It's just days after Christmas and I'm currently sat on a plane ready to escape for few days. Working in social media means you never switch off, and although I can hand on my heart say I love my job, we all need a break.
We all need time to enjoy ourselves, we all need to get away, see family, spend time with friends and experience new adventures – it's good for us, and with the year coming to an end I found myself reflecting on the last year's events.
Rounding up what UP has done in 2016 got me thinking. It got me thinking about all of the incredible transformations UP has helped our clients achieve, but not just the physical change you see from their 'before and afters', but the inspirational journeys they've all been on. I've been lucky enough to read the stories of our clients from all over the world, and in UP Manchester's case, I've literally seen clients evolve right in front of my eyes.
I've witnessed clients walk into the gym on their first day nervous as hell, but ready to make a change. That nervous feeling never lasts, as the minute they walk through the door, the staff, the trainers and most likely myself, will be greeting them to make sure it's a journey they can be excited about.
That's how I feel when I see a new client – excitement. Not only have I experienced the benefits from my own transformation, but I've seen it happen to others, so I know that UP will only do great things for these people.
Days, weeks and even months go by and each time a client walks in, it blows me away. It may not necessarily be that you always see a physical change, but they are happier, they are no longer scared of the gym, and they are more confident. So much so that you don't even need a conversation with them to notice – it's in their faces, in their posture, and in their attitude. A UP transformation doesn't just change your body, it changes YOU.
I also started thinking about why they all do it, but then I think that the best part isn't about why they did it, but what doing it has done for them.
You might not love going to the gym, and for some of our clients they sometimes never do, but what they do love is being able to keep up with their children when they're playing in the park. They love being able to go on holiday and experience adventures they were never healthy enough to do before. They love that they have put their diabetes into remission (true story). They love that they can walk into a meeting at work, full of energy, confident in themselves, in their appearance, and in what they do. So no, they might not love lifting 15kg dumbbells at 6am in the morning, but they do love that they no longer struggle to carry themselves anymore.
Being unhealthy is never just about being overweight, it's about your health. It might not be important to you that you can squat your own body weight, but if you're struggling to walk up the stairs in the supermarket you should be worried. Sadly I've seen what obesity can really do to a person to the very extreme and it's worrying…it's upsetting.
So going to the gym might bore you to death or maybe it's not 'your thing', but living a healthier life, being able to go on adventures, living long enough to watch your children grow up and have their own…that's a reason to take care of you and your body; that should be 'your thing'.
So, 2017 might be a 'new year, new start' kind of year (like the rest of them) but your body hasn't reset, your health doesn't reset.
I've absolutely loved sharing my journey with so many people from all over the world; it genuinely has changed my life. I never expected that to happen, but it just goes to show that there's a reason why there's all this fuss about this fitness malarkey.
Not only has my transformation taught me how and why I should be looking after myself, but it's opened up hundreds of opportunities for me. Everything from being a Ninja Warrior course tester, training with Nick Mitchell himself (don't worry, there's a video) to finally 'finding myself' again.
Don't get me wrong, there's always going to be something to work on, but I've since learnt that it's possible, it just takes some grafting, determination and some confidence in yourself.
Last but not least, I'd like to thank everyone; everyone who followed my journey, told me to 'man up' when I needed it, listened to my whining and, of course, to UP for having me. If I were to be asked what my biggest achievement of the year was, I wouldn't say it was my result, I would say it's the fact that I've somehow managed to inspire others to do the same.
I would never have seen myself in that way, but the fact that people use the likes of little me as their inspiration just makes me keep going, so thank you.
So here we go…hello 2017, let's have ya!
Until next time.