"Since going to the gym, my insecurity of doing things wrong has completely gone"- Hannah
I’m Hannah and I’m a Fashion Buying and Merchandising student in Manchester. I’ll be representing my area as Miss Manchester International 2018 at the finals of the UK Power Pageant in June. Making it to the finals has motivated me to get back into shape and feel healthy again. I’ll be documenting my fitness journey on Instagram so stay tuned for regular updates at: @missmanchesterinternational18.
I’ve always been petite but looking back at old pictures of myself I can see how untoned I am now and didn’t even realise this was happening.
My main areas of focus I think are my tummy and legs but I’d also like to focus on my arms too.
I’m happy with my current size but would love to be more toned in these areas. Apart from visible changes, I want to work on my strength and overall mentality and motivation levels.
The idea of being able to achieve these goals is the most exciting part but I need to remember that results won’t happen overnight. I’m quite a hands-on person and love to get things done so I think this journey will mostly test my patience and dedication long-term.
New Year, New Goals
Over the past couple of years I’ve been focusing my energy elsewhere such as studying and work and catching up with my Northern friends. I’d fallen into the trap of an unsteady sleeping pattern which comes with having lots of quick fix meals (including takeaways after a night out). Having the motivation to exercise after working late nights has been a struggle.
Since the New Year I have been trying to get myself back into a routine of a good breakfast, lunch and dinner.
As I’m constantly on the go, I’ve been searching some meal prep recipes online. My idea is, the more prepared I am, the easier the transition into a fit lifestyle will be - it’s just putting it into action and being into that routine which is going to be challenging.
I’ve been experimenting with different meal prep ideas and I’ve found it hard to balance flavours and creating dishes that keep me feeling full. I’m a big fan of poached eggs for breakfast at the moment. I’ll put them with wholemeal toast and some kale with pepper and chia.
For lunch or dinner one of my favourite recipes I posted about on Instagram is a simple chicken fillet, chickpea and purple sprouting broccoli dish. I love cooking chicken in lemon and chilli flakes!
When I cook, I experiment with whatever seasonings I have handy.
It’s fun to try out new flavours and makes healthy eating a bit more interesting.
I’m not really a snacker so if I’m feeling hungry, I’ll cut up some vegetables and have them with hummus or I’ll make a smoothie. I love a morning or pre-workout smoothie with wild berries, banana, and a spoonful of superfood powder.
I’ve found the PureGym blog really useful for finding recipes and healthy alternatives too so I’d recommend checking it out to anyone that might be struggling with ideas.
At the moment, I feel my biggest weakness is trying to kick the habit of thinking I’ll just have ‘one more hour’ in bed and scheduling my workouts into my day. Luckily, the PureGym I go is open 24 hours, which gives me the freedom to work out whenever I want and I don’t have to worry about getting my workout in before closing times.
Stepping into the gym
My first visit to the gym was really fun and I was made to feel so welcome. I booked in for a general induction with a personal trainer who showed me around the gym and walked-through all the pieces of equipment. I returned later the same day for a circuit training class. It was so intense but I learned a lot about myself, especially areas I need to improve on.
The more I started going to the gym the more I realised that everyone is in the same boat and the insecurity of doing things wrong went away completely.
I remember asking how to turn on a treadmill and had no shame in doing so! The staff are so helpful and I can’t think of a time that I’ve felt awkward being in the gym. The equipment is always in amazing condition too which makes being there that bit more enjoyable.
The first few weeks
Over the first few weeks I went to try some of the classes, including circuits, cycle and yoga classes.
I love the 6:30am circuit classes as they really start my day off and get me full of motivation.
Cycle class was harder than I expected but I felt really good to push myself and try something different. I love the Sunday yoga sessions that help me relax and wind down from a busy week. There are lots of other classes I want to try but for now I think I want to focus on working out independently and becoming more confident using different pieces of equipment on my own to build up my own routine now.
Taking a break to enjoy the sun
I spent 12 days in Italy which was a work out in itself with all the walking I did! Even though I went away on holiday, I still packed my workout clothes so I could get in an odd workout when I could. I did a morning workout in Rome which was amazing. As the hotels I stayed at didn’t have a gym facility, it was useful to have my resistance band handy for my workouts. I did a selection of squats, lunges, leg extensions, hands to elbow plank. It rained for a fair few days to the point where we couldn’t go outside but all of these work outs can be done anywhere, even in your hotel room.
I find it’s best to get a workout in when you wake up as it helps prepare you for the day.
And as for my diet – it consisted of everything typically Italian! I could not go without enjoying the food. The trip began with mainly pasta dishes, moving on to pizza in Naples, and lots of meat and fish the more south I travelled. To be honest the food was amazing quality and always prepared with fresh ingredients - even the pizza.
So even if I wasn't eating the healthiest of foods, I just kept mindful of having everything in moderation and was careful with my portion sizes to stay on track.
I don’t drink anything apart from water and coffee (wine of course being an exception) so I think overall I did quite well. The biggest weakness for me was the cheese! Mozzarella and buffalo are my absolute favourites! The only advice I can give to someone is to remember your goals and don’t over face yourself.
Finding the motivation to work out post-holiday
I've been stuck in holiday mode for the last few days since arriving back from holiday. I'd been finding it hard to find the motivation and time to get back in the gym as I've been catching up with uni work as well.
I had a look on the PureGym blog and found some really useful posts about nutrition and work outs which was motivating! I didn't realise how much useful content there was on the blog so it's worth a read.
That aside I did a good work out with personal trainer, Steven, who introduced me to the free weights area and wrote everything down in a plan for me to refer to when working out independently.
This one to one helped with my knowledge and made me more confident being in the free weights area!
This included using the S-Drive, squats (with and without a 10kg bar), decline leg press 20kg, leg extension 25kg, prone leg curl 18kg, bulgarian split squat 12.5kg with a spin bike cool down for 5 mins. I’ll probably try and do this work out once a week. I recently went for a work out with my cousin and it was so nice to share workout tips.
I learned some new machinery targeting abs and core which I will use every time I visit the gym as well as a series of floor workouts and squats with weights. I also like short intervals on the rowing machine as well as the S drive to warm up.
My new aim is to workout every other day ensuring I leave a day for my body to recover.
It’s less than 4 months until the United Kingdom Power Pageant finals and it’s time to step up my game and get serious.
Follow Hannah's fitness journey on her instagram and stay tuned for more updates from Hannah on our blog!
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Photography credits (first image): Rob Connor Photography
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