Leigh got into exercise to improve her lifestyle, diet and fitness and now see exercise as a time to relieve stress.
Leigh's story to becoming fitter
At 15 I was overweight, around 13 stone and got called many things at school because of this. My parents always encouraged me to be active, but for the most part I didn’t enjoy it. One day my dad took me weight training, which I really enjoyed. However, my weight stayed the same as I just didn’t know what to do. I also started attending a boxing gym, it was hard at first, especially being the only female, but the fitter I got the more I enjoyed it. During this time, I develop an eating disorder, which I did eventually seek help for. I took control and I learned about eating proper to fuel my boxing. Boxing was a great stress relief, it was fun, it was hard but gave me a focus and I always felt better afterwards. I went on to compete and won silver in the national championships, which I am so proud of given where I started and what I had gone through. I had to give boxing up due to work commitments so took up weightlifting, which comes in useful when you live alone and need to move things! I also used to volunteer at boxing gyms coaching young people. Whilst I don’t do this anymore due to work, I do deliver some sessions with young people in youth clubs to give them the opportunity to try something new.
I lost weight and have sat at a healthy weight for many years now. I’m far fitter and stronger and it’s made me more resilient. Exercise for me is ‘me time'. The gym is where I go to release stress, have a laugh, and completely forget everything else. Two of my closest friends are people I met whilst working in the gym, and the guys in the gym never fail to cheer me up and always know if something is bothering me.
I am now a personal trainer and fitness instructor. I made the decision to become a personal trainer 10 years ago, when I realised how much sport had helped me through my teen years and what a change it made to my life.
I set myself goals to focus on, usually to improve my lifts as I find that more motivating than a weight loss goal.
All I can say is when you find the exercise you really enjoy it will become effortless; it might change your life like it did mine. Whether that’s improving on your health, weight loss, or mental health, never underestimate the power of exercise and never be afraid to try something new.
When you find the exercise you really enjoy it will become effortless; it might change your life like it did mine.