This time last year I started my first Body Project. I’d been too scared to do any exercise for six months after prolapsing a disc in my back, I’d put on two stone in weight and had recently ripped a hole in the bum of my favourite jeans while sitting down to enjoy another handful of chocolate at Christmas (mortifying!). I wasn’t in a good place in terms of my mental health and was just tired out, sad and not really enjoying life.
I was told about the Body Project by a friend and was chuffed to finally find a fitness programme that took place at 9.15am and didn’t require me to get up at 6am three days per week - Perfect! I walked into my first Think Fit class a week late to proceedings but better late than never! I was feeling shy, massively unfit and more than a little anxious about what I was about to let my body in for.
I genuinely couldn’t sit down for a week after that first class. My legs were on fire! On one hand I was really sad that I’d ‘let myself go’ so much that I couldn’t hold a plank for more than a few seconds and couldn’t even do a single sit up… and that it had just felt so hard!
I felt embarrassed to be measured by Becky and was mortified that my waistline had grown to 41.5" and I was nearly 15 stone. On the other hand I was excited to see where The Body Project was going to take me and I was really determined to give it my all.
Fast forward to the end of the first 12 weeks, I felt like a different person. I was fitter and stronger, I’d lost weight and I’d lost inches …I’d not lost as much as much as I’d been hoping for but I was definitely pleased to be on my way (and I was still eating my body-weight in cake and chocolate pretty much every day so I wasn’t completely surprised!). But it was safe to say, I’d loved the experience.
Despite enjoying it so much, I wasn’t going back to the Body Project for the next intake - for me it had served it’s purpose of kick starting my fitness and I was looking forward to getting back into gig rowing and getting on with training for The World Championships which my life revolved around! I said thanks to Becky and went on my way and joined a gym in Falmouth.
A few weeks later I was lying in bed feeling a little sad and realised the other part of The Body Project that had been so important to me - I’d also met some awesome, funny and amazingly supportive people and I had really felt the value in taking time out for myself to do this thing that made me really happy.
I didn’t want to suddenly lose that element which had really motivated me and pushed me to work harder every session. I’d also only been to the gym a couple of times and wasn’t feeling inspired. I messaged Becky and asked if I could join the next intake - she replied immediately and I was back on board!
Along with all the amazingly positive mental health benefits that have come hand in hand with 12 months of The Body Project and having the support from my new friends, I have also lost over 10 inches from around my middle and I’ve more than lost those two stone. Losing weight was really important to me to begin with but the happy thing is that it just became a by-product of doing something I enjoyed. Early on, rather than focus on the scales, I picked a t-shirt that I wanted to get back into and tried it on once a month and used that as my motivation to keep going. Nowadays I don’t think about my weight and just enjoy the feeling of what my body is allowing me to do as a result of training :)
The key to it all for me has been consistency. The Body Project is the first thing I’ve stuck with in terms of exercise in my adult life. It’s half an hour, three times a week (along with a couple of evening classes) and it’s ring-fenced time that I don’t let anyone take away from me! I’ve also taken it slowly and been a proper grown-up about the process! - I’ve pushed myself whenever I could and taken my time at other moments - there are days when burpees feel ‘easy’ and days when they are just too much. Sometimes I can do full press-ups and sometimes I have to do them on my knees. I have seen my fitness develop bit by bit, month by month but I don’t give myself a hard time if there are days my body feels a little tired.
I have trained as a fitness instructor over the past few months and am getting ready to take my first Think Fit class in a weeks time. I’m so excited to be on the other side of it all ready to motivate and help people to achieve their goals…although I now will actually have to get out of bed for those 6am classes three times a week!
I am still going to be going along to the 9.15am classes though - they’re still as important to me as ever!
If you’re wondering whether to give the Body Project a go - my obvious answer is to go for it. For me, it’s been a bit of a life changer and just an awesome opportunity to meet nice people, have fun, work hard, sweat a lot and lose a few pounds along the way!
Just Keep Going!!!