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)