I hate exercise. I always have.
I come from quite an active family but was very much the black sheep preferring to sit on the sofa and watch TV. I dislocated my knee at 15 and from then on, I had a permanent excuse to be sedentary. I usually get away with this because I’ve worked in hospitality since I was 17 and spend long shifts on my feet, rushing around, moving stock and generally staying quite active. But while working on my mental health in general in the last few years, I’ve become more aware that exercise needed to play more of a part in my life so when the lockdown hit, I realised that I was going to have to put the effort in to get myself up and moving.
I was already doing the odd Joe Wicks and Yoga with Adrienne when I started the Hospro 2 week challenge and got myself signed up to the Fiit app, which operates three “studios” (cardio, strength and yoga). HIIT training has always had an appeal for me because I can do it in my house (and not have anyone see me sweating and out of breath) and it gets your daily heart rate increase out the way quickly, so immediately I was on board. The cardio classes have a range of trainers, difficulty levels and itineraries so four weeks in, doing four classes a week, I haven’t done the same cardio class twice.
You can also see the class structure upfront so you’ll have some idea of whether or not you can complete the class before you start which is a big bonus if, like me, you’re terrified of failure. The trainers are motivating and do tend to give you that extra bit of encouragement you need to get through the class, especially when you reach “the finisher” which is the short but brutal way that they end most of their cardio classes.
It’s definitely shown me that I was not pushing myself in the classes that I was doing before and I’ve worked up more of a sweat over Fiit cardio than over a 14-hour shift in mid-December. Two weeks into using the app, I bought their heart rate tracker and now watching the Fiit points rack up, it definitely helps motivate me to find that extra bit of energy. What started as a necessity, is now becoming a big part of my day that I enjoy and I have noticed that I am more alert and positive on the days I do a class first thing.
In the rebalance studio, I’ve had mixed success with the yoga classes and the three instructors that lead them. My mum is a yoga teacher (Lyenga, which doesn’t have the flow I like) and has always warned me against teachers with less than 500 hours training so I didn’t take too much of a fancy to Richie Norton. I’ve done one or two of his classes, and I think if you were just in it for the fitness aspect, they fill that hole, but for me I just didn’t feel like the technical and form side of things were covered enough.
Chris Madgee posed the exact opposite problem and I found most of his classes were way too advanced for me and I ended up on my bum more than once. One day.
Then there’s Cat Meffan who is much more of a middle ground. She offers alternatives to difficult poses for those us still learning and I find the classes keep a nice pace and the spiritual side, although present, is significantly dialled down from some yoga classes I’ve attended. Sadly, I’m still not sure if the focus on form would be sufficient for a total novice so I don’t think I’d recommend it for a complete beginner.
The strength studio is my least visited. As I went for the cheaper Fiit tracker, it doesn’t count my reps and I’m starting to realise that I need some visual representation of how hard I’m working. I think my reluctance also comes from the fear of failure I mentioned earlier. I can do a pushup, a full sit up or plank for more than 30 seconds so I’m scared to try. That being said, the two classes I have done, I have enjoyed and one particular trainer being quite easy on the eyes helps so I am facing my fears and getting stuck in. Check back in 6 months so see pictures of me looking totally stacked.
While we’re all stuck in this weird parallel universe, the range of classes and activities on Fiit have definitely helped keep me engaged and it’s now a key part of my daily routine. I am managing to level up a bit in the classes that I do and push myself harder and for longer which is a really rewarding feeling. The £20 it costs a month is considerably cheaper than a gym membership with the added bonus you can be in your pants if you really want to be. The next challenge will be if it keeps me engaged when I’m back at work, busy and tired but for now, Fiit has got me exercising several times a week which is a feat no other person, gym or app has managed in my 31 years so it must be doing something right.