Sabrina’s weight loss journey
For the last 12 years, Sabrina, 30, from Stretford, has explored and reassessed her lifestyle, her outlook on life and her view on physical activity. Her body and mind makeover is proof that changes do not happen overnight, but that commitment and small steps forward will make sustainable transformations that would last for life.
Even during the current Covid-19 lockdown Sabrina is keeping physical activity as part of her daily schedule. Whilst the leisure centre doors are closed, Sabrina has been continuing her cardio workouts at home, including online live classes through Trafford Leisure’s Facebook page.
Sabrina says: “I’m trying to do at least an hour’s exercise at home every day. It helps to keep a fitness routine during these difficult times. Obviously, I have to adapt some exercises due to space restrictions at home and a lack of equipment, but I’m doing what I can, and that’s enough. It’s important that people are kind to themselves during this pandemic and understand that they are doing the best with what they have.”
Sabrina’s fitness journey started in 2007, when she first joined Stretford Leisure Centre, when she was 18 years old. Sabrina had always been overweight as a child and, over time, her weight continued to rise. She says: “I didn’t enjoy PE at school. I wasn’t encouraged or inspired. This led me to have no interest in exercise. As a result, there was very little activity and movement in my life. I wasn’t very confident because of how others my age made me feel about my size and appearance. So, I just focused on my studies. I wasn’t happy. My parents would tell me to lose weight, but that didn’t work. I had to make the decision to want to do it myself.”
In 2007, Sabrina realised that if she continued as she was, then she would be at more risk of future health issues, many of which she could have reduced if she invested her time in health and fitness. This led her to join Stretford Leisure Centre, where she met with Trafford Leisure’s Level Three fitness instructor and personal trainer, Pete Lockwood. Pete introduced her to the equipment, showed her around the facilities, and created a personalised exercise plan for her.
Sabrina says: “For someone like me, just stepping into the gym for the first time was scary. I felt very self-conscious about my size and had been judged on it for many years at school. I was worried that I would attract similar negative attention at the gym. However, Pete made me feel very welcome. He was amazing and gave me the confidence and the boost to start and keep turning up. He was someone that I could share my progress with, and he’d be genuinely happy for me.”
For two years Sabrina used the gym equipment most weekends. She lost some weight and was now feeling more comfortable about having a fitness routine. However, she started to feel that she should, and could, do more to push her fitness. So, aged 20, she decided to start exercise classes for the first time.
Sabrina says: “This was a big step for me. When I was at the gym, I could just get on with my workout quietly and privately. I didn’t know what to expect from the classes and whether my fitness level was good enough for them. It felt daunting. ”
Sabrina participated in both spinning and pump classes; doing these sessions three times a week. She continues: “The instructors were fantastic. They brought an energy that was inspiring and motivating. I ended up loving the classes and they became my main form of exercise. There’s a lovely community feeling that you’re all working to improve your own life, with the opportunity to make friends too.
A year after starting the classes, Sabrina undertook a new fitness trial – Martial Arts. This was a brand new fitness test for her. It would test and stretch her mobility, flexibility, speed, strength, and agility. Over the years Sabrina has passed many martial art gradings (tests) and is now a second degree black belt in Soo Bahk Do.
Sabrina says: “My fitness and health journey has been a long one. 12 years ago I avoided exercise, but here I am now. I’m older, wiser, stronger, and healthier. Coming to Trafford Leisure’s Stretford Leisure Centre has changed my life. I could never have imaged my life being like this many years ago. Through fitness, I’m becoming more confident in myself. I’ve made good friends at the gym, enjoy meeting new people, and like having a catch up with others at the centre’s café.”
Since starting her health and fitness journey 12 years ago, Sabrina has lost 3.5 stones, gained her PhD in Business and Management, and has recently got engaged. She’s excited about the next chapter in her life and where her fitness journey will take her.
Sabrina concludes: “I’ve invested in my life through working to improve my health and fitness. My fitness journey has been a marathon not a sprint. There’s been many ups and downs, but that’s a natural part of life. The key is that I never gave up and I always remember why I started this adventure in the first place.”
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