my running adventures – barefoot or otherwise

My physical transformation!

Before Christmas, my partner and I got Groupons for a local gym, with 10 passes to be used. We enjoyed the experience and felt so much better in a few ways. Firstly, we had the OPTION to go and do some exercise indoors when we wanted. Secondly, having made the small investment, we now felt compelled to do so! Thirdly, we felt so good about ourselves for having had a workout, both during and after each visit, that we encouraged each other to go again and again.

The Groupon complete, we looked into joining the gym as members but it was so expensive we decided against it and thought we’d look out for another Groupon. No Groupon was forthcoming though and so we were unsure as to next steps. I was still running and cycling, but my partner, now motivated to keep working out, faced a dead-end.

By chance, a flyer came through our door for a different gym close to us and conveniently on the way to work. The price advertised seemed too good to be true, so we went to check it out and were amazed by what we found! A multi-floor, multi-room gym, swimming pool, ladies-only zone for my partner, more classes than you could want, a spa section that surpasses Eden Hall (so I’ve been told!) and beauty treatments on offer too, if that’s your thing. The monthly payments are really low and whilst peak times are busy, the gym is open pretty much 24/7, so there is always a time you can find when it is less busy.

What I was really interested in was that you get a free monthly consultation with a personal trainer (Ben) employed by the gym. My partner and I booked a consultation straight away once we joined in January and we were given our own, personal workout plan.

My aims for the workout plan were for me to increase my strength without gaining weight. I am a runner after all! I wanted to feel more able to keep my running form when tired, have a strong core to help me avoid injury and tone up.

I have to say, the rewards I’ve got from my plan are based on me working at 100% in each gym session . I just happen to be that way inclined – I can’t resist really going for it! I’ve really enjoyed trying some of the classes too – GRIT strength and GRIT cardio have been my favourite ones so far – you can push yourself as much as you feel able to and I am always exhausted in a good way at the end of the session.

I launched into my workout plan and have been so pleased with the results. As you can see from the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures, my body has been noticeably transformed. My legs are now more fully toned rather than just the quads (a by-product of cycling!) and my upper body has become more toned. You may be surprised as I was when I weighed myself, but I haven’t gained any weight from this strength programme.

I have seen regular increases in the weights I can use for the various exercises in my programme, but what really made me realise how my strength had improved was when I tried to do some chin-ups on a bar at the gym at the end of a hard 1 hour strength workout. It felt easy! As I was pulling my whole body up, I had to stop myself from laughing out loud! I was so excited and surprised, I didn’t think it was real! I must have looked a sight, a bewildered look on my face, possibly smirking as I muffled my laughter. I did three sets of 8 reps to check it wasn’t a strange blip and whilst the third set was a bit harder, it confirmed that the last three months or so in the gym have really made a difference.

The pictures:

Before I joined the gym:

After I’d been at the gym for two months:


In my next blog post, I’ll be sharing my running plans for the summer!

Do you go to a gym? What are your goals there and how do they benefit your running?


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