Hi Kimberley, tell us a bit more about your fitness journey and what motivated you to get active...
It was just after I had COVID, I was walking around and I could not breathe. I was like, this is not good, but I knew it was an effect of COVID. In general, I just needed to be healthier. That was the thing that pushed me through the door.
Why did you chose better?
For me, it was the location and the ease of getting there. I like the times and variety of the classes. When I decided to come to the gym, I needed to be in a class and have someone telling me what to do, or I wouldn’t turn up.
Can you describe your experience on your first day at a fitness class?
I was really nervous, I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t know what the class was going to be like or the set up. So I hid in the back, where no one could see me. As I’ve gotten to know Pauline and a few other people in the class, I’m more than happy to be in the front now. It’s always fun - it feels like I’m meeting up with a bunch of friends rather than coming to work out. It’s not a chore, it’s enjoyable.
What are some misconceptions about people who exercise?
The main misconception is that you have to look a certain way to go to the gym, or you will look a certain way after going to the gym. For me, I'm definitely fitter than I was before - my appearance may not have changed that much but I can feel the difference.
Can you walk us through your typical fitness routine and how it has evolved over time?
I like to try and get in for at least three to four classes a week. I've slowly built that up over time. I do more gym sessions as well now, which is something that I didn't do in the beginning because I had no idea what I was doing in the gym. It's been through classes and learning certain exercises that have given me the confidence to step into the gym and do those exercises by myself.
What was your experience like when you started going to the gym?
Going to the gym is still quite daunting. I still look around and think everyone knows what they're doing and then there's me who's trying things out. But that's probably the best way to start - go in and try things out. Don't worry about who's watching or who's not watching and just do it.
How does exercise make you feel?
Exercise makes me feel like I've accomplished something other than just sitting at my desk and working all day. I always feel happier when I leave the leisure centre.
Have you noticed any changes in your physical, mental and social wellbeing since you started your fitness journey?
I’ve definitely noticed a change, especially in my physical health and mental health. For example, I’m more willing to walk up escalators in a station or take the stairs rather than a lift. The idea of it was daunting but now I’m fitter, I can do this.
Also at work, people have noticed a shift in me. I’m less grumpy to start with, especially in the mornings - I’m more cheerful in general and less reserved.
Socially, I’ve made a few friends in different classes here. It’s nice when I do see them and have a little catch up. I like to bring my friends to classes as well to show them what I’ve been doing when they can’t get through to me on a Monday night.
It's just impacting everything in a good way.
How do you stay consistent?
Having a routine definitely helps and knowing that I've got a certain class on a certain day, that's my routine and just sticking to it. After a while of doing it consistently, it becomes second nature.
How do you balance your fitness routine with other priorities in your life (work, family etc.)?
When I started my fitness journey, I made it a priority. I made sure that people were aware this is what I'm doing and this is something that's really important to me. So people understood and weren't trying to invite me out on days that they knew that I was going to be working out. Now, it's just habit.
Have you ever tried any alternative forms of exercise (swim, activities, sports, fitness classes etc.)?
Swimming is something that I picked up quite recently. I did some lessons as a child, but then after that, I stopped. However, when I saw that there were lessons for adults here, I was really excited. I decided to start those and I was doing that on a Saturday morning. After doing lessons consistently and building up my own confidence, I incorporated it into my weekday routine.