"I have tackled addictions, completed marathons and have a new life I never knew was possible. I couldn't have done it without PureGym." Abbie
When I first walked in the gym I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle. My diet mainly consisted of takeaways, alcohol, soft drinks and cigarettes and I never exercised.
It was around seven years ago that I got myself in quite a state after losing my dad without any warning. I suffered with depression and self-medicated with alcohol which only made the depression worse.
Where I used to work, our company would conduct health MOTs. My Bio age came back as 47. I was 28! I knew something had to change so I signed up to PureGym.
Click play to watch Abbie's story
When I walked through the door of PureGym, all I knew was I wanted to look like Cheryl Cole.
I didn't know the difference between a dumbbell and a kettlebell. I started training once a week and then I gradually upped my training to two to three times a week.
I enjoyed what I was doing but knew I needed extra support, so I tried Legs, Bums and Tums (couldn’t walk for five days) and then eventually turned to a Personal Trainer.
It was the best thing I have ever done. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my PT - FACT!
She was a big ball of sunshine on my up days and a caring friend on my down. She would encourage me when I felt I couldn’t do something, and set me challenges I never thought in my wildest dreams I could do. Her knowledge got me to where I am today.
There is something quite unique about Pure Gym. The staff make me feel at home and have always been very encouraging with my goals.
I started to pay attention to what I was eating. The biggest change I made was eating a healthy breakfast which set my day up nicely and helped my metabolism. I chose healthy snacks and learnt about protein, carbs and fats. I still treated myself - and still do - I just learnt about the 80/20 balance.
In the shower I would find muscles I never noticed before. The first being my calf muscles, then my glutes (bum) felt more lifted and I felt much stronger. However, the biggest change was a massive increase to my endurance fitness.
I love the fact PureGym provide classes as some days you want somebody to have the routine there for you.
Joining PureGym changed my world. I used to walk around with a black cloud, drinking and smoking would be my medicine. I was in a dead-end job which I thought I deserved to be in, as I couldn’t do any better.
Now, I am so happy with myself. I feel my outer beauty is just as beautiful as my inner beauty. I have so much confidence in myself, and I am positive. That black cloud has gone. I quit my job, and now do something I love. I have a dream and a vision and this awoke with me taking care of myself.
Fast forward three years, I have not abused alcohol and I’ve quit smoking. I hardly ever eat takeaways, which has helped me dropped three dress sizes. I now love running. I’ve even completed the London Marathon and the Disney World Florida Half Marathon. My future goal is to get a medal from all 52 states. I've also gained my Personal Trainer qualification.
I have not felt this happy in such a long time. I may not look like Cheryl Cole but I have my life back. I was able to see I was suffering with mental health issues, and get these addressed.
My dream is to become a PT and help people who are battling mental health, and to help people see exercise is fun and not a chore.
Going to the gym is a necessity to my health now, just as much as eating, drinking or sleep is. I want to keep it up. Now I want to be there to let people know they are not on their own and show them how exercise can help, like it helped me.
My top tips for changing your lifestyle
Take it day by day. Leading a healthier lifestyle will be the best thing you will do for yourself. Remember it’s a lifestyle change not a diet or fast.
Challenge yourself. It's a great way to keep you motivated, such as Stoptober, dryathlons, or a 5k, 10k or marathon.
Tell people: Let others know you're doing it or do it for charity. Also know there are people to help, such as PureGym staff who are amazing.
Go easy on yourself. If you slip up one day, don’t give up. You're only human so pick yourself up the next day and carry on.
You can do it! Say that to yourself every day. I wake up each day and say, "I am not going to drink today." I have been sober for the whole of 2017.
We all struggle but there is a big network of people out there who can help you. Again, PureGym staff are one. Fitness people are dying to talk about fitness and their knowledge - we love it! Look at your week ahead and plan your meals and when you are going to exercise.
Also join groups and classes, find friends there to go with and motivate each other. Break your big goal down into smaller goals. Like this week I am going to lose two pounds to get to my three stone target. The two doesn’t seem so big.
If it doesn't challenge you it doesn't change you!
Try different forms of exercise. Try every class PureGym has to offer. Find one you like and stick to it. Learn to enjoy the burn and the out of breath feeling, as this means you’re working. You will find something you like at PureGym, trust me it’s all about the confidence.
I am running the London Marathon again in 2018 and would like to get a time of under five hours. I would also like to be a successful coach and have my own team to spread the love of exercise and make the world a fitter place.