Content warning: this post is completely self-indulgent. F45 Carrara is mentioned briefly.
It’s been a good year. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that with so much conviction.
For too long I had been floating through life. Year after year I’d look back and go “where has the year gone and what have I done with that time?” and I’ve never been wholly satisfied with my response (some years I even said the year had “fucking sucked”).
I was a negative Nelly. I always saw the glass half empty, complaining became habit and I realise now I was whining about absolutely everything, even when things weren’t even bad. I was grumpy because that’s who I’d become.
I think things started to turn when I booked my first solo trip overseas and spent a month travelling Italy and Greece with complete strangers. That journey and those people were the catalyst in changing my life for the better (I still love you guys btw).
Overseas travel opened my eyes and it was the starting point in cutting the toxicity out of my life. While it wasn’t immediate, within six months of getting home I had stopped speaking to my on again off again boyfriend and had cut ties with my best friend. And while both experiences were incredibly painful, I know they were necessary. I realised that the people around me were having a negative effect on my wellbeing and I’d finally decided enough was enough.
The year that followed was a rollercoaster. Break ups SUCK, but they’re bearable when you have your girlfriends to confide in and get revenge-hot with, to binge on ice cream with and to tackle the town as a newly single lady with. I’ve never had a group of girlfriends, but I had my best friend and we basically lived in each other’s pockets.
Now that I didn’t have her, I was lonely. I had no-one else. And I wasn’t just a bit sad, I mean I truly believe there were several months I was borderline depressed and socially isolated. I spent my working weeks wishing for the weekend, only to get to the weekend and never leave my room. I cried most weekends, curled up on my bed watching re-runs of TV shows that had once made me happy. It was a vicious cycle that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
The cycle didn’t break until my younger sister convinced me to go to a party with some mutual friends of ours. I distinctly remember getting excited about it and announcing to everyone that I was getting sufficiently maggot that night. That I was always the “mum” of the group and it was my turn to have my head in a toilet bowl.
From my perspective, the night could only be explained as fucking awesome. It lived up to every expectation and then some. I actually went into Surfers Paradise and spent hours in a club, dancing the night away without a care in the world (achievable by being on-another-level intoxicated and wearing flat AF shoes). And while now the thought of that sounds anything but awesome, it was long overdue at the time and it was a pivotal moment.
A lot happened between that time and now. I made new friends, I had healthy and fulfilling romantic relationships, I moved out of home for the last time (hallelujah), I became an aunt (TWICE), I decided to get my certificates III and IV in fitness, I travelled to America and went back to Europe, I bought a brand-new car (which I am STILL OBSESSED WITH) and I slowly started making new friends.
The biggest change in the past few years? The reason I can say it’s been a good year? F45 Carrara. You. Fucking. Know. *All anti-fitness people might as well stop reading now, cos it’s F45-heavy for the rest of it.
If you had told me a year ago that I would be standing in front of classes of around 30 people at a time, talking, demonstrating and yelling (sometimes expletives) at people, I would have told you, you were fucking mental and then almost certainly vomited at the thought of it while my anxiety got the better of me.
I’ve dealt with anxiety for as long as I can remember. As a child, I referred to it as “homesickness” – that feeling of butterflies in your tummy, the uncertainty, the sweaty palms for no apparent reason. I used to feel “homesick” when I was at home some days. It was the worst.
I still deal with it every day, some days it’s minor and other days it takes over my whole life. I’ll leave out the details, but let’s just say it can be crippling. Sometimes I can’t make a simple decision without checking with five other people first. Any sort of change out of my comfort zone makes me physically sick and my mind never stops racing.
And yet here I am. It took me awhile to find my rhythm, but a year later and life has done a complete 180. BRAG MOMENT: my confidence has skyrocketed, I’ve made so many friends in and outside the gym, I feel fulfilled at the end of the day … I’ve gone from having no plans, no friends and no goals, to being so busy I struggle to find time to get everyday chores done. I’m constantly in the gym, or catching up with new and old friends or just being happy doing my own thing.
I owe so much to my F45 family. That place and the people in it helped me take my anxiety by the balls. I no longer break out in a nervous sweat and heat rash when I talk in front of classes. I’m not afraid to dance awkwardly, to shout obscenities, to get up in people’s faces or to talk to people making eye contact. I even let some members hug me (don’t push it). I’ve made so many beautiful friends through that place, I still pinch myself that this time last year I was so lost, felt lonely and aimless.
Don’t get me wrong – my anxiety is ever-present. It’s a part of who I am. It’s never going to go away, but my god I am getting better at living with it. I still have my down days, but the fact that I’ve got a steady hand on it – man, it’s such a relief. And to all my fellow anxiety-folk out there – don’t ever be afraid of talking to a trusted friend or family member about it. Speak up, visit your GP and see what you can do to better manage it. I did, and it was the best thing I ever did. In the meantime – exercise! Your body and mind will instantly feel better after you get moving. I cannot stress it enough.
Okay, I’m wrapping this long-winded post up with a thank you to my fellow F45 aunties trainers.
Some of the A-team (sorry Mel – Toby is standing in for you here).
Mel – the latest addition to the F45 Trainer squad (we have no photos together FYI). You make work, not work. You make me laugh whenever we’re working or training together and your positivity is so contagious. I appreciate you bringing your all, especially on days when I might not be feeling so gung-ho. Thanks for listening to my hopes and fears and sharing some of your goals with me. I have know doubt you’re going to absolutely smash them. Thanks for being a deadest legend.
Miah – you are baayyddd. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I have learned so much from you and continue to do so every day. From the way you teach, to the way you speak to people and talk about life – we’re all taking it on board every day. You inspire me to try harder, and I am so grateful I have gotten the opportunity to know you this past year, both at 5am in the gym on Tired Thursdays, and over a cheeky bevvy outside the shed.
Mark – get around it. I am so grateful you trusted Brad’s judgement and let me join the F45 family. You were so welcoming from the minute I met you, and I love how our friendship has grown to a place where we can insult each other endlessly at the pub, and make each other laugh constantly in the gym. Coffee and dogs are life.
Brad – thank you for giving me a chance when everything was new for all of us. Your faith in me has pushed me to new heights and your constant support and friendship are two of the most important things in my life. I honestly don’t know where I’d be today if you hadn’t offered me such an awesome opportunity, nor do I want to know. You ma boy and I love ya.
To all of our members – thank you all for being so fkn radical. We all have our good days and bad days, but the way we lift each other up day in/day out, the support and constant love, is what keeps people coming back in. The energy is infectious and watching you all grow is something that will never, ever get old.
Big love x