Hello and good day to all you amazing fellow GirlGainers!
Before we delve into my journey to fitness, let me first introduce myself; I am Chloe, 24yrs old and work as a full-time Creative Designer in central London. I’m also a fully qualified Personal Trainer working (training at the crack of dawn, evenings, weekends, lunchtime) and am currently working towards my diploma certificate to include various class instructing qualifications.
I was very fortunate to grow up in the countryside, and when I say countryside I mean, and no joke, that our village was surrounded by fields of Llamas.. Friends would come by and take pictures of them as though they were at the zoo! I am also extremely fortunate to have an insanely supportive, ambitious and crazy family; they taught me that nothing is impossible, to pursue your dream no matter who says you can’t and to always, always, have fun while doing it. Due to this, I grew up with no ideals on what boys and girls should/shouldn’t do, how we should dress, what boys even were.. I grew up making dens, lighting fires (and getting told off - sorry mum!), cycling through woods, swimming in rivers, playing football and generally causing havoc and getting many scrapes/bruises in the process. Though, this just toughened me up as we had a dad who believed “if you can still walk and talk, you’re ok”; however mum put a firm line down when my little sister dislocated her hip and dad told she was fine and to walk on it.. One summer of a full leg cast later - lesson learnt!
See, you may be wondering why I’ve shared so much about my childhood, its simple; it is our past, present and future. Our childhood experiences shape, define and have create the people we are today: our ideals, work ethic, personality, morals and even appearance are all defined by these years. Due to never having boy & girl defined to in black & white; being able to play with Barbie’s & action men; read Beano’s and make jewelry; ride motorbikes in the mud and make cupcakes with my mum - I was never exposed to the pre-determined stereotypes of how a boy & girl ‘should’ dress or behave. As a result, I am a strong advocate of equality; women and men should take [and be given] the same opportunities in life.
Obviously in this context, we are focusing on the fitness and health side of things, and so this is where my training methods, GirlGains and my big dream comes in! My training strongly focus on functional, strength and weight training - and I urge women to follow suit. We cannot physically get “bulky like men”, instead, we get fit, lean and toned! Furthermore, by building muscle, you can eat more! Muscles require more energy to work, energy is from food, and so your basal metabolic rate increases to fuel your body - even when sat still!
Incase you haven’t come across Functional Training before; its pretty simply defined as “training the body for everyday activities and movements.” So think big movements, bodyweight, compound exercises and generally feeling a strong & powerful person from it! Functional training involves anything from squats, deadlifts and lunges to pulling & pushing tyres, crawling along the ground, sprints and skill-related exercise (balance, co-ordination, etc.) Functional training is all about ensuring your body is able to perform everyday tasks easily, safely and in control of your body. Plus, its fun, different and anything can be used to train with - if there is a will, there is a way!
This had been my method of training for a good couple of years, since meeting an ex-army PT who introduced me to the endless fun you can have with sandbags, ropes and big tractor tyres! So from the age of 21, I was hooked. Dabbling in CrossFit too, I moved to London at 23 as a Creative Designer and still this ambition to become a PT and spread the word of the fun and benefits of training strong.
This was when I met Tally and Zanna at one of their first ever #GirlGains events at the Porridge Cafe, this was in August 2015. I’d only recently been exposed to the movement and message of #GirlGains, and after talking to them for a matter of 10mins they had re-ignited my passion and fire for fitness, to spread my knowledge and experience of what it is to be strong & fit, and most of all - to have fun while doing it! The next week I signed up to the Personal Trainer Diploma Course at Fitness Industry Education. An 18-week part-time learner course where every Sunday I joined 12 other fitness fanatics to learn and train our way to being the best Personal Trainers we can.
I sit here now with a Level 3 Personal Trainer Certificate by my side and a bewilderment of what I’ve achieved so soon, when for years it was this dream toyed and debated with. If I hadn’t of met Tally, Zanna & Vic, or been to their many brilliant events which ooze encouragement and a true passion to want to help, support and change women perception of fitness and what it is to be ‘healthy: I doubt I would be a qualified PT today with not just a want, but a way to help.
Before I sign off, there is one key piece of information I have deliberately not mentioned so far mostly because I don’t like it to be something that defines me but, I have OCD. Not the ‘have things in-line and wash hands a bit’ OCD; actual OCD. The dark, real kind that is diagnosed and dealt with much therapy, panic attacks and oppressive, dark thoughts that push you to places you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. It is hard, crippling and can turn you into a self-destructive depressed atom of yourself. It took a lot of therapy, tears, physical & mental pain and determination to be at a place where I am content and able to live with it. Fitness was a huge part of this, it gives me a time where I think of nothing else but the drive to push my body. Exercise gave me back some control which i thought was all but lost to OCD, it gave me back a moment every day where I could test my true limits and show myself, and OCD, that I am strong.
Although OCD is a very testing disorder, It is what made me the person I am today and in all honesty, i wouldn’t change a moment of my experiences with it. I hope by sharing this, that any of you who may be struggling not just physically, but mentally, are able to take a breath and realise that you are not alone, it is ok to find things hard and these things can and will make you a stronger version of yourself. Hang in there, you are not alone. You have endless support, so use us.