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Happier, Healthier, Stronger

From day one (when I nervously walked in) I have been seriously impressed by the level of knowledge and applied science from both of the in-house coaches, surpassing my GB Rowing Olympic Coaching friends.

I genuinely look forward to each session. For me, with quite a high workload and twin boys, it is also a form of escapism that both reduces my waistline and allows me to meet like-minded people.

“The one thing you’re guaranteed to lose when you get older is strength” said a Doctor GP friend of mine over a few beers a few months ago.

I have always been conscious of fitness and strength training with a background in the military and PE teaching, but since I founded my own business I dismissed my own physical and mental health to the bottom of my set of priorities; there was always that last time-consuming email or presentation pitch to prepare. I realised it should have been the other way around, and my weight sneakily crept up.

Having heard of this new fangled ‘functional fitness’ I started Googling for local ‘Crossfit’ gyms. With no proper hits I became discouraged, until a chance comment from a hairdresser about a “serious gym in Lydney” that she did not like “as there were not enough mirrors”. To me, a place where you worked out rather than chatted sat on exercise benches sounded perfect, so I nodded in mock sympathy.

I haven’t looked back.

I have lost over a stone in three months and a tonne in sweat in the only local Gym that actually does deliver its own version of ‘Crossfit’, alongside the other Strength and Conditioning classes. As  a newbie  at Fortitude I not only received the necessary individual attention to perform the range of technical movements safely (that is the equivalent of personal training sessions in themselves – just as well as my knowledge was zero upon joining and I still have a long way to go to perform movements efficiently and form perfect), but established members welcome and encourage you until you join them gasping for oxygen at the finish.

Looking ahead I am just taking one session at a time and concentrating on form, not weight, to remain injury free as I enjoy the variety of sessions on offer. It is a real challenge with learning the different movements or lifts, but to me that is the Challenge. That’s what it’s all about, and everything is scalable and achievable from the start.

On day one I realised how unfit I was, but progress is quick with the variety of prescribed classes and within the month I found myself in an internal competition. Although serious about fitness, Fortitude is a really supportive gym and I was pleased to see members of all shapes, sizes and ages when I joined.

I definitely feel stronger, my BF has reduced by 5% and I feel this is just the beginning. The only drawback is that I find myself looking for places to improve my pull ups or master skipping on holiday, which is worrying, but this is a small price to pay to live healthier (and probably longer!).

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