As some of you know, I found my ‘thing’ earlier this year. It took me 37 years but I finally found it. By ‘thing’ I mean exercise and for me this was Training For Warriors.
Throughout my life, I have tried so many types of exercise. When I was at school I was captain of the athletics team and competed in sprinting, long jump and high jump. However, when I went to university I put a lot of weight on and struggled to find something to help me keep fit. One summer holiday a friend convinced me to join my local Rosemary Conley’s Diet and Fitness class and I really enjoyed the aerobics and coaching it offered. I managed to lose nearly 2 stone over the summer holiday, going from a size 18 to a size 14. I remember going back to uni feeling better and more confident.
Over around 8 years, I gradually put this weight back on as I struggled to find something I loved and would stick to. I cannot tell you how many gym memberships I have started and cancelled after not going for months. I have tried PT, which I did enjoy, but didn’t do anything in between my PT sessions. I have downloaded workout subscriptions such as BodyBoss and Insanity, but I just ended up watching them whilst sitting on the sofa. I took up running for a while when a friend convinced me that when I got better at it I would really enjoy it. My little sister loves to run and makes it look so easy so I really gave it a go. But after working through the Couch to 5k app for 4 weeks, I was not enjoying it and so I gave that up too.
In March this year I joined Training for Warriors when a good friend recommended it to me. I had seen the changes in her over the 8 weeks she had been a member, not just in terms of her body, but in her confidence, positivity and energy. Along with 23 other women, I embarked on their 8 week challenge, a signature program to get you used to the exercises and kick start your fitness journey.
I can’t tell you how nervous I was. Putting myself out there with all my insecurities with a big group of people was terrifying. I felt like my lack of fitness was completely exposed and that people would be judging me. Of course I found the complete opposite. I joined an amazing group of women each with a personal and touching story behind why they wanted to get fit.
The premise is simple. TFW follows a program set centrally with a mixture of strength and cardio. There are some mental aspects as well such a language change around working out, replacing words like ‘training’ with ‘practice’. Every practice begins with a motivational story, set along the theme for the month with themes ranging from kindness to teamwork to grit. There are amazing coaches who genuinely take an interest and care about you. They champion you and push you to be the best version of yourself.
But fitness is only part of what you gain from TFW. I have joined a community (although my friends will tell you I have joined a cult). TFW has completely reenergised me and given me a love of fitness. I can see why people think its like a cult. I have started talking differently, I love high fives, I look for ways to cheer others on in my everyday life and I get up at 6am on my days off to go and work out. My mum sometimes wonders if I have been swapped with an alien.
I have days when I cannot be bothered to get up off the sofa and work out, but then I just think about the other women at TFW who need me to motivate and cheer them on. And this works the other way; when I have had a terrible day at work and just want to go home and drown myself in chocolate, I go to practice instead because I know that my fellow warriors will do more to cheer me up than any bar of Dairy Milk.
And I have seen results so quickly. For the first time in my life I have visible muscles in my arms. I can run up the stairs at work without nearly collapsing. I completed Tough Mudder with my team an hour quicker than the previous 2 years. And it is not just strength and fitness. I have made new friends, which most of us know is hard to do as an adult. I am more confident and just feel better about myself and who I am. It even inspired me to write this blog, something I would never have dreamed of before joining Training For Warriors.
I think for me, it is the group mentality that TFW offers that keeps me going. I know that people want different things from their fitness and workouts and for me it is clearly having other people to motivate you. I want to be supported and to support others. I enjoy the responsibility and accountability that group fitness offers. I know that this would not be for everyone but we all have to find our ‘thing’.
What is your ‘thing’ for fitness? Have you even found it yet? If you haven’t I would encourage you to keep searching because the pay off when you do is so worth it.