“I work as part of an IT team at a theatre it is a very desk-bound job that leaves me sitting down for long periods of the day.
I've always liked riding my bike, so I try and get my bike out as often as I can. I soon realised that I wasn't riding the bike enough to make a real impact, and that this wasn't quite enough to improve my fitness levels or to reach my health and weight loss goals.
I tried going to the gym but learned very quickly that I felt uncomfortable, I had no idea how to use the equipment properly and couldn’t afford a personal trainer at the time. It became frustrating to go, I found it boring, just repeating the same exercises. I felt comfortable walking for miles on the treadmill, I just wasn’t seeing any improvement and the lack of effect made me feel even worse.
As I was cycling through the park, I saw a BMF session happening and started watching what they were doing. It looked like great fun, and it seemed to me that they were a team. I've always liked team sports. I felt that exercising as part of a group would be a lot more fun and a lot more sociable than forcing myself to do a solo indoor gym workout.
I wanted something that could get me outside with instructions so that I knew how to do the exercises. I liked the fact that I can just turn up and I know that I'm going to get a really good and varied workout without having to think about what to do.
My expectation before my first session was that I wouldn't be able to keep up, and that I might feel uncomfortable. But actually, I found that the instructor knew how to make me feel welcome and adapted the session for my fitness levels, so it didn't matter that I couldn't keep up with some of the group.
I love the fact that it's outdoors (especially during summer), sessions are nice and varied so that I don’t get bored. It's not just doing weights or running on a treadmill or sitting on an exercise bike, you're getting out into a park, running and using different equipment around the park and different parts of the park to enable you to have a really good workout.
I was a BMF member for a few years and had gotten really fit while training at the park, but unfortunately had to stop for a while due to work commitments and an unrelated injury.
I had already been trying to improve my fitness throughout the first lockdown. Once the lockdown restrictions on exercising were lifted, I got back into BMF training, using this as a springboard to then try to change my life for the future. I wasn't happy with where I was mentally and physically. I just didn’t like looking at myself in the mirror. I knew that I was far off where I wanted to be.
I attended three or four of BMF sessions per week and really started to see a difference in terms of my fitness levels. By this point, I'd started to lose weight and I had lost about a stone - I noticed that I could move a lot more freely and easier as the summer continued.
By the time of the second lockdown, I had the drive and motivation to continue improving my health and fitness. I had lost a further stone by the time the second lockdown started. I received encouragement from Redders, and he helped me to keep going during the lockdown period. Once sessions restarted back in the park, I attended as many as I possibly could to keep going and to reach the goal that I wanted to get to.
Since this started, I knew I needed to lose around 7 stone. At the moment (the end of January 2021) I've lost over four and a half stone. And I'm feeling a lot better for it and my fitness has improved 100 times over.
This year, I want to get down to a healthy weight for my height. I want to keep on improving my fitness levels to allow me to just be the best version of me that I can be.
People who are looking to improve their fitness should not think about it too much. Just to turn up to a trial session (whether that be in the park, or virtually via Zoom) and give it a go! I spent far too long worrying about what other people would think of me exercising out in public or being scared that everybody in the group would be much better than me and that I'd fall behind. BMF is a really supportive environment with people of all different fitness levels, ages. And those people, along with the instructor are there to support and help you.
I'd recommend Be Military Fit because it’s helped me to become a much better version of myself. It’s helped me begin reaching my fitness goals and allows me to keep my mental health in check. It's taught me the resilience and confidence I need to live the way I want to.”
Ryan Spencer - Birmingham - Cannon Hill Member