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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > No. 139 Harness Your Power > My fitness pals

My fitness pals

When Andréa Childs joined her local running club, she didn’t expect to get more out of it than exercise. What she found during a year-long physical challenge, however, was that camaraderie, not grit, would see her through

real wellness

Long ago, I realised that, without a fixed goal, I flounder around with good intentions and very little willpower. Start that book I’ve been threatening to write? Maybe next week. Meet a friend for a night out? Only if the date’s fixed in my diary. Exercise regularly? Actually, that box is ticked. Two years ago, I had my first session with a women-only running and fitness club. Over the following 12 months, I booked into its four-week camps, braving snowstorms and breaking dawns, along the Brighton seafront and at my local park, for hour-long sessions of burpees and boxing, core work and squats. I joined sunset trail runs along the South Downs and lung-busting hill and sprint sessions. Meeting incredible women and inspiring trainers kept me coming back; and, frankly, so did paying up-front for courses.

Then the boot camp founder, Rachael Woolston, upped the ante. Last year, she compiled a list of monthly challenges for members. It was a pick-and-mix of activities, aimed at giving everyone, of any fitness, goals to aspire to – from 5km Parkruns to 100km ultramarathons. It was exciting, but daunting, too. Some of them would need to be completed alone, so I wouldn’t be able to rely on booked sessions to force me out of bed. Others were like nothing I’d ever done before, such as a 24-hour endurance race.

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Psychologies April 2017 - Harness Your Power