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Client Spotlight – How Kate turned her scepticism of gyms into success, finding a place where she belongs.

In today’s client spotlight we would like to introduce the lovely Kate who joined Function Fitness almost a year ago, initially filled with scepticism. With past gym experiences leaving her bored and disheartened, she wasn’t convinced this time would be any different. Encouraged by friends who were already members, she decided to give it a try. 

Join us as we hear from Kate herself about how Function Fitness has “changed her life in the most positive way”… 

Build a picture of your time at Function Fitness (How long have you been a member? What were your feelings when you started? 

I joined Function Fitness almost exactly a year ago, and I was honestly not sure that it was going to be the right thing for me. I had a couple of friends who were already members, who kept telling me that I would enjoy it, but my previous experiences of going to the gym had not been successful. My response to anyone who said they loved the gym was that I find it boring, and it hurts, and it is not for me. However, I really did want to improve my fitness and overall health, and although I had tried other things (couch to 5k and workouts at home) I found it easy to make excuses and I wouldn’t stick to it. I finally allowed my friends to convince me that I would find this very different to my previous experiences of going to the gym. From the moment I went for my first meeting with Charlie I was confident that they were right. Despite initial nerves about going to the groups, and a fear of not knowing my way around, I found everyone, coaches and other members, really friendly and welcoming. It was great to find a structure where I could work at my level and not be intimidated by what others were doing, and it didn’t take too long to feel like I belonged. The workouts can be challenging, but I have learnt new skills and achieved things I never thought I’d be able to do, and it has now become such an important part of my life that I can’t imagine being without it. Also, it’s never boring, so I was wrong about that too!

What was your goal when you first started and how have you made progress toward that?

I joined just before my 50th birthday. I had been saying for a long time that I wanted to make sure that I stayed fit and strong so that I had the best chance possible of being healthy and active as I got older, but in reality wasn’t doing enough to make that happen. I wanted to lose some weight too, break some of my unhealthy eating habits, and feel generally more energetic. Turning 50, and also going through the menopause with all of the fun symptoms and ups and downs that brings, made working towards my health and fitness goals a top priority! When I first joined I don’t think I was very goal driven. I was happy with the idea of going along, getting some exercise, building my strength a bit, and having a little bit of accountability to keep me motivated, but that has changed over the course of the year. I now really enjoy the challenge of trying to improve and achieve the next level. I feel fitter, stronger, more confident, happier than I did a year ago. I still need to work on better eating habits, but I have definitely made improvements and lost a few pounds and a few inches along the way.

In what way has Function Fitness supported you in achieving your goals? 

There is so much knowledge and expertise and support from the coaches. The structure of the workouts is really clear, and well explained and there is always someone to help if you’re not quite sure what you should be doing. I think one of the things that helped me most was being able to build my confidence by working at my own pace, but with the encouragement of the coaches to push myself when they feel I can do more, or if they know I have a specific goal I am working towards. I have never felt under any pressure to try and match what anyone else was doing. It really is a community where all the members encourage each other, and cheer each other on with no judgement. 

Have you faced any particular challenges along the way? 

Quite early on I injured my elbow and this made some of the exercises quite challenging. I was hugely frustrated because I had really just got going and was starting to build some momentum, and I thought it might mean I would have to take a break, or would find it really limiting. The coaches were really good at helping me modify the workouts so that I could still push myself without risking making it worse, and I also started doing weekly skills sessions with Mike. Initially these were to help me build my strength and work on my form to help me to recover from the injury, but I have continued with them as they are a great way to really focus on specific goals. I have found that there are some elements of the workouts that I have taken to, and there are some that I ever so slightly dread. When I started one of these dreads was the rowing machine. I loathed it. Whenever a workout had rowing I would try to dodge it, and if I had to row I would feel exhausted after about 30 seconds! I really couldn’t understand why anyone would choose to row, and wondered why I seemed to find it so much harder than everyone else. I told Mike this and we spent a few sessions working on the rowing machine, improving my technique step by step, and I honestly felt like it changed my life (sounds ridiculous but it’s true). I have gone from dreading the rower, to actually looking forward to it, and it is probably the thing I feel strongest and most confident with, and that gives me a real sense of achievement. I started the skills sessions because of a setback I’d had, and it turned out to be a real positive. I have a few other things that I struggle with (burpees for one) but we have a list, and one by one I will try and conquer them all!

Tell us about any shining moments that stand out to you in your time at Function Fitness. 

There are a few, but the biggest stand out moment is taking part in the games earlier this year. I had had no intention of doing this because it felt way out of my comfort zone, but I was ‘persuaded’ to join in by one of my friends, somewhat reluctantly. I am so glad I did. I was nervous when I started, and hadn’t met a lot of the people on my team, but it didn’t take long for the team to bond, and I really felt I was part of something pretty special. We had so much fun; colourful costumes, neon face paint, bonkers challenges, lots of cheering and also some pretty tough workouts. It was scary, uplifting, challenging, emotional. Everyone, on all the teams, was just so incredibly encouraging, supportive and inspiring, It was simply an amazing experience that I had not expected at all. I would definitely do it again! 

I have got more involved in the gym community since the games, feeling more confident about sharing my achievements on the Facebook page, and also trying to be positive and encouraging to others in the group. Recently someone said that they found me inspiring, which was a bit unexpected so I was quite surprised, but it was a lovely thing to hear. In turn I am inspired by so many of the people I meet at Function Fitness. It really is a fab group of people.

What are your future goals?

I have recently increased the number of sessions I go to. Taking part in the games made me realise that I could achieve my goals and improve more quickly if I add in an extra hour each week. I want to continue getting stronger, and overcome my fears and weaknesses, but my next big mission is to lose some more weight. I’m in no rush to make any big, sudden changes, or to lose it too quickly, but I am aware that it is holding me back from really improving in some areas. All my life when I have tried to lose weight I have been motivated by wanting to look thinner, or drop a dress size, and I have tried to follow a plan that will work for a while, but fails in the long term because I get bored or feel restricted. Also, the goal of simply being thinner isn’t enough motivation to make me succeed. I need a more positive goal. I really want to be able to do push ups, or pull ups, and these are made much more challenging by being overweight. I am now on a mission to shed a few kilos, and continue to build my strength, so that I can tick these things off the list too. 

What would you say to someone on the fence about joining Function Fitness?

I moved to Torrington a little over two years ago. I have had a lot of big changes in my life. Like everyone, there had been lockdowns to contend with, but on top of that I had divorce, redundancy, my youngest child leaving home to go to university, and a few ups and downs with my mental health along the way. I came here to move in with my new partner, but it was a completely fresh start. I had no friends locally, had to find a new job, and it was all a bit daunting frankly. If someone had said to me that I would find my sense of community at the local gym I would have laughed at them! But that is what has happened. I think it is a really special place. It is a welcoming, safe space where you will find nothing but encouragement and support, and a real commitment from the team to help you achieve your goals. It has honestly changed my life in the most positive way, and my only regret is that I didn’t find it sooner. I even convinced my 24 year old son to join recently, and he’s really enjoying it too, far more, I think, than he actually expected.

Are you inspired by Kate’s story? Don’t let your doubts about joining a gym hold you back. Book your free No Sweat Intro at Function Fitness with the simple click of a button below and learn how our community can help support you in reaching your goals. 

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