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In February 2016 I took my first steps into hearts health club at Crosby aged 22 and weighing 18 stone, taking them first steps was the hardest thing for me to do.

I had been through a few very tough years previously, I had left a domestic violence relationship just the year previous and I was still struggling with many things including leaving home and low self-confidence. My weight loss journey began when I attempted to walk to my local shop (around 800meters away) I felt out of breathe, in pain with my joints and just wanted to cry. After this I decided that I wanted to take back control of my life I wanted to live a healthier life and be happy in my own skin.

So my first big step was to join a gym, when I found hearts it suited all my needs so I booked a tour and went along. I instantly knew this was going to be for me, all the staff were really friendly and they made me feel so welcome. I soon got stuck into all the classes with the encouragement of the instructors and give each one a try. I started with hot yoga then moved onto classes such as body combat and spinning, I also joined into any boot camp classes on offer.

From when I joined in February to the December of the same year I had lost 7.5 stones (107lbs).

However, this was not the end of my journey. I then with the full support of the club trained to become a fitness instructor and I am now very proud to say that I work alongside the best team of instructors who inspired me to train hard and now I can help others achieve their goals. I feel thankful and grateful that I will now be able to help others change their life too.

Hannah Thomas, October 2017

I joined Hearts gym, Crosby, at the end of February 2017. I have joined gyms before over the years but I never continued because I just thought that I wasn’t good at exercise and truthfully I was very lazy about improving my health/fitness. I am now 52 years old and in January of this year I had an arthritic flare up in my knee joints which was excruciatingly painful and being overweight really exacerbated the condition. I knew that being several stones overweight just did not help as a physiotherapist had once advised me that for each pound a person is overweight this translates to four pounds on the knee joints because they are weight bearing joints. The pain and reduced mobility this caused frightened me.

Also in 2011 I had been diagnosed with a serious illness (cervical cancer) and following major surgery for treatment I believed that I was one of the lucky ones who had survived yet here I was throwing away my health and limiting my enjoyment of life due to obesity. Enough was enough I joined a slimming club and joined Hearts. I was very anxious at first worried about my knee pain and also worried that I wouldn’t fit in… after all I had never been any good at exercise and I worried that the trainers or other members might be judging me. I need not have worried and just wish that I had joined years ago!

I can honestly say that joining Hearts gym, Crosby has changed my life! I love going to this gym and look forward to each and every visit. The staff and environment are so welcoming and there is an amazingly positive vibe there. I usually go in the mornings and I feel uplifted for the rest of the day when I leave. Stress of my job or daily life never seems to affect me after a trip to Hearts! All of the staff are so lovely and helpful from the advice about exercise or fitness improvement to the hot drinks and nice cold towels… I really appreciate all the hard work.

Alison, thank you for showing me how to book classes online – I am getting quite good at that now! From the bottom of my ‘Heart’ I would like to thank the club manager Debbie and also Chrissie, Julie, Missy, Chelsea, Alison, Becca, Pat, Tracy, Danielle and all other staff (I don’t know every name yet so my apologies to anyone I have left out but I include you all in this feedback). Also a thank you to all the lovely members I’ve met who are also very welcoming and positive. On a final note I have now lost 2 stone 8.5 lb since January, I am continuing in my journey to get fit and healthy and my knees are practically pain free. Thank you Hearts gym, Crosby.

Marie Harrison, August 2017

I’ve been coming to Hearts for over a year ( although I’m only just getting back into classes again after a few months off at the beginning of this year when I opened a new business). So often when I’m walking home from a class I have an idea of what I’d like to say to everyone who works there and the instructors who do such a good job so basically, I’ve written down what I’ve wanted to say for a while. I hope it makes sense and I hope it encourages you.

Every time we step into the gym we carry with us a story, a reason why we’re here. On the surface those stories may seem similar, we’re here to loose weight and get fit but there’s normally more to it than that. Whether it’s for self-confidence, stress-management, mental health or doctor’s orders, when we climb those stairs and swipe our cards we’re there for a reason. For me, my story was complex, after a few years of ill health, exercise was the one thing I hadn’t tried, not because it hadn’t been recommended but because it wasn’t something I was ever very good at.

But after 6 miscarriages, an epilepsy diagnosis and frequent migraines I decided to give it a go. I was reluctant at first, especially when I discovered no one wears old clothes to the gym any more and every woman I met already looked perfect. I really didn’t think I belonged here but I knew I wanted to change and I knew the only way to change was if I kept coming back. It wasn’t easy, the classes quickly demonstrating just how unfit I was, hiding at the back of the room and refusing to look at myself in the mirror, but with the enthusiasm and encouragement of the instructors I made it through to the end. Even though I was struggling to breathe and looked like I might collapse I felt good, I felt positive, I felt energised. I also started to notice a change in my body shape but more importantly in my mood, my migraines and fits becoming less frequent and my body finally recovering from the trauma it had lived through.

I now actually enjoy exercise and that is not a sentence I thought would ever come out of my mouth. I am not the most coordinated, my face will always go bright red as soon as I start moving and I know I will never look as good as the rest of the women who come here, but I still love it because I’ve doing something for myself. I feel empowered and positive and energised and healthier both mentally and physically. I still carry my story with me every time I go up those stairs and swipe my card at the turnstile, but coming here has helped change the story I’m living now and it’s helped change it for the better so thank you!

Anonymous, August 2017