A Former Couch Potatoes’ Guide to the Fitness Influx

I feel like in recent years, the fitness industry has been able to reach many people both online and in circles around me. As someone who dreaded PE at school and just about exercised once a week I wondered if this was due to the fact that our metabolisms all begin to slow so we might not be able to take as much advantage of Dominos ‘Two for Tuesday’ or if there was more to it?


At the start of my placement year I decided to try a personal training gym that happened to be on the end of the street I had moved to. I booked a consultation and signed up for four weeks with the intention of quitting after because I would probably hate it. Thirteen months on I continue to train three to four times a week and love it.

So, here’s what I’ve learnt.

You can do more than you ever thought you could. I found that I was surprised that I could lift weights that I never would have imagined I could. I will never be the strongest or most athletic person in the gym but that doesn’t matter because you will only get better as time goes on. Exercising teaches you to have a little more self-belief. This then spills over into your everyday life where you challenged yourself a little more, even if it’s just with small things, and you achieve more than you were expecting. I only go for 30 minute sessions so I don’t let myself make the excuse that ‘I don’t have time.’


Exercising makes you feel good, it’s a fact! It releases endorphins which improve your mood, so even on your worst days just going for a walk helps to clear your head and regather your thoughts. I found this especially helpful when I was stressed during placement or had assignments due. It’s important to remember that sometimes taking a step away from something that you’re working on, even for 20 minutes, can help you look at it from a whole new perspective. In general, exercising helps me to have a more positive outlook on whatever I’m doing.  It’s also nice to be able to take a break from your phone for 30 minutes in the day.

It helps you meet new people. From going to the gym I’ve met so many people I never would have come across in my daily life from a range of different backgrounds. I’ve been trained by people of all ages who are cheering you on to be the best you can be while learning about each other’s lives at the same time.

Nobody is judging you. Some people fear that others are watching you while you exercise, especially if you’re only starting out, but I’ve found that this really isn’t the case. If everyone is working hard, they are generally more focused about what they’re doing rather than what you’re doing.  I have found that it is important to not get caught up with comparing yourself with others, especially online. What I’ve found works for me is following accounts in Instagram that actually inspire me rather than accounts that are simply just skinny girls. Some of my favourites include – @faisalpmafitness who promotes having a positive mental attitude and @whitneyysimmons who tries to see the good in every day along with posting short gym workout videos.


Even though going to the gym is what I enjoy I understand that it’s not for everyone. You can do anything from going for a walk with friends to ice skating, as long as you’re moving in some way, you’ll feel the benefits of it.


Benita Brown is a Final Year Bsc Communication Management and Public Relations (CMPR) student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Instagram – @benitabrown96 and LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/benita-brown-929911194/