This Girl Can

Having been terrified to enter a gym for the most of my life I never imagined that I would find a fitness related cause that would strike such a chord with me, that I would so passionately believe in and that I would want to share with as many people as possible. But then entered “This Girl Can” is the website related to the campaign by Sports England called “This Girl Can”, which has the aim to “inspire women to wiggle, jiggle, move and prove that judgement is a barrier that can be overcome”. Accompanied by a series of 90 second films broadcast on primetime TV, the campaign focusses on real women who are out there #makingithappen regardless of judgement or other barriers. There is “Grace vs Pace” telling the story of Grace who loves to cycle. She isn’t necessarily very fast (that’ll be me then) but loves doing it and gets out there and takes on the lycra clad roadie riders anyway. There is “Victoria vs Sweat” which features Victoria who does spin classes and now sees her sweat/redfaced/hair everywhere look as a sign of how hard she’s worked, rather than something somewhat distasteful. There is Julie who has fun at Zumba, shrugging off her inhibitions to just let go and have fun.

I had tears in my eyes when I read through the website because I knew that I am a Girl Who Can.

It took me about 4 and a half months of weekly PT sessions before I dared to ask The Trainer “Is it alright if I sweat and get a bit red faced in our sessions?” Until then I’d been holding back because I was worried about looking unfit (Doh.) Goodness knows what he thought of this perfectly composed and never out of breath woman who was paying for the privelege of mostly refusing to do what he asked me to! I wore oversized T-shirts to hide my shape and would blankly refuse to attempt any movement that carried the risk of falling/looking stupid/making weird noises whilst doing them.

And now, through nothing other than my determination and the patient support of The Trainer, I am a Girl Who Can:

  • Do a handstand in front of the VP of my company, just because it feels awesome to be upside down
  • Take on any exercise class that I choose to. I might not complete it in any sort of style but I will always complete it
  • Train with Ironmen triathletes even though the difference in fitness and ability is night and day. I’m doing triathlon my way (slowly and with little grace)
  • I can try a new movement/exercise without fear of failure because if I fail I’ll learn how to do it better next time and the most important thing is trying
  • Do whatever I choose to with enough hard work and focus!
  • Rather than worry about sweating in front of others, a measure of a good session is now the strength of my Sweat Angel!

The transformation that I’ve undergone is difficult to describe without risk of over-dramatisation but suffice to say I feel like I’ve been freed and my world has opened up.

This Girl Can is such an important campaign because I want as many people as possible to be able to experience what I am. In the New Year, there are lots more people in the gym and in classes. But how many people are not there – worried about how they look, whether they’ll fail, what people will think? This campaign is for all of us, because we are all Girls Who Can.



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