National Fitness Day – How a lifestyle change has changed me

Low body confidence is an issue which affects all of us from time to time, irrespective of age and gender. It is recognised as a significant social and public health problem in the UK and throughout much of the rest of the world. Statistics show that 60% of adults say that they feel ashamed of the way they look. This feeling of shame often leads to engaging in less social interaction, leading to isolation, and in turn poor mental health.

Research indicates that exercise can help to improve body image. People who exercise and workout regularly are more likely to feel self-confident than those who are largely inactive. Body image is a strong component of self-esteem – and taking part in an activity that you enjoy, and that you gain a sense of accomplishment from, will help to build your self-esteem. Other benefits gained from exercise include overall better mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress and depression. Exercise also releases endorphins which create feelings of happiness through euphoria.

After constantly shunning suggestions to become more active to improve my mood (I’m rubbish to a fault at taking advice), I decided at that start of this year that I wanted to put an end to the constant agony of suffering from low self-esteem and negative body image. I set my sights on losing weight, and toning up. That would fix all my problems, wouldn’t it? If I looked good (or as good as I could) I would feel good??

I didn’t realise how much my choices were going to change the inside.

From doing absolutely no exercise at all, I’ve progressed from one class in May, to two, and now four a week, and an hour with a personal trainer (which is the biggest shocker). I’m not even that conscious of the changes on the outside, (I’m not monitoring anything. If I’m eating right, and exercising often, I’m improving my body). But my now loose clothes and need to buy more suggest I’ve dropped at least a dress size, and I can feel definition in my arms and legs, and I’ve felt pain from using muscles I never knew I had. I’m wide awake very early every morning, and I actually think I need something to suppress my energy now rather than boost it.

From being a complete gymophobe, (and throw in the NOW non existent extreme shyness and social anxiety), I can’t imagine life any differently.

My message to anyone suffering low self-esteem is if you want to change something about yourself, do it. If it’s your hair you don’t like, try a new haircut. If you’re unhappy about your weight, look into changing your diet or maybe joining an exercise class. If you’re worried you have no one to go with, go on your own. You’ll see familiar faces each week or make friends. Life is too short for hang ups. I’m only sorry it’s taken me to the grand old age of 37 to realise this, but I now recognise the importance to stress it to my children.

The sooner you start making the changes, the sooner you will start to feel better about yourself.


health and fitness

Clubbercise Review – Club with Mel

After spending the last couple of months of 2013 and most of 2014 working on ‘the inside’ and after going though mentally challenging times, I decided that 2015 was going to be the year that I started to work on the outside. By June, apart from dying my hair ‘Blackcurrant’, updating my summer wardrobe, and indulging in another tattoo, I hadn’t done much to change. I desperately wanted to be slim, toned and healthy. However there is one vital problem, like an awful lot of people, I hated gyms. I hated them with a passion.

After forking out around £300 to join the local ladies gym nearly six years ago, I reluctantly dragged myself there most nights for less than a month, making excuses to never again return. My nights were simply too busy, usually spent watching trashy tv whilst working my way through a packet of jaffa cakes. To be fair though, I did gave the ridiculous (aptly named) ‘Insanity’ a half-hearted whirl a year ago, but found that I was literally gasping for breath after just 30 seconds of sprinting on the spot.

But then I heard about Clubbercise, a new rapidly growing fitness trend which seemed to be taking the UK by storm, claiming to bring ‘a night out to your workout‘.  A keen clubber in my twenties, but now having other commitments and rarely having the time to go out and usually at home in my pajamas on by 10 the odd occasion I did, I decided to give it a go. I’d heard about Clubbercise already and had every intention of going along to see what it’s like, but kept putting it off. I found my nearest class, ‘Club with Mel’, ran by Melanie James, and I made the self promise to actually attend.


The night arrived, I threw on the black leggings and neon top, dug out the trainers and rocked up at the venue, a local scout hut. Being a Friday night made it the perfect start to my weekend.

As I walked in I was pleasantly surprised to see around twenty to thirty other neon clad females, aged from as young as fifteen to those in their twenties, thirties like me, or maybe even older, all shapes, sizes and fitness levels. I paid for the class (a bargain at only £4), purchased my pink disposable glowsticks for only £1 (although now a regular, I have my flashing official clubbercise sticks) and before I knew it the room sank into darkness. Laser and disco lights filled the room, and I took my place on the dancefloor (at the back of course).

This was actually the first session of a new class, so most of us were new to Clubbercise. After a brief introduction and being told to go at our own pace, the tunes began and within the next hour I had burned up to 600 calories dancing about to 90s classics such as the rave tune ‘Set you Free’ and to the recent beat of ‘Up Town Funk’. The hour passed in no time, and ended with us all winding down to stretch it out while also singing along to an upbeat version of ‘Man in the Mirror’. I felt great. Sweaty and hot, but fantastic. I left the venue feeling like I’d left a club, yet only sober.

The next morning I awoke only slightly feeling the burn. I surprisingly felt full of energy and on a bit of a natural high from the night before, only without the hangover.

Three months later and I’d found that one class a week isn’t enough. It’s addictive and I need my fix so I’ve worked up from two a week to four, one being a double. I’ve gone along to three charity events, two of them held in a nightclub and they were amazing. Everybody is in such high spirits, dancing to raise money for such good causes


Clubbericise to me is literally the best thing to come out of 2015. I’m happier, healthier, much more confident and so much, fitter. Just over a year ago I didn’t want to leave the house and spent all my time on my own, just me, my husband and my kids as I just didn’t want to socialise and my anxiety made it hard somedays to even leave the house.

Now I’ve made so many new friends, and the days of depression and anxiety are a thing of the past, and it’s all down to Clubbercise..