I can’t believe what an impressive asset we have in Fortitude for the people of Lydney and the Forest of Dean. I used to daydream that if I won the lottery I’d pay a trainer to help me get fit.
Well, now I’ve found I don’t need to win the lottery thanks to this astonishingly good local team. So thank you so much for building and maintaining an incredible system for developing people’s bodies, minds and spirits.
Six weeks ago I searched online for gyms in the area – recently the death of a much loved pet meant an empty house and loads of free time.I’ve been thinking about my general health and fitness forever, and experimented with different types of exercise at home but never prioritised repetition and consistency over family, work, rest or hobbies.So when I found a number of gyms that were reachable, I was struck initially by the proximity of Fortitude, impressed that it wasn’t part of a huge national chain, and had a website clearly illustrating a really diverse group of members.
The introductory narrative online confirmed my interest because it was so encouraging, so welcoming and so relaxed, making me feel there was no reason not to go along and find out more, despite being a bit phobic about exercise in public.
When I popped in to learn more the next day, I was bowled over by the warmth of the welcome and the time everyone took to work through my questions – I’d found a really natural, friendly, human experience. By far the hardest part of the experience was finding joggers to buy long enough for my trick legs.
The atmosphere of the building is a really key feature of the initial experience. The low key, but clearly very carefully selected equipment removes any sense of intimidation and it’s been easy to see how people can progress from the very basics like me to a high level of fitness using the space.
It’s also really apparent that despite what must be thousands of repetitions, trainers at Fortitude approach every session like the first, with the same warm welcome, personable and genuine every time, and a clearly expressed interest in people’s physical, mental and emotional health before and during exercise.
This is why I felt extraordinarily well looked after while going through the challenging but enjoyable first few weeks, in which the warm-ups felt like a huge obstacle in themselves.
I also found that the approach trainers take with the group is so natural that it seems infectious through the group, with a broad mix of different people enjoying each other’s company – a rare asset in 2019 indeed. Basically I couldn’t be more impressed with the way Fortitude is set up and run – I’m learning a lot from its management that I want to use at work too.
I feel as though I’ve moved through the initial tough transition from zero exercise to regular exercise, and I’m genuinely excited for each session to find out what new abilities I’m developing – it feels as though I’m progressing quickly in terms of resistance and familiarity with the exercises. Working at a sustainable level of 24 strokes per minute at a moderate intensity my 500m average ergo over 3 minutes has dropped from 2m17s to 2m01s – which I think is huge in six weeks or so. It’s still slow, but shows there’s loads of room for me to grow in the weeks months and years ahead.
In about week three I had a couple of sessions where I felt my temperature and heart rate were totally out of control during aerobic exercise, and it’s worth noting that the guidance from trainers was so reassuring and good, not too pushy, not too nervy, just right – that I found I could just move through it carefully. What a great thing to learn – I wouldn’t have been able to do that at home.