As someone who ventured into fitness through illness, I know all too well the struggles that most people face when making the initial 'leap of faith' to explore something new and push yourself out of your comfort zone. But, I always say ‘don’t limit your challenge, challenge your limits’ and that's something that's pushed me to achieve everything I have to date.
My journey started back when I developed Crohns disease at the age of 16, at a time when most girls my age were out enjoying their weekends with friends and studying hard for their exams, I found myself tired and fighting each day to simply make it through. At my worst I couldn't attend school for more than a few hours or digest a meal fully, which led me to having an operation at the age of 19 to remove part of my intestine. It was a risk, and one that I never knew would pay off, but that thankfully did.
They say you never know what you've got until it's gone.
Waking up from surgery realising that I couldn't just spring back into action and be full of life again was the hardest thing to accept. Daily, I would battle with the fact that I had no energy, I felt lethargic and I wanted nothing more than to just feel 'normal' for once. After a visit to my specialist, I was advised that gentle exercise could go a long way to aid a speedy recovery and as someone who couldn't run 3 minutes without nearly collapsing (because I was that unfit!) this wasn't something that came naturally to me. So, I did what I had to do, I got on the treadmill and found a passion for running, a slow start to begin with and as you can imagine, I hated every second. But, I knew I needed to do this, so I did. Slowly I made progress, I began to see changes in my body I never thought possible and what's more... I had energy! I had drive and I was happy for the first time in a very long time. This is where my fitness streak began and to this day I've never looked back.
Going from the couch to a 5k, to then a triathlon, 2 half marathons and a spinning instructor, each and every day I surprise myself with how much you can push out of your comfort zone to achieve things you never thought were possible. I can't say that being active can help recovery for every illness, but it certainly worked for me and now I have a whole new lease of life and hope that my story can inspire others in a similar situation.
Here are my top ways to revive and unwind from high intensity to serenity in London:
The ultimate way to ignite your endorphins and feel that fitness rush
- of course! My first love and where I look to first for my cardio week in week out. I instruct at BOOM Cycle 5 times a week and this is truly what has changed my body the most over the past 2 years. Forget the myths about chunky thighs or that group classes are just for girls- they're for guys too! If you're looking for a way to unwind, forget your daily stresses and dance to your hearts content to wicked beats, the BOOM Cycle is the spot!
- a workout like no other, expect to feel like you hate it but love it all at the same time. An hour will see you go from racing up hill to rowing weights with a burpee thrown in for good measure! They say you get that Barry's buzz when you've worked out and I can confirm you do! By far one of the hardest workouts you'll ever endure, but oh so worth it!
- if you enjoy taking your stresses out on a punchbag then Kobox is for you. A class that combines boxing with HIIT floor work using weights, it's a sure way to get your fists pumping and your heart racing!
Never forget the importance of unwinding and allowing your body a little 'me' time! Once a week I like to take a yoga class to stretch out my muscles and give my mind some breathing space, here are my top picks:
- they've just opened their brand new yoga studio in Kings Cross. I like to do basic yoga on a Wednesday or rocket yoga on a Friday. Their classes are great for beginners all the way to experts and far from intimidating. Be sure to check out the cafe too, delicious!
- if you don't have time to go to a yoga class, then I highly recommend Youtube for budding yogi's. My favourite channels are by Cat Meffan
and Yoga with Adrienne
. Dependant on how long you would like to practice for they cover everything from the basics of a headstand all the way to savasana (my favourite bit!)
- a yoga haven with a huge timetable spread across four locations so you can be sure to find a class and style that suits you.
Fitness is very much a personal preference, what others enjoy you may not and that's ok! Find what works for you. London is alive right now with boutique studios, group classes, bootcamps in the park, weekly run clubs and much, much more- get out and get active!
More from the Journal