What a wild ride 2020 has been. It has also been the healthiest year of my life! Amidst all of the pandemic related uncertainty, I’ve experienced more walks (and swims) in the great outdoors than ever. I’ve stayed truly connected to my girlfriend, my friends and my family, I’ve trained regularly and I’ve delivered all kinds of virtual classes and workshops. I am passionate about making fitness sessions fun, leaving participants of all abilities feeling AMAZING, and empowered to exercise with confidence in their spare time. I’ve had a lot of fun, and I have a lot to be grateful for.
In January, I delivered a motivational talk for Manchester City Council staff at The Etihad Stadium. I spoke about the benefits of exercise, and simple and effective ways to fit fitness into our every day lives. I got my glad rags on I smashed out a Zumba session too! All part of the wellbeing day for MCC staff. I’ve never delivered a speech to 200 people before, but I loved every second!
At Manchester Metropolitan University, my first women-only F.I.T Classes of the year went down a storm! Absolutely fantastic energy, and absolutely no social distancing. Although we knew about the new Coronavirus, COVID-19, spreading fast, we didn’t know that this would be part of the new normal, and that our lives would be very different, very soon.
Lots of energised people in these post-session photos of my Box Fit, Zumba and Spin classes at Platt Lane Sports Complex in February. I HAVE MISSED DELIVERING THESE SESSIONS SO MUCH!!!
My wrestler friends always bring so much slapstick humour and LIFE to my day at Platt Lane Sports Complex!
I’ve even been to see wrestling matches with them and I had the time of my life!
This is Josey and I in Brighton, ready to go and meet my friend Steph at Gal Pals club night. Little did we know, this would be the last time we stepped foot in a night club before the first lockdown, and beyond! (Totally owning the fact I looked like Dorien Green from Birds of a Feather) We danced to our hearts delight, and everybody in the whole club hugged to the final track of the night, Whitney Houston’s excellent cover of I Will Always Love You.
A really enjoyable Sport Relief Day happened during our final week in work, before the first lockdown. All of the MMU Sport staff got dressed up and gave donations to the charity, helping raise funds for people living incredibly difficult lives at the moment.
As soon as the first lockdown happened, I made a vow to myself to keep taking each day a day at a time, walk my house mate’s dog every day, keep reading (not too much news though), stay connected to my people and stay healthy. A few friends were asking me if I’d do any virtual fitness classes! I went for it, and it was such a buzz! I don’t think I had ever really used Instagram Live before March 2020!
I am so proud to be part of the MMU Sport team. We drew up a ‘Stay Home Stay Active’ timetable. At the start of the second week of the lockdown, we launched free live fitness classes open to all, Monday to Friday, on the MMU Sport Instagram. It felt AMAZING to be part of a team of Fitness Instructors keeping people motivated & moving, when we had no idea how long this lockdown might last.
Participants started to share their happy shiny faces after workouts, and instead of feeling isolated, we started to embrace a real sense of community… People documenting their participation, encouraging each other to keep training, to look after their mental health, and to stay healthy during the pandemic!
So much love kept coming in, which really spurred me on to keep changing up the workouts (and my hair styles) and respond to requests, keeping everyone focused (as well as myself) and tracking their progress!
I moved back to Huddersfield for a few months, and had the time of my life in lockdown with my mum and step-dad. I went on hundreds of spring time and summer time walks in nature with my dad too. Quality time with your parents as an adult is priceless.
I felt like I really got to know my parents more, as mates, not just as parents. I felt so grateful for so many happy memories made this year.
I took photos of my dad in various amazing settings around Huddersfield, and put them into a book for his birthday, titled “Lockdown Walks with Dad – 2020” This photo (above) with my sunset shadow on his back was on the front cover.
I delivered a virtual talk about ‘Improving LGBTQ+ Inclusivity in Sport and Physical Activity’ for the Chartered Institute for Sport and Physical Activity. It was an honour and a real privilege. Thank you for having me Phill and James!
I delivered a virtual ‘Dance With Pride’ workout for ITV Pride Network! Any excuse to create simple, sassy, fun dance moves to queer classics and I’m THERE! I smashed out dance moves to tracks by Sylvester, Erasure, Whitney Houston, Hercules and The Love Affair and much more!
I was invited back to deliver a virtual ‘Festival Themed Dance Workout’ in for ITV Feel Good August, as people had missed all of their favourite festivals this year. I played tracks by Fatboy Slim, Deee-Lite, Justice, Basement Jaxx…. and WE ALL ENDED UP FEELING SO UPLIFTED AND ECSTATIC!!!
I was really smiling when all of the comments started coming through from ITV staff!
When restrictions started to relax, I had a load of visits from AMAZING PEOPLE in my life!
Zine maker Cherry Styles MADE AN ACTUAL ZINE about my lockdown workouts for MMU Sport. Cherry spoke of experiences with chronic pain and the ways in which my workouts helped them feel loads better. Cherry, I love it how my workouts helped you feel strong and learn the names for different muscles in the body!
I delivered a virtual ‘Fierce and Fabulous Dance Workout’ for The Proud Trust and I LOVED how READY people were!
I also delivered a virtual ‘FIT FOR PRIDE!’ workout during what would have been Manchester Pride, for The LGBT Foundation.
Loved this collaboration on World Mental Health Day, with multi skilled and massively talented Aria of the House of Noir, and Qi gong practitioner Oskar Marchock. We shared our skills in a virtual safe space with a real community feel to it, and we all felt so energised by the end of the day! Thank you Queer Gym Manchester and Dept of Dreams!
I was over the moon when I won a ‘Journey Towards Service Excellence Award’ at Manchester Metropolitan University! I won the ‘Unsung Hero Award’ for my online fitness classes and one-on-one sessions with students who are struggling with mental health.
I also got into playing socially distanced games of Boules with friends in the park!
In all weathers! 😂😂😂
The gym reopened on the 1st of September and it was such a wonderful feeling to be back in the swing of things. We followed all of the latest government guidelines, with one way systems, enhanced cleaning throughout the day, hand sanitiser everywhere, and VERY HAPPY GYM MEMBERS RETURNING TO TRAIN!
Along with the other MMU Sport Fitness Instructors, I started to deliver more virtual sessions, from Platt Lane Sports Complex and Sugden Gym, before the second lockdown.
I delivered a few uplifting wellbeing sessions for Girl Gang Manchester, exploring ideas around Seasonal Affective Disorder, and ways in which we can look after our mental health, during the colder months, and during the pandemic.
After high participation in each session, I’ve been asked back again! Girl Gang Manchester and I will be doing another ‘SAD BOOTCAMP’ in January 2021 and I can’t wait. I was incredibly moved by the way that so many people opened up about their experiences with regard to the pandemic. We created a safe space to have a rant, and speak about what is really frustrating you at the moment, before we explored different wellbeing ideas and tips and each set intentions for the next months ahead, and left the session on a high, after raising our spirits with a high energy HIIT session!
I delivered another virtual fitness session for The LGBT Foundation’s ‘Move It Club’. This time it was ‘Stretch N’ Flex’ and I appreciated the way in which people spoke about their experiences of the second lockdown, and shared about how good they felt after the session. I also appreciated the fact that I the lighting was highly flattering!
I enjoyed taking notes in a British Universities and Colleges Sport webinar with TechnoGym, where various coaches spoke about how to deliver the best online class experience, because they feel that the rise in popularity for virtual classes isn’t going to go away. I learned some new things and also loved the use of this fantastic Maya Angelou quote, which also came up during my Zumba Instructor Training Day.
I love my job!
It has been a BEAUTIFUL THING to feel so connected to people, and receive so much wonderful feedback and thanks from people who have felt motivated to join in on my sessions and to train independently.
I’ve delivered virtual PT sessions and Group PT sessions for staff and students and it has been so lovely to see people reporting back to the group, and motivate themselves during and between sessions. MMU Women’s Cricket Club loved their Group PT programme so much they asked for another set of sessions!
Check out my friend Matt from the band Sly and The Family Drone on his 100 Day DDP Yoga Challenge, also doing my workouts alongside!
There is so much more to say, but I am feeling truly reflective, and happy that I have been able to help people feel good during this incredibly strange and scary time.
Here’s a positive message from the wrestlers at Christmas time!
I’ve also been delivering ‘Feel Good Tuesdays’ sessions for the George House Trust, facilitating wellbeing workshops and smashing out fitness classes with participants. These sessions have been inspiring and enjoyable so far, with a few sessions left in the new year! One participant said that this is her favourite time of the week!
My band mates and I have stayed in contact, with Zoom meet ups and every single week during the first lockdown, and beyond, and regular meet ups outdoors when we can, after the first lockdown relaxed. We have another Zoom meet up later this week and WE CAN’T WAIT TO GET BACK IN THE PRACTICE ROOM SOON! I have missed live music so much.
I went for a Winter Solstice swim with Becky and Alison in Pickmere, and the post-swim adrenaline rush was instant and incredible!
Feeling stylish and festive at Christmas time. We didn’t plan to wear the same thing 😂😂
It has been an interesting year, and I feel full of love and happiness. Stay safe everyone, be kind to yourselves, and be excellent to each other. Thank you to everyone who has joined in on my sessions, and KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
If anyone is interested in face-to-face or virtual PT sessions in the next year, check out my fees here, and contact me ASAP!
All the very best for a healthy and happy 2021! XXX