After facing some challenges in my personal life, I have realised how important exercise is for me; both mentally and physically. I had spent just over a year looking for a group where I felt part of a supportive community rather than intimidated and negative about my fitness. My friend, Lorraine Connelly, had posted a lot about James Fitness on Facebook and so I decided to give the group a try!
As soon as I met James I was impressed by his knowledge of diet and fitness; as well as his determination to help me succeed with my goals. My first class was with India and I felt at ease instantly by her sense of humour and encouragement.
My first goal was to enjoy exercise again and feel happier in a new exercise routine. I have achieved this and enjoy every opportunity to put my trainers on and work up a sweat. I’m still battling with my diet. Work pressures mean I struggle to drink water regularly and I do have to reach for the quick, and not so healthy, meal; but I am aware of this and am determined not to give up. Over the past six months I developed a healthier relationship with food thanks to James and one day I will overcome this last hurdle!
I love the classes that I turn up to not expecting to see James. I’m welcomed by his big grin, followed by lots of challenges and bossing me around! I’m always surprised by how much I can achieve in his classes and leave feeling stronger, motivated and more positive about my fitness level.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the James Fitness team. I enjoy every one of your classes; you’re all different, but together you tick every one of the boxes on my exercise enjoyment list.
What brought you to James Fitness?
I had just had my gall bladder removed and I felt completely unfit. I was lying in bed unable to move and I thought enough was enough. I had seen James Facebook posts and it sounded like a friendly place.
What was your first impression and how has that changed?
my first session hurt. It took me 5 days to recover and I thought everyone was fitter than me. Over time I've realised that we all have different strengths and weaknesses but importantly no one judges you and everyone encourages you to do your best.
What was your first goal?
My first goal was to lose enough weight to be able to start running again. It took me 4 weeks and I had lost a stone and was feeling strong enough to run.
What are you working on now?
I am now working towards my first marathon having gone from only running for 1 minute last July. I would also like to complete training to be a running coach so I can help others in similar positions to me to get fitter. My final goal is to be able to do 5 pull ups as I've never been able to do 1.
Whats your favourite James Fitness memory?
I have so many amazing memories. Doing assault courses with the team dragging me up a huge wall, learning to hoola hoop with Valerie and most special completing my first 10k in under an hour.
My husband is a runner so he was a member of James's running group. He saw the advert for the trial and said to me, "why dont you try this. We will do it together for a month to see if you like it and you will get to know the people there."
My response was " I'll go with you but I wont be able to do much and I dont like getting sweaty. "
Off we went to have a look and a chat with James.
My first impression was ok I'll do it for a month just to please my husband and his enthusiasm to get me active. I went for about 2 weeks and did not like it at all. Now after 9 months I have to say I love it. I've made lots of new friends and reunited with some old friends. Boxercise is my favourite. I am much fitter, Losing weight, gaining strength and toning up.
I'm not the type of person that would recommend anything if it wasnt good or worth it.
James's fitness is worth every penny and it's TRUE what the slogan on the T.shirts says. I would truly recommend James's fitness to anyone who does not like the gym and lacks confidence when exercising.
My first goal was to lose weight which I did at first. Then I thought I'm exercising so I can eat what I like. I soon found out that's not the case. Later finding out I was getting close to becoming a diabetic I spoke to James and joined the extra accountability group.
This was great as it put me on track and I have continued with it. I'm now heading away from diabetes which is brilliant news for me.
My goal is to get the figure I've always wanted and stay with the good eating habits.
My favourite memory is when I managed my first ever sit up. Lastly I must say wearing the white cotton gloves under my boxing gloves gives me a lot of laughs as I turn into a cross between Michael Jackson and Marcel Marceau.
What first brought you to James Fitness?
I first met James on Hampton Green with his van of equipment and a handful of like minded nutters jumping over barrels and doing burpees in the mud! I came along because I decided that it was time to start doing something for myself around looking after 2 bouncy boys and working full time. I was overweight, tired, didn’t sleep well and felt ancient.
I wanted to be in better shape but couldn’t possibly see how to get there. I’m not a dieting person, I don’t like being told what I can and can’t eat and when and I wasn’t really getting anyway on my own. I didn’t eat breakfast for about 25+ years, drank far too much and smoked on and off between kids for over 20 years. I was caught in a cycle of eating obsessively clean and healthily during term time, often well under my recommended calories, drinking loads at the weekend and going totally off the rails every school holidays. (I teach!) I was pretty resentful about my situation as I felt that my whole life revolved around work and kids and I had no energy left for myself. I had totally lost who I was and I hated myself for that.
What was your first impression and how has that changed?
The warm welcome was the first impression that I got as well as this group of people are a bit crazy, which appealed to me. I had never thought of exercise as fun, I was the kid smoking in the bushes on the cross country runs at school. I’m pretty lazy and wouldn’t have chosen to exert myself in any way but the activities we were doing had us laughing our way through the sessions.
During this time I also worked with people that I consider now to be lifelong friends, James and India included.
I love coming to the gym, a place where I feel comfortable to be myself, to leave my stresses and worries at the door and where I walk out feeling great and a bit prouder of myself for doing it. The atmosphere is unlike any other gym, we laugh, we shout, we encourage each other and we work at our own pace within a group so there is no negative competition.
I haven’t smoked for over a year, I have breakfast every morning now - a shake as I still don’t actually like eating first thing, I eat a balanced diet around my personally recommended calorie intake spread of 5 meals a day. It is as flexible as I need it to be and as James fitness has educated me about the fuel I am putting in, I am responsible for the consequences.
What was your first goal?
It has been a real learning curve for me as I am very much an all or nothing person but as I have been told, that is not sustainable and I have retrained myself to an 80% mindset. It’s a work in progress! This winter has been a breakthrough time for me, I usually suffer severely from winter blues and struggle to function apart from work but this year I have managed to carry on going to the gym and now it’s nearly time for the days to get longer again and I can’t remember the last time I cried!! I have loads more energy, I sleep better and I can have an occasional blowout without thinking I’ve ruined everything and giving up.
What are you working on now?
I’m fitter and stronger than I was 10 yrs ago, in fact than 20 years ago and am slowly shedding the excess fat I’ve picked up over the last 10 years. I feel like I am getting closer to my end goal but am loving the journey. I also keep pushing the end goal back as I realise I can achieve more that I dreamed possible! Watch this space for a future flat stomach!
What’s your favourite JF memory?
I can’t pinpoint a favourite JF memory as I have enjoyed each different stage of your evolution (which I am proud to be a part of), the green, the church halls, the park and now your fantastic gym. I will never forget working out on my 38th birthday when you made us do 38 of everything James... not sure it’s a favourite memory though 🤣
It’s fair to say though I wouldn’t be the person I am today with JF in my life and I will be eternally grateful.
Jo Finch (40)
What brought you to James Fitness in the first place? I came to James fitness as liked it was a smaller gym so gave me confidence to just walk through the door and i had to change my life to feel fitter and healthier.
What was your first impression and how has that changed? My first impression was I felt so welcomed, that this was something I could do as felt the support from first instance . That hasn't changed the only thing that has changed it that the people that you meet also are a massive support such a lovely place to be not alone in a gym where I would have no clue.
What was your first goal? To have more days feeling healthy and not feel so sluggish and unhealthy.
What are you working on now? I'm still working on feeling healthier and being fitter but I already feel so much better and seeing the difference.
Whats your favourite James Fitness memory? My favourite memory is the whole experience i never thought I would enjoy going to the gym and it's given me a focus through all the hard times lately which proves what a fantastic place it is .
What brought you to James Fitness in the first place? I first started coming to James fitness when I lost my way in fitness and diet. I saw a post on Facebook about small group PT sessions and thought that sounded ok for me rather than the usual gym which made me so uncomfortable and out of place .
What was your first impression and how has that changed? My first day at James Fitness was a very nervous one for me, but as soon as I walked in and meet James it all changed . James made me feel so comfortable and welcome and made my first gym session enjoyable and fun and I couldn’t wait for the next one . Over years of coming James has educated me and my brain to enjoy food in a healthy way and without diet along with now being able to fuel my body correctly . I have meet just the most amazing people and have made some lovely friends through the gym and I can honestly say we laugh so much that I forget I’m working out , we listen to reach others problems , give out hugs were needed and encouraged each other all the time . The atmosphere at James Fitness is unlike any other gym I have ever been too .
What was your first goal? I feel healthier now than years ago , my weight and fitness goes up and down but I feel with all that James has taught me about food and nutrition I would like to achieve a stable 90% all the time .
What are you working on at the moment? I am now fitter than I have ever been , I’m eating and sleeping better and I have lots more energy and am feeling happier about everything, I feel I could be even fitter and I never say no so let’s see what 2020 brings. I love the gym that much that I am at present training to be a PT trainer , I have completed my level 2 and now only have 2 exams left to complete level 3 and then I am looking forward to working with James And his crew at James Fitness .
Whats your favourite James Fitness memory I don’t really have a favourite , too many fun times I guess , but a personal memory for me would be James coaching me and making me believe I could run a marathon, thanks James as without your help I couldn’t of done it .Not only did I finish it but also In a time I could never imagine . Believe in yourself and you will succeed.
Q1 What brought you to James Fitness in the first place?
I had recently moved to the area and left my gym back in Thanet. I was struggling with the stress of work. I was running twice a week but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to get faster and start racing again but needed to lose weight too. Lost weight before doing food replacement diets but I was fed up not eating ‘real’ food.
Q2 What was your first impression and how has that changed?
I was sceptical at first. How could I lose weight but eat so much! I was so used to starving myself. I also really didn’t think I had time to exercise with a very demanding job, a young child at home and already running twice a week.
Now, it is just become part of my weekly routine. I write my sessions in my diary like I would any meeting at work. I also write it in our family calendar so my family know when I’m not in.
I was worried that everyone would be fitter than me. JF is full of like minded, friendly people on the same journey as you
Q3 What was your first goal? To lose weight and in time as a result of this improve my running times.
Q4 What are you working on now? Having lost 2 stone I’m now working on maintaining that weight loss. Gaining muscle and losing more fat.
Q5 What’s your favourite JF memory?
Running on the treadmill and James pushing it up to 11 I think. My partner at the time was egging me on and then once I had finished (nearly flying off the end of the treadmill I might add! ) everyone clapped. I felt so supported.
What brought you to James Fitness in the first place?
I first came to James fitness not necessarily because I wanted to it was because my husband had been telling me about the 30 day trial and thought it would be a good ideas for me to try. I eventually agreed. By the time I agreed it was too late. No more places. James soon contacted me and asked if I would like to go in and have a chat. So I reluctantly did. I felt extremely anxious. This was short lived as I was met by a man who was very warm and enthusiastic about what he had to offer at his gym.
What was your first impression and how has that changed
My first impression was one of great doubt. Here was a man telling me all the things I wanted to hear. I can be fit, I can lose weight. But seriously eating 1700 calories. I didn’t think so. I was told I will fit in people who go to James fitness are lovely and friendly. So after a few months my doubts have left. I am getting fit, I am losing weight and I have not met anybody that hasn’t been friendly or encouraging. I can honestly say that I would never have uttered those words (I am looking forward to my gym session). I have been converted because it’s not a normal gym.
What was I your first goal
My first goal was initially walking into a session. Not great at walking into a room full of people I don’t know. This goal was soon achieved because everybody made me feel welcome. I have many goals so I break them down into small achievable goals. My first real goal was to lose some weight, become both physical and mentally stronger. This is all coming together. I’m not there yet but I am on my way.
What are you working on now?
Now I have the bricks in place of exercise and calories I am working on not going back to old habits. Emotional eating being the hardest one to break.
What’s your favourite JF memory
So far I think my favourite memory has to be the reaction I got when I lost my first half stone. I got a certificate which I have to be honest I’m not someone who will make a whole lot of effort or show any enthusiasm about getting stickers or certificates. James put it on face book which initially I grumped about. It’s very easy for people to do a thumbs up or congratulate you on face book. What was lovely was that as I saw people at the gym they said well done, congratulations. They had seen it on Facebook but they had also remembered. I wasn’t just a number or a face on face book. Everybody that spoke to me about it seemed genuinely happy for me. Nice feeling.
Lorraine Green (54)