Jamie didn’t always have a regular gym schedule, despite being active as a child, like many of us as football after school fazes out, he became less active and less sociable. Finding his place in the gym has led to a huge improvement in his self confidence and mental wellbeing.
“I was 21 years old, depressed, anxious, no job. I just had nothing going for me, I was fed up.” Jamie explains. “During the coronavirus pandemic, I was furloughed for a month. My mental health got bad, I had no escape or any kind of stress relief. So, in the June of 2021 I signed up to the gym, and just went strength to strength. If I had to say my overall experience so far, I would say it has been hit and miss with my relationship with health and fitness. But now I’m finding my way.”
This time around, Jamie found the right reasons for working out. Drawn to the colours of Anytime Fitness, he took the plunge and overcame his anxieties about signing up for the gym. Jamie started to think about why he wanted to improve on himself, rather than worry about what others were thinking.
“The biggest challenge that I faced was just stepping through the door for the first time. My heart was beating out my chest, but I thought “just go and take that first step”. I had to deal with the whole “am I doing this right?” And “I feel like everyone is looking at me” thoughts. But those thoughts went away after a couple of sessions.
I tried working out before, for attention from other people but then realised I wasn’t doing it for me, so that didn’t work at all. If you try and change yourself for someone else’s benefit, then you will never truly be happy with yourself. I was held back mainly because of general anxiety. I was paranoid that people would be looking at me, feared that I would feel out of place because of the shape I was in.”
And his journey with Anytime Fitness went from there. The staff and members are what have kept him motivated and, most importantly, enjoying the gym.
“The staff were incredible; they weren’t overly confident and forward which can be intimidating towards people that are completely new to the gym. They are really supportive, and they each have their own inspirational relatable story which helps inspire people like me to just keep going.
The people that go there are genuinely nice even some of the people there will acknowledge your progression and encourage you to keep up the good work you’re doing.”
Now, the gym is part of who Jamie is. You can find him working out most days, and the impact on his mental health and been immeasurable. One of Jamie’s goals is to help others with their own health and fitness journeys so he can share what he’s learnt and guide someone else who may have been in the same position as him, a few years ago.
“When I first joined the gym, I was having Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, I mentioned that I started going to the gym. My therapist told me that there are 2 ways to work on yourself. The first is working on yourself from the inside out, so you work on your confidence before putting it into practice. And then you have the second which is working on yourself from the outside inward. I’m the second one, because of the gym and exercising I noticed my progression which makes me feel more confident about myself and my own abilities. I remember the days when I struggled and gave up, whenever things get tough now, I try my best to carry on. If I can’t exercise for an hour, I’ll do 20 minutes. If I feel good and I’ve already been there an hour, I’ll do more exercise. For me now it’s important to just show up, the hardest part of it all is stepping through that door every day because the battle has already been won. I compare the gym to everyday life; you go through situations that are tough, but it doesn’t mean you should give up. It’s the same as in the gym, just because the weights you lift feel heavy after a while doesn’t mean you should put them down and give up. If you carry on and push through it, you’ll become stronger!
100% make sure that you’re doing it for your own benefit and nobody else’s. Be patient with yourself, progression takes time. Give it a chance for at least 2-3 months so you can see early signs of progress. I’m not saying go 5-6 times a week because that can be a bit much for a beginner. But go a minimum of 3 times a week, give it a chance for a couple of months and I guarantee your mental health will improve.”