Connect. Hear from some of our amazing coaches on their mental health journeys.

I’ve juggled depression since my late teens and have been on antidepressants for longer than I can remember. Although there is no shame in being on meds long term, I was determined for them to not be my crux forever. I knew I needed another outlet to relieve my mental health. My physical health is something I’ve had a fairly tumultuous relationship with, in the past, but I begrudgingly started exercising because I was so unhappy with what I saw in the mirror. it was a superficial decision to be honest, and the idea of it improving my mental state didn’t even cross my mind.

I think we can get caught up in the idea of fitness and exercise being exclusive to appearance, but the benefits drive so much deeper than we first think. It was encouraging seeing my body change, feeling myself get physically stronger, but that soon became a simple by-product compared to the impact it had on my mental health. I gradually felt brighter, more energetic and more self-assured. I now know that I can use fitness as a tool to facilitate my mental health and complement my life. It’s been my saviour plenty of times when I’ve felt like just closing the curtains and sleeping the day away. I find comfort in taking time to focus solely on myself, whether that’s for just 15 minutes or a full 45-minute sweat with my TRIB3 team. Fitness keeps me focussed, it gives me structure and it’s a constant reminder for me that I CAN achieve more than I think, even on my darker days.

Daisy Tucker, Coach. TRIB3 Bristol.

I like many others have faced a very difficult past 18 months. The truth is, I’ve been really struggling mentally for the past three maybe four years. We all have problems, we all have challenges that we face on a day-to-day basis, and we all struggle. I was blind and maybe ignorant to “mental health” and would always hide behind the cliché “man up”. I have managed to get by with the support of my family and my friends especially, but I cannot emphasise enough the importance of fitness and training in my life and in managing my constant battles with my own mental health. There is just something about TRIB3; it is difficult to explain but, after every recent lockdown, stepping onto that treadmill or putting the headset on to coach has made me feel instantly better. It’s the atmosphere, the people and the encouragement from everyone. It’s a complete escape from the outside world and just a massive rush of adrenalin. TRIB3 is a big component of my fitness regime alongside getting outside and running. I run a lot and am now training towards my seventh marathon. I feel like TRIB3 is very similar to the last six miles of a marathon, the miles where your mindset and your determination can feel really challenged but it’s something about the crowd and the drive from all the other people around you, driving for the finish line, that pushes you on. I would be lost, and I mean completely lost, without it. I would have really struggled to get through the past few years without my friends and I would say the family that is TRIB3.

Paul Simpson, Coach. TRIB3 Sheffield.

I fell into this industry and this way of life due after suffering with mental health. For as long as I can remember I have had personal battles in my head over my body image and self-confidence. I had never liked the way I look, clothed or not. I hated everything about my body. I never really saw it as much of an issue and just thought it was ‘normal’ to have these intrusive and negative thoughts about myself. It wasn’t until I was asked what I liked about myself by someone else that it became clear that my thoughts and opinions were not healthy.

As time went on, my mental health declined more and more. I just ignored how I was feeling because I couldn’t possibly tell anyone, because who would understand? People would think I was just being silly. So, I just got on with life, except every time I would get dressed, go shopping, try on clothes or try to find something to wear I would end up just sitting in the changing rooms or in my room on a pile of clothes crying refusing to come out and threatening to never eat again. I remember a big rush of anxiety that would bolt around my body when I came near to a mirror so I would just try and avoid mirrors as much as possible. I was very good at keeping all of these feelings to myself, I only let people and friends see me as the positive, happy and energetic character. Yes they witnessed the short temper from time to time and the waterworks (I’ve always loved a good cry) but little did they know about my breakdowns, crying and screaming in the mirror.

The battle got worse - years had passed with plenty more tears, anger and frustration and many failed CBT courses. It was at this time that my mental health dipped hugely, I couldn’t take any enjoyment from anything. I stopped doing the things I loved, and I totally isolated myself.

It’s only when I started using the gym at the local leisure centre that things began to change. I started by just going to Pump classes which I fell in love with and it soon became the best hour of my day. The fitness instructor Rich was hilarious, motivating and kind-hearted. Everything and more you would want from a fitness coach. For the first time ever, I enjoyed exercise. I got addicted to the feeling, the buzz and results I started seeing. So much so I ended up spending 2+ hours a day there. I loved it!! It was the two hours of the day I felt happy and normal. I remember being sat in the library or lectures and just looking forward to the class.

Eventually my mum became aware of how I was feeling after an alarming phone call with the doctor following an attempt to take my own life. This was hugely difficult for us both; she was so so worried about me and that was the moment when I knew things really had to change. I have since spent a HUGE amount of time on being selfish and focusing on myself. I’ve introduced meditation, continued to exercise and am still going through levels of CBT. I am by no means 100% happy and in love with myself but I can see myself getting there, accepting myself and my body and just appreciating how amazing it is. Even these short legs of mine are so powerful and let me do a lot! I’m proud to say I can think of more than just my little fingers that I like about myself.

So, big shout out to Rich the fitness instructor and my Personal Trainer (Hazel Joy) who gave me the inspiration to get my Level 2 & 3 diploma so I could help people and give back in return what basically saved my life. What I do as a coach at TRIB3, and as a Personal Trainer, is promote a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Showing people what an important tool exercise is for our mental health. I want people to see the benefits of working out for you and your mind and not just for the desired body image goals. I want to get people feeling happy within themselves no matter what, because all of us are amazing and deserve the best to look after our beautiful bodies that are all incredible!

Abbie Garland, Coach. TRIB3 Bristol.

The bravest thing any of us can ever do is ask for help; no one should ever feel like they are on their own. For further support you can find support from organisation like Mind or Samaritans.

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