Last week was mental health awareness week, so after hearing multiple personal stories across a variety of platforms (such as TalkSPORT, Instagram and Apple podcasts) we thought it would be fitting for one of our Personal Trainers to share their experiences with how fitness has helped them with their mental heath over this tough, past year or so.
I can remember so clearly when the pandemic was kicking off.
It was the night it got announced on the news that gyms had to close, that night. I was absolutely devastated. I’d built up my client base from nothing to being one of the busiest PTs at the gym in just 10 months of working there full time.
This was at the gym where I worked before working for BodyPro, by the way.
Little did I know, that night would be my last ever shift working at that gym, with a 10pm finish, a visit off the police to ensure we would be closing for good for the unforeseeable.
The next morning, I didn’t really know what to do with myself.
It was a Saturday, so I was used to having some clients regularly at that time. So I tried to take my mind off things and went for a dog walk around Ogden reservoir.
Halfway around the reservoir I noticed my breathing getting really heavy.
I was not taking my mind off things, all I did on that walk was constantly worry myself about what the hell I was going to do to get by without being able to train my clients in person.
The deeper into those thoughts I went the harder and harder it became to breathe. So I called my mum to see what to do. I have asthma so she was worried if I had contracted COVID-19 that it was affecting that. So I did what she recommended and called the emergency NHS number, who advised me to self isolate for the next 14 days as well as whoever I lived with too.
The dog walk swiftly got cancelled as I rushed the dogs and myself back to my car and got us home ASAP.
Once I got back home, I’d noticed my tight chest had calmed down. But the thoughts of worrying about my circumstances certainly didn’t. And when I focused on them alone I then just wanted to go to bed to sleep away the worries.
2 full days in bed later, I was back in the land of the conscious.
I don’t know if I had COVID-19 over those 2 days or if I’d had a panic attack or what. But I do know that the worrying was not helping. I’d probably not worked out for the best part of a week, since my last spinning class the previous Wednesday. So with the gorgeous whether we were having during that first lockdown, (remember that?) I got all my weights and home gym equipment and got cracking on with a full body workout. I trained for about 2 hours that first session. It absolutely smashed me in. But the euphoria I felt during and after that workout was nothing short of game-changing.
Following on from that euphoric feeling, a week later and I’d done x3 workouts.. that’s it, I was hooked.
For the rest of that first lockdown, I continued to workout 3,4 sometimes 5 times per week. I even did a handful of all day workouts, doing a set of exercises on the hour every hour for 8-10 hours.
That first workout helped transform my mindset.
Instead of worrying about what I was missing out on, I focused on how I could utilise all of the spare time I suddenly was gifted thanks to that first lockdown. I was instead being more present and enjoying spending more time with my girlfriend and my animals in the home and going for extra long dog walks together in that gorgeous weather.
Working out almost every other day helped provide me with something to look forward to.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was regularly watching the news, daily, which was only adding fuel to the fire of worry in my mind. Each workout watered down that fire of worry.
If it wasn’t for exercise, working out, lifting weights, however you want to word it, I don’t know how deep down the hole of depression I would have ended up during that lockdown.
Mental Health Awareness is going to be of massive importance as we come out of this pandemic situation. If you have things going on, it really does help to share those thoughts with somebody, even if it is just for them to listen to you, it’ll help massively.
Please don’t struggle in silence. Let’s all get through this together!
Let us know in the comments below what has helped get you through this last year or so.. what has been your outlet?
Have a great day!