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What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Everyone needs a place to escape from the stresses of life. Whatever it is, it has to be a place where you feel safe, comfortable and confident. Many people go to the gym/play sports in search of endorphins. However, there are many other options to choose from - you may not be particularly comfortable in those environments right now but I’m confident there is something for everyone.


The idea of stepping into the gym can be quite daunting. Thoughts of making a fool of yourself or everyone being better than you are all in your head. All those “fit” people had that first day feeling just like you. It takes time to become comfortable in this environment but there are things you can do to make it more enjoyable. I believe there are two easy routes into making the gym a habit - going to classes or hiring a personal trainer.


With classes you get a sense of community, other people battling through it with you - this will very quickly ease any nerves you may have. You quickly realise that you don’t need to be an expert or even know what any of the exercises are called. Listen to the instructions, ask questions and give everything you have. You will make friends, get fit and not have a single worry on your mind apart from the next set of those shitty burpees.


Having a good personal trainer can be life-changing. As a PT I not only try to help my clients physically but mentally and emotionally too. My main aim as a PT is to help people overcome their fears and realise their potential. I want all my clients to be able to train by themselves eventually and feel confident doing so. I have had clients who are so anxious about training during peak times that they do everything to avoid booking sessions at those times. Every once in a while I don’t give them a choice but to train at 7 pm on a Tuesday. They may hate the idea of it initially but soon realise that no one gives a fuck what you’re doing. During a PT session, you should feel at ease that the only person watching you and examining what you do is your PT. His/her opinion and views are the only things that matter as they will have your best interests at heart.


Whatever activity you decide to do you have to enjoy it. You should never stop trying new things, aiming to improve your understanding of things that interest you. The learning doesn’t stop once you graduate and learning new skills certainly isn't just for children. We may be “grown-ups” but that shouldn’t stop us from continuing to grow up.


I could never have imagined spending this much time reading or writing. I’ve surprised myself with how much time I have dedicated to this. The feeling of accomplishment I get when I finish writing a blog is similar to the feeling I get after a workout (except for the lack of sweat and sore muscles). This goes for everyone trying something new. You see how these new activities/projects make you feel and it becomes addictive. There will be days where you just don’t want to do these activities but you won’t forget how they made you feel the last time you did them, this will motivate you time and time again. Too often we look for holidays to wind down and destress but we should all be able to wind down and destress wherever we are.


You should never feel forced. It has to be something you actually enjoy and look forward to doing. Going to the gym isn’t for everyone but exercise is. Contrary to “bro-science” and “cardio bunnies”, exercise is much more than Bench Pressing and 5K runs. I really can’t express how much setting new physical goals can take away the mental stresses of life. Knowing you have a PT session booked in after work gives you accountability. It makes you feel organised amongst the chaos of life.


I always hope my clients, after a long day at work, enjoy coming to the gym for a session. I can always tell whether they actually want to be there or not but hopefully by the end if they leave with smiles on their faces and a sense of achievement. Adopting this responsibility is something that I’ve always thrived on. Clients confide in me with their personal lives. They need a safe place to voice their thoughts and vent about life and I feel like I can help.

Try to make time for the things that bring you happiness. Focus on improving yourself, enjoy the process of learning and practice. I'm not saying this will fix you but improving your mental health through physical activity or even just sitting in a Pret blogging (me right now) can be the escape you didn't know you needed.

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