Lene’s fitness journey I believed I could so I did In the autumn of 2016 I started out on my fitness journey and haven’t looked back since. The time had come for me to take my health a lot more serious, instead of just coasting along believing my body could take care of itself. It can’t and it was time to face up to reality. ‘Someday’ is not in anyone’s calendar, but it had been in mine for far too long! At some point the body will answer back and tell you enough is enough and then it really is time for you to listen. I realised I had to make some big changes if I wanted to stay mentally and physically fit. Taking that first step was not easy but I knew I had to try. I found out about a local community fitness group, Be Smart Get Fit, and decided to try out the circuit training session one Monday evening. Well what can I say? What a shock to the system that was but I survived it! I had never thought that this kind of exercise could be so enjoyable. Even with my entire body screaming from the muscle pains for days after, I wanted to go back the following week. This was a fantastic group of people oozing energy and having so much fun together while sweating buckets. It’s often daunting being the ‘newbie’ in a group, but the Personal Trainer and group members made me feel so welcome. I was immensely grateful for that, as it was my first time in a group exercise like this one. The motivation, support and fun element in the group was the deciding factor that this was the way to go for me. Joining these fitness classes is the best thing I have done for myself in a very long time. It was the first step towards a personal fitness journey that has given me the inspiration and motivation to ‘keep going’ and not give up even when the going gets really tough; and tough it has been for sure, but at the same time so enjoyable. Having the support from so many amazing people has meant a huge lot to me and still does. It didn’t take long though before I realised that one workout session a week was not nearly enough, if I wanted to reach my goal of getting my body back into shape and shed the weight I wanted. I needed more and wanted more! There were a couple of other weekly training classes with the same Trainer, so I joined those and my goodness did they make a huge difference. Before long the results I was hoping for started to show. Not only did my energy levels and mental wellbeing improve immensely, but the scales also showed me it was all worthwhile as I was losing weight. That gave me a huge boost to push myself even further and keep going. At the same time I also knew I had to change the way I thought about food if I wanted to shed the weight I was aiming for, so I started to be a lot more conscious of what was actually going on my plate. Cutting out unhealthy snacking, controlling portion sizes and including more fresh fruit and vegetables made a huge difference. In the space of two years four months I achieved a 25kg/55lb weight loss through regular persistent exercise and eating healthily. A favourite quote which has stayed with me is: “I’m not losing weight, I’m getting rid of it and I have no intention of finding it again!” To compliment my fitness training classes, it was suggested to me to give running a try. So I decided to join two community running groups; one of which was led by Be Smart Get Fit. I had never been into running before, apart from running for the bus, but that’s not nearly as much fun! From then on running became an important part of my regular fitness life and still is. Who would have thought it; not me that’s for sure! With my new found energy, 2017 saw me taking part in a Tough Mudder 5 miles obstacle course. Never in a million years had I visualised myself conquering something like that, but I did, together with a fantastic team of my new found fitness family. The feeling of achieving something so challenging was a tremendous boost to my mental wellbeing, as well as realising that my body could actually withstand a lot more than I had ever thought possible. In the spring of 2018 I took the plunge and entered my first official race, which was a 5k. That became the event that made me see myself as a real runner and by the end of the year I had completed a total of twelve races and three Obstacle Race Courses too. Up until that first race I hadn’t really believed I was a proper runner. I know now that no one should see themselves as a non-runner if they run; if you run, you are a runner, regardless of speed and the time it takes you to finish a run/race. This was also the year I became a Half Marathon Finisher; the proudest moment of my running career so far. If anyone had suggested to me, before I started my fitness journey, that I would be doing all this and in such a short period of time, I would have thought they were absolutely bonkers for even suggesting it! But there you go; people change, things change and priorities change. It’s not your body you have to convince, it’s your mind. A new year with new challenges in the calendar, 2019 is the year I run my first full marathon. Yes indeed, I took the plunge and signed up for an international one! It is the 40th edition Copenhagen Marathon which will be a very special one to me. So with everything that has happened along the way to get me to where I am today, including a few injuries that have not stopped me in my tracks or made me give up I might add, I can honestly say all the effort and hard work has been well worth all the pain, doubts, sweat and sometimes a few tears, to make me feel much more positive about the future and the way I feel about myself both physically and mentally. In a strange kind of way I’m actually thankful for my struggle, as I found an inner strength I didn’t realise I had. I have discovered things about myself that were deeply buried and have now resurfaced and for that I am forever grateful. Self love plays a huge part in the process too. I didn’t realise before just how much and how important it really is. Anything is possible. Believe in yourself, your abilities, your strength and you will achieve. I did.