on a treadmill in a box. You need to be stimulated and be accountable to see long term, CONSISTENT RESULTS that actually produce change – inside and out. Results Room and their trainers are able to do help you create this. It’s about taking care of yourself with a longer term view, and knowing that to be well, we need to take care of our mind and body.
What have I learnt? Exercise is HARD but the pay-off is so worth it. I’ve beaten my demons and have a much more positive attitude to conventional exercise (apparently I’ve got good rowing technique!). And yes, they do couple sessions too. Which is great because Matt wants to join to get fit. Will I keep going when I return from Europe? 100% YES. Bring on Summer, whatever your body.
You can use the code "Results For The Residents" to get a free PT session just by emailing Results Room --> over here.
This post was sponsored by Results Room but as usual all opinions are my own. I received 3 months of free personal training as part of my compensation but I will be rejoining on my own because #healthyall.