My fitness journey is something that probably started before I even realised it had. My Auntie and Mum enrolled me in ballet and tap classes when I was 3 years old. I would go every week and slowly throughout my teenage years it built up to multiple times a week. I ended up going to a full time drama school after I left school and at the age of 18 moved to London. For my 18th birthday I was given an Apple watch, and this started a whole new obsession. For those of you that don’t know, an Apple watch measures your heart rate throughout the day and tells you how many calories you’ve burned, how many minutes of exercise you’ve done and how many hours you’ve been standing for, as well as a lot of other stuff like tell the time…
Drama school, joining the gym and starting Yoga
When I moved to London to start Drama school, we were training intensely in ballet, tap, jazz, street, commercial and loads of other physical stuff every day. They also encouraged us to join the gym so we could go in our breaks. Dancing is a unique kind of exercise that, although you do burn lots of calories, it’s only short bursts of exercise so the fitness you gain from it is totally unique. You could be able to dance on and off for a whole day but trying to run 10K would be a challenge. You would also have functional strength – jumps and leaps but not necessarily be able to lift weights. So the gym was supposed to help even out our fitness so we were all rounders.
I joined the gym but my workouts weren’t very structured. I would simply go and do whatever I felt like that day. After not really seeing any results, I spoke to one of the people at the gym and she suggested I try lifting heaving weights – starting off small and building up, obviously, not just going in for a 100kg dead lift! So I slowly started to lift weights, building up my strength and having a more structured workout regime, leg day, upper body day and all that.
Whilst all this was happening, I started going to yoga every week for my mind and a nice relaxation and wind down at the end of a jam packed day of classes. Little did I know it would become a huge part of my life.
I then swapped from The Gym Group to Virgin Active which was the best decision I could’ve made. Virgin Active offer the most amazing range of classes and during my time there I probably tried nearly all of them. I started boxing which I absolutely LOVED. It made training upper body really fun and challenging which was a great addition to my fitness routine as I found – and still find – lifting weights quite boring. So at this point I was dancing every day Monday-Friday, going to yoga, going to the gym or a class every day which could be boxing, spinning, Les Mills Body Pump, a HIIT workout or lifting weights. It sounds like a lot but my body quickly adjusted and I loved how varied my workouts were. Joining Virgin Active made me fall in love with fitness, it showed me that exercise can be a way of life and be enjoyable, not just something you force yourself to do to change your body.
Boutique gyms and L3 personal trainer
Living in London I wanted to try out some of the boutique gyms that had some amazing classes to offer. I went to Another_Space and did all three classes they have on offer, Yoga, Boxing HIIT and Spinning. This was where I had my first class with one of my favourite yoga teachers Steffy White. I also tried a few spin classes at Psycle, two Muay Thai class at Flykick, Barre at Frame and more. Most of these classes I tried using Class Pass, an app that gives you so many credits per month to spend at boutique gyms.
During this time I also completed my Level 3 Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer courses to further my knowledge of fitness and start my journey into working in the wellness industry.
Moving back home my life slowed down a lot. The countryside has a lot slower pace of life than London and I’d graduated so I was no longer dancing every day. I was determined not to let my active lifestyle change. I joined a gym and went 5-6 days a week. It unfortunately didn’t have the range of classes that Virgin Active had but I continued to do some weight training, cardio and HIIT to keep my body moving. I was also attending Yoga classes and having 1-2-1 boxing sessions.
Going into lockdown my fitness has taken another complete turn. I’m practicing Yoga nearly every day, doing classes with The House of Yoga on Zoom as they have offered all us teacher trainees free access during our training or my friend Ronny’s classes or my own self-practice, and also doing another workout most days too. At the start of lockdown I was doing Yoga in the morning then Barry’s Bootcamp at lunchtime and then going for a walk after my boyfriend Hen finished work. Then I stopped doing Barry’s and started doing my friend Annie’s classes and Courtney Black’s HIIT workout’s after my brother’s girlfriend Leah had raved about how hard and amazing they were. I started doing these nearly every day and stuck to it for a good few weeks, even months!
How I feel now and going forward
Recently, I’ve started to get fed up of doing HIIT every day, it’s so taxing on your body and I just started to feel a bit drained. After doing some research and listening to advice from Shona Vertue, a brilliant PT and Yoga Instructor, I’ve decided to only do HIIT training twice a week. The other days I will continue to do yoga, Annie’s weight classes on a Thursday, walks and some mobility and functional strength work. I want my workout routine to be varied and enjoyable and also maintainable for a long time. Doing HIIT every day is not sustainable but I could easily do yoga every day until I die! Don’t get me wrong, I will still be doing these intense sweaty workouts because who doesn’t love getting your heart pumping, blood flowing and dripping with sweat, I will just be doing them less often.
After lockdown ends and gym’s are open, I do think I’ll go back but not straight away. At the moment I’m happy doing home workouts that my friends are running, youtube videos and Courtney Black thrown in too. I’m keen to get back to boxing and back in the yoga studio though!
Finding what works for you
I guess the conclusion of all this is the importance of finding what works for you. You don’t have to do any kind of workout that you don’t enjoy. The fitness industry is so diverse and there are so many incredible instructors and ways of accessing workouts now that you don’t have to do anything you hate. You can go to the gym (when they open) and lift heavy weights or run on a treadmill, you can go to a spin class, a boxing class, a circuits class, you can play tennis or walk your dog, you can go for a hike, you can play beach volleyball, you can go to a yoga studio or do online yoga on zoom or youtube. You can do Instagram live workouts or run for miles outside, the options are endless. I’m so glad I’ve tried a massive variety of things because otherwise I wouldn’t be doing the things I do now. Everyone is unique and has totally different interests. My mum loves playing tennis and walking the dog for miles and miles. My brothers Joe and James love running, cycling and swimming and get excited for the next triathlon event. But Joe also does Muay Thai and James has recently started mountain biking! My boyfriend loves getting in the gym and gets a buzz from lifting heavy weights – but he’s also a great runner and has just entered a half Ironman!? Everyone is unique but that is amazing, and how lucky are we to have SO many options?