Following another training session in which Kristy Stanley revelled in landing punches into the goading gloves of Fitness Trainer Mike Paul (in a loving sort of way), Kristy packed her biggest punch of all. “Mike”, she said, “I want all the other Big Girls out there to come to the gym.”
It was a simple statement loaded with layers of meaning.
Kristy accepts that she is, as she puts it, “A Big Girl”. She has spent years trying a variety of diets and exercise programs. Some that have offered short term success, some that have been complete fails. She sometimes struggles with depression, anxiety and panic attacks.
She was convinced the gym was only for thin and fit people. People that would judge her.
Then she summoned enough courage to “walk in the door’.
“I was amazed that within a few steps inside the door, I felt comfortable. I was treated with friendship and understanding. I was surrounded by all shapes and sizes. And the fact is, people in the gym are focussing on their own workout – not looking at me!”
Kristy also found an understanding ear in Mike Paul, the Health & Fitness Co-ordinator. “Mike has found ways to modify all of the exercises so I can manage it with the extra weight that I have – plus we have a laugh – I really look forward to going to the gym now.”
Kristy has also attended aqua aerobics classes and is “Building towards heading upstairs to try some of the other classes.” She says forming a group of like-minded people who work out together at the gym will hopefully entice other “Big Girls” (and boys!) to take the first step inside the gym and then venture into the other exercise options that are available.
“I think we can give each other understanding. We know what it is like to have extra jiggly bits, to feel out of breath and generally self-conscious. Having each other for encouragement and to have a laugh will really help.”
“I have weight loss goals and I want to improve my general health – but really, I have already achieved my biggest goal by just walking through the door. And I can’t believe how great I feel when I walk out the door – strong. I feel strong and happy.”
Kristy does have one other goal. Once she gains enough confidence to attend a Ki Max class she wants Mike to pose as the punching bag. “Give him a bit back for all his cheek.”