When I was younger I would do anything I could to get out of PE - I hated cross country with a passion (especially in those awful shorts they used to make you wear) and I somehow managed to get out of swimming every week with some different excuse.
I also dabbled in the gym while being at university, half heartedly, thinking that it may transform my body into that of a supermodels and was of course severely disappointed when it didn't.
It wasn’t until I found a spinning class that I loved, that I actually saw exercise as enjoyable. It was only my local gym but people used to queue for his classes - it was the way he reinvented them time and time again, pretending we were at the Tour de France and how we’d win that yellow jersey after that one last steep hill climb, pushing us that bit further with his motivational words and music, and my personal favourite - when he made us do routines to cheesy pop songs.
Then I suppose I must have got the exercise bug – 5K’s turned into half marathons, there were spinathons and I was at the gym because I liked going rather than dragging myself there. So when I finally ventured into London three years ago to live and work a whole new world opened up to me – with yoga classes in hot rooms, Pilates on moving boards and spinning classes with lights and leader boards. I got excited about new class launches, seeked out the unique and special classes and somehow managed to work and socialise around them!
Without knowing it I’d actually started to enjoy exercise – I loved the competiveness of it, whether it was against myself or friends – I always wanted to go that bit faster or break a target I’d set myself. I also loved that it was a social thing, I caught up with friends on a weekly basis as we trained for two half marathons together and what was Barry’s Bootcamp without a friend to share the pain?!
Most of all I feel that exercise is ‘me’ time. An hour out of a day when I'm looking after not just my physical well being but my mental well being - exercise has always put me in a better mood, whether I've had a work set back, relationship troubles or I just need some time to think things through. And god, sometimes only a sweaty workout can make me feel better on a hangover!
Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I really don’t want to go to class, when spinning seems to go on for a lifetime or I skip it all together – I’m only human after all. But sometimes you just have those moments – like recently when I actually made it on to the list for a Skinny Bitch Collective class, and I knew that I was pretty much in love with working out and how it made me feel. As the sweat dripped into my eyes just 15 minutes into the class I wondered how the hell I was going to get through the next 45 minutes – I was absolutely exhausted, but as the music pumped out and we were all doing the same move to the beat of the music a little smile crept on my face and I knew the pain would be worth it – because when you find something you love, and realise you can’t do without it, then, well you’re just going to have to keep on doing it!
Sarah writes a fitness blog Push ups and Pedicures.