Unknown anxiety…

We’re 2 weeks into lockdown 2.0… how are you doing/feeling?

Even though this latest lockdown has been given a 4 week cap, it’s hit people a lot harder. Unlike first time around we’ve not got the good weather and long days/evenings, we’ve come out of that seriously long slog… things felt like they were getting back to old normal… and then BOOM… we’re given another massive blow – to put it mildly!! This level of uncertainty and unknowns IS going to create anxieties.

Now I’ve suffered with pretty bad stress and anxiety over the past few years… I know what it feels like, how it can come out in its various forms (physical, psychological and behavioural) and how that has looked and feels for me… and this is different for everybody. What I am seeing and hearing from most people is that they are suffering… but don’t necessarily know it. If you’ve not suffered with it before, knowingly, you are most likely passing it off as other things.         

Anxiety is the feeling you have when you think that something unpleasant is going to happen in the future. Other words such as feeling ‘apprehensive’, ‘uncertain’, ‘nervous’ and ‘on edge’ (everything that Corona is kicking up) also provide a good description of feelings linked to anxiety. Anxiety is completely normal and something that all human beings experience from time to time, when faced with situations that are difficult or threatening. The word ‘anxiety’ is often used to cover a broad range of experiences and is linked with emotions such as fear and worry. In fact, ‘fear’ and ‘anxiety’ are almost interchangeable terms. Anxiety itself can be a helpful emotion, as it can help you to prepare for events ahead as well as improving your performance. However, anxiety can become so severe and intense at times that it becomes debilitating and starts to restrict daily routine and life as a whole… and this is what we all need to watch out for!

Knowledge is power, as the saying goes… and so understanding more about anxiety, what it can look and feel like, what can cause it and how you can cope and manage it… can only be a good thing.  

Here’s just some of the signs and symptoms…  

Physical: muscle tension, chest pain, abdominal discomfort, hot and cold flushes, skin disorders, back pain, increased resting heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure, dizziness, weight change.

Emotional: depression, irritability, anger, boredom, feelings of helplessness.

Mental: irrational thoughts, lack of focus, paralysed state of panic, low self-esteem, overly self-critical.  

Behavioural: changes to eating patterns, social withdrawal, aggression, mood swings, sleep changes.    

IF… anxiety and chronic stress are left untreated / unaddressed, it can have a significant impact on long-term health… leading to depression, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, some cancers, osteoporosis, IBS to name a few… long-term exposure to the ‘fight or flight’ response results in the release of cortisol, a catabolic hormone that suppresses the immune system – really not good!  

Management of anxiety…

Because the reasons and root causes of anxiety and stress can vary so much from person to person; different circumstances, life events, traumas etc. the management has to be individualised to a degree. What works for one person, might not be the best course of action for the next… you need to pick yourself apart and very often do a combination of things to address and manage different aspects. Some of the most common management techniques and therapies include:

  • Exercise – a biggie! Exercise is that escape / switch-off from stressors and endorphins give the best boost. Exercise is as good as antidepressants for mild-moderate anxiety and depression (this is not saying that if you are on medication you can stop taking it and just exercise).
  • Breathing and relaxation exercises and techniques – something that is so simple and can help in an instant as anxiety and stress builds. When my anxiety was at it’s worst I would do the Benson breathing exercise and always listened to a guided mediation before bed or first thing in the morning (and still do this now). I listen to the same ones over and over, and now I can’t get the full way through before I’m away with the fairies.
  • Counselling and talking therapies – opening up to someone impartial about life events and traumas can be so beneficial. Counselling is a way to help you process and deal with difficult things/feelings, understanding how to process them and move forwards, how to deal with them as they come up in future. I’m a big fan and encourager of this, talking and opening up to whoever you feel comfortable with can help so much.
  • Diet, caffeine and alcohol – eat a sensible/balanced diet, fluctuations in blood sugar / snacking can produce the same symptoms as anxiety. As can consuming too much caffeine, and the aftereffects of drinking too much alcohol (100% the alcohol effect gets worse as you get older!).
  • Complementary therapies – massage therapy, reflexology, acupuncture, reiki; all of the above can help to alleviate stress and anxiety, alongside other management methods. I am a massive advocate of complementary therapies. They have helped me greatly, reiki in particular. Reiki and exercise are my must haves in life. I go to my good friend, Jane, weekly, she’s the best! Read more about her services and reiki here.    
  • Medication – depending on how bad your anxiety and stress is, it may be that you have tried various/numerous methods of self-help and your anxiety levels are still high. If this is the case, the best course may be medication, and this is something that you should seek advice from your GP.

Self-help resources and information

Anxiety UK – have produced a comprehensive Understanding Anxiety Guide with information about what anxiety is, understanding symptoms, treatments and various therapies.

Click this link to view and download other free Anxiety UK booklets and guides.

Moodjuice (free site) – is a site designed to offer information, advice and support guides to those experiencing conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress, panic and sleep problems. Click here to find out more about Moodjuice.

Moodgym (subscription site – £21 for 12 months) – moodgym is an interactive self-help book which helps you to learn and practise skills which can help to prevent and manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. Click here to find out more about Moodgym.

Useful resources and websites

Anxiety UK

Mind

Mind – types of mental health issues

Mental Health Foundation

Samaritans

PANDAS – PND Awareness and Support  

I hope this information; downloads, links for further information and support helps… speak up and reach out if you are struggling, always.

If you’re wanting to get more active, exercise and start PT or classes… get in touch. Follow the links below for more information on classes and sessions I’m currently delivering.

Station 22 classes – currently being delivered online via Zoom

Buggy Bootcamp – an outdoor exercise class for mums/parents at Stubbylee Park in Bacup

Mum-to-Be & Mum & Baby Bootcamp at Station 22 – studio based group exercise classes for pregnant women and new mums


Fighting fit and loving it…

Beauties Beasting Barbells – Stevi (front, right) and Sophie (front, centre)

To celebrate National Fitness Day, we ran a Facebook freebie giveaway… offering up gym and class memberships and passes, to help people to stay strong in body and mind through these tough and testing times…

5 prizes were up for the taking and our lucky winners have said it has been their rebuilding and making… the mega motivation and renewed energy boost needed after a long and tough 6 months…

3 weeks in and they are on fire… fighting fit and loving it!

Here we hear from 2 of our lucky winners… Stevi and Sophie. Stevi won our top prize, 3 months free Gym & Class Membership (lucky lady!) and Sophie won a 1-month Class Membership.  

Here’s what Stevi has to say…

After training at home for months, I was so happy to have won the 3-month free Gym & Class Membership – I never win anything!

The classes are great! Kate is so supportive, motivating and fun, and she’s helped me in the gym too with a programme to get started and focused on. It’s a great gym and studio, so welcoming and friendly, a good and positive vibe that we need in these times. The studio and gym are super clean, everyone has their own designated kit and space to train. I’m loving it and well in the zone!

I highly recommend the gym and classes at Station 22; in these tough times exercise is the best thing for mental and physical health.

Here’s what Sophie has to say…

I am SO glad I won a month of classes with Kate at station 22. After putting on 2 stone over lockdown and losing all motivation, I just thought I would enter and if I won then I would have to use it and make the most of it… and I won!! 😊

Admittedly, I was so nervous about getting back out there and exercising, and I felt really self-conscious. It was daunting for me going somewhere new and meeting new people too, but from the minute I walked into my first class everyone was so lovely and welcoming. Kate is brilliant at motivating you, and really knows her stuff. If anything is too difficult, she will modify the exercise so you can still push yourself at your level.

In a couple of short weeks, through eating well and doing 3-4 classes a week, I can already see and feel a difference in myself; how clothes fit, and weekly pictures I’ve taken. The number on the scales has dropped by 9lbs too!! I feel great for it and it gives me some ‘me time’ away from work and 2 young children. So good for the social side too! I’m starting to feel good again. Even when I’m not in the mood, once I get there, I love it and feel amazing after every class.

Exercise and socialise… stay strong in body and mind through these tough times!

Get involved… come and give classes and the gym a go… there’s a good mix of classes available throughout the week, whatever your experience and ability, you’ll be just fine and have a good time 😊 and a great gym with a good mix of resistance machines, free weights, cardio machines and functional kit… a fair few shiny and new toys too!

Daytime 30 minute blast classes, evening and weekend… there’s a good mix of strength and cardio… something to suite everyone > check out the class timetable and book!

Get started on the gainz train with a FREE gym sesh and try before you buy > get your free gym pass on the Glofox app!

Prices

You can pay per class / gym session or purchase a monthly pass… which are a steal of a deal!

£4 x 30 min classes
£6 x 45 min classes
£26 for monthly class pass
£15 for weeks gym pass
£26 for monthly gym pass
£40 for monthly gym and class membership

For class bookings and passes download and book via the GymCatch app > bit.ly/BrooksFitnessGymCatch

For gym memberships and bookings head over to Glofox > Station 22 Glofox

Get in touch 

If you’ve got any questions about the gym or classes… don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Email: hello@brooks-fitness.co.uk 


World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day… a subject that is hugely important at the best of times… but in these crazy Covid times it’s more important than ever, critical even… what we’ve all been through the last 6 months is horrendous, unbelievable, and it’s still ongoing and for how long… who knows!? So much uncertainty, change, new norms (that are so NOT NORMAL… thinking about it and writing this blog I find myself hitting my keyboard in anger). I for one, still cannot get my head around it… so many of the actions, decisions, ‘rules’, I do not agree with… but I’ll park my personal feelings there… before I go in on Bojo and what potential restrictions may/may not come into play as of next week… anything but making people’s health, wellbeing, and mental health a priority!! Sorry… I said I would park my thoughts and here I am still hitting my keyboard and going off on one…

That being said… talking, sharing, opening up, off-loading… however you want to label speaking, is so important, the first thing that needs to happen when it comes to any mental health issues and struggles you have going on. The biggest and often hardest thing to do too. But my god when you do, even sharing a little and taking that first step to getting some support, it’s MASSIVE, a huge weight is lifted in an instant; trust me… I know. There are so many people struggling right now, so many people that suffer mental health issues (1 in 4), and it is OK, you are not alone. Campaigns like this are making talking about mental health more common, associated stigmas are being broken down all of the time, more people are speaking up and sharing, and this is a good great thing!  

There are many forms of mental health issues, it may be that you aren’t aware you are suffering OR need some professional support, and just pass it off as something and nothing… playing things down to yourself and others. My personal thought on this, is that if we were all to accept/acknowledge this… that 1 in 4 stat above… well it would be everyone!! Life is tough… everyone experiences some form of trauma, testing times in life (different traumas, multiple times over!!), and the degree that these events affect you varies, when these things come to affect you too… sometimes years after, events trigger other/deeper issues you’ve buried… but the thing is, that nothing can be buried forever. We all have to deal with life events we have been through at some point and learn how to process them, understand what therapies and coping mechanisms work best for you, as an individual. Just writing this is whirling up my own anxieties, something that I have shared in a previous blog and talk openly about to clients, class-goers, friends and family… I talk and share till the cows come home and know how much even just that helps. I’m a massive believer in a holistic approach to health, mental health and well-being and on my own healing journey have had counselling, taken part in a group therapy sessions, had/have regular reiki, amongst other things… and exercise (always for my mind) most days. Yes I have triggers, spikes in anxieties, but I know how to deal with those thoughts and feelings most of the time now and know what works for me (I’ve tried and done A LOT these last few years, absolutely determined to fight back and win where my mind/life has been). I always say you should give things a try before you write something off. And again… the first point of action here, is that YOU have to want to help yourself, be so determined to want to face and deal with things… and this can start with the smallest step (but that is a massive and amazing one too!), and once you’re on this road to recovery/healing… it’s just the greatest thing… I promise you.

Click this link to read more about the types of mental health problems (mind.org)

We all have mental health, just like we all have physical health, and just as we need to be active to stay fit and healthy physically, we need to be active on our mental health too. Regularly check-in on ourselves and do things to stay mentally fit and well. We go to the gym/exercise for our bodies… counselling, well-being therapies and services are the gym/exercise for our minds. There’s lots of ways you can look after and improve your mental health, as said it is an individual thing with what works best for you… but here’s some of the ways you can help yourself:

  • Talk – the first thing to do… share how you’re feeling, things you have been through or are going through; with friends, family, colleagues or someone impartial/unknown via confidential support line. A problem shared is a problem halved, in sharing you help yourself and very often others too. People share their experiences too, and can help with recommending courses of action, support services and so on… a great and big first step.
  • Exercise – a biggie… those endorphins truly are a miraculous thing! The health and mental health benefits of exercise are endless… the more you do, the more you can and want to do. Endorphins (the after-exercise mood and energy boost) are totally addictive.  
  • Go outdoors – being in nature is so calming; walking, exploring or just being still… switch off your mind and switch on your senses… tune in to the sights, sounds, smells, your surroundings. The more you focus on your present, the calmer you feel. Be in the moment and appreciate it all.
  • Eat well / drink plenty – your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health. Drink less alcohol and caffeine and up the agua… often alcohol is something we turn to, to change our mood, but the effect is only temporary and the after affects can make you feel 10 times worse. Caffeine can heighten anxieties too.
  • Try breathing and relaxation methods – there’s lots of guided sessions you can follow on YouTube for meditation and breathing. It’s crazy just how amazing breathing exercises can be to create calm. When stressed you’ll probably find you’re holding in your breathe or breathing into your chest. Take full/deep belly breaths and slow it right down. Do this various/multiple times a day, to give yourself a moment/reset.
  • Healing/complementary therapies and some TLC – having a massage, going for reiki, reflexology and lots of other complementary therapies can help so much (they do me!). Having me-time, a pamper and treatments massively boosts your well-being too; getting your hair/nails done, beauty treatments are always a great pick-me up.    
  • Take a break and do things for you – life can be/feel like non-stop; work, family, friends, it can be full-on and often you forget about you, put everyone else first. Take a break (now holiday’s might be off the cards, but a break can be simply putting your feet up and doing nothing!!). Equally, it can be doing something new; learning a new skill, something you’ve always wanted to do too… something for your self-development/soul.
  • Stay in touch and ask for help – when things get too much we often step back, go quiet and fade away ☹ and this can lead to thoughts that this is for the best as you’re no fun to be around or don’t want be a burden on anyone… and that simply is never the case. Stay in touch… true and good family and friends are everything. They will be strong with and for you throughout, they will help you no-end.

Now I realise this piece is turning into somewhat of a dissertation… 1218 words later… (if only I was this dedicated to writing my dissertation all those years ago!). What started out as a rant at Bojo has rolled well and truly on… but I hope this is a help in some way, to anyone suffering or in need of support in these tough times and all times. There are so many support services available on a local and national level, don’t be afraid to speak up and reach out… know that you are beyond brave in doing that.

Here’s some links to services below:            

Mind Support Lines

Samaritans Support

Anxiety UK

PAPYRUS

Young Minds  

Rammy Men

If you have more suggestions for good support services holla and I’ll add them in… sharing is caring.

Always here with a listening ear

I always say that all of my classes and PT sessions are as much about the social and sharing of experiences in these tough times and general life, as they are the exercise… this is and always will be the case. Open up about anything and everything… you have going on, it’s always amazing to see that community/support that is always present.    

It’s OK to not be OK… there is absolutely no shame in speaking up, only strength and inspiration.

Stay strong, be kind to your mind, yourself and others…

Kate x


Pre & Post Natal Bootcamps at Station 22 – enquiry / reservation

I’ll be starting back my studio based, face-to-face pregnancy and mum & baby bootcamps at Station 22 in Waterfoot, in mid-September. In-line with guidelines and time with other mum & baby groups getting back to the face to face sessions too…

I’ll be sharing these dates and opening bookings soon… if you’d like to be added to my reservation list for these classes and be notified with all the info about days/times/when bookings go live, get in touch and I’ll add you to my reservation/contact list.

Read more about my Mum-to-Be Bootcamp here

Read more about my Mum & Baby Bootcamp here

Complete the contact form below with your name and email address, and add a message in the comments box as to what class it is you’d like to be added to reservation/contact list for.

If you have any questions about these sessions, don’t hesitate to ask…

Kate x

Check out pre-lockdown class clips and pics over on my Instagram page @bump_and_beyond_bootcamps

LikeStickersSparkle You can also follow on Facebook, check out our page and give it the thumbs up: Facebook.com/BrooksFitnessPT


Full heart for the face-to-face

Web sizeI’ve been back teaching face-to-face for a fortnight and my heart is full! It has been the best first two weeks, and I have loved seeing old faces and meeting so many new. Buggy Bootcamp has been a blast, bringing mamas together and making mat leave fun and sociable, as it should be. And classes at Station 22 are off to a strong (and sweaty) start, 100% effort from all that have taken part.

Lockdown was the longest time, and it took its toll on everyone! Everyone rode the ‘Coronacoaster’ (worst rollercoaster EVER!), having highs and lows at different points… and the after effects are far from over yet… what it made all of us realise, is that people need people. That face to face interaction and socialising is everything (and something that we won’t take for granted again).

In terms of the after effects, fear and anxieties have hit an all-time high; so many unknowns, lack of leadership and direction… and the media… I won’t even go there (I’ll save my war on them for another day!).  The only way to tackle fear and anxiety is to face it head on, to do the things your anxious to do, bite the bullet and give it a go; don’t run from it or let it get the better of you, build up and let it become a bigger beast. Everyone has worries, anxieties, nerves (however you want to label it), including me. Going back to the face-to-face I had the initial fears of, ‘how do I act, what do I say, how do I be’, after so many months of hiding/teaching behind a screen… everything is like the first time in these times… we’re all in the same boat.

I have had messages from people saying that they want to take part in classes but are nervous, new to it, and not exercised in a long time (especially women that have recently had babies)… and have heard the same from people that are coming to classes, that their friends are saying the same to them too… fears and anxieties are getting the better of them.

So, here’s some of the comments and feedback from people that have come along in the first few weeks… hopefully these comments encourage those on the fence to give them a go, and help put minds at ease…

“From the moment I stepped foot into the studio to do the HardCore HiiTBlast class I felt at ease. I’d never done the class before and didn’t know what to expect. Kate explained every exercise before we did it. I thoroughly enjoyed the class and I felt great after I’d finished it. Kate is a fantastic trainer and I’m looking forward to the next classes 😊”

Rochelle Coleman-Taylor

“I’ve absolutely loved going to Buggy Bootcamp, it’s so lovely being able to talk to other mums, everyone is friendly and chatty. Everyone is working at a different pace, so you never feel like you’re not fit enough; we’re all at different stages. Noah has also enjoyed himself, getting to meet other babies and crawl around the park.”

Rachael Underhill       

“I’ve really enjoyed attending the classes at Station 22 for the first few weeks. Lots of modifications given for all abilities and no judgement/pressure if I’ve had to stop for a breather. Very friendly and supportive atmosphere.”

Charlotte Walmsley

“Absolutely loved being back with Kate and doing my first Buggy Bootcamp! It’s sooo nice to be back with other mums, out of the house at baby classes and more importantly, putting the gym kit on and getting the booty working hard through the exercises. Does the soul the world of good 🥰 Love Kate’s chilled style, varied exercises and the fact I get to do them with my little dude is the best thing ever.”

Megan Eastwood

“I’ve been doing classes with Kate at Station 22 on a Sunday, ‘Sweat the Sins’.  I was very anxious at first but she was welcoming and adapts all exercises to suit all levels of fitness during the class. I love going and don’t feel anxious at all. Thank you for the great classes 😊 anyone thinking of joining one of her classes, do it, you will feel great afterwards (and sweaty!).”

April Louise Talbot

“I’ve been going to Buggy Bootcamp with my 10 month old and the classes are so much more than I could have imagined! My little girl is entertained watching everyone else and the other babies. The ladies are all super lovely and Kate is so thorough through the class, constantly running through how we should be breathing and holding ourselves through each exercise. Would thoroughly recommend to anyone who is thinking about it to just take the plunge! Thanks Kate x.”

Kim McIntyre

“I have really enjoyed attending Kate’s classes at Station 22.  Kate is really welcoming, supportive and encouraging. Her classes are fun, varied and challenging with alternatives for all fitness levels.”

Karen Abraham

“I have really loved every single one of Kate’s classes. I trained with her throughout my pregnancy with her Mum-to-be bootcamp at Station 22 and then via Zoom during lockdown. As a new Mum I am not overly confident being out and about at the minute, but I thoroughly look forward to Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s. The group of ladies I train with are fab and it has been so nice to share stories and experiences with them. It’s the most socialising I’m doing at the minute but love every minute of it. Kate puts so much thought into the planning of the sessions and she is so understanding to my current situation. Baby cries during session but that’s ok, no skiving, all exercises can be adapted to incorporate baby as a weight or resistance. Kate is very open and easy to talk to, she fully appreciates that these sessions may even just be a way to get out and about so you can take all exercises at your own pace or just bring a brew and sit and enjoy the fresh air and lovely surroundings of Stubblylee. I used to be a bit of a flake when it came to exercise, but now it’s something I really look forward to and feel like I get so much more out of it. Thanks for everything Kate, you are doing a superb job!”

Jaimie Weir

“I absolutely love Buggy Bootcamp. I attended Kate’s Mum-to-Be Bootcamp when I was pregnant and became a Kate-fanatic! Her sessions are always brilliant in so many ways. Not only has it been such a great opportunity for me to meet other mums and get out (something lockdown hasn’t really allowed me to do), you also always get a great workout. Kate has an amazing ability to motivate you and support in just the right way. She is so knowledgeable, and all exercises are modified to cater for whatever level people are at. I would definitely recommend them to anyone thinking of giving them a go! 😊”

Arwa Berry  

“My little boy and I are really enjoying Kate’s sessions. They are planned specifically with new mums in mind, the group are really welcoming and the babies enjoy the social as much as the mums! It’s nice to do a baby class that focuses on us mums and our well-being too.”

Danielle Cowap

The biggest thank you for the fab and lovely feedback… and the biggest thank you to all who have joined me for all my face-to-face classes these first few weeks (and have to give a shout-out to all who joined me online for a looong-ass time in lockdown; you kept me sane). For me, the face-to-face will always come first; I am a massive people person and get energy and all the good vibes from you lovely lot. Every class I teach, seeing you smash those sessions, sweaty smiles and endorphin highs at the finish, bringing people together, friendships formed, good times and giggles… it’s just the best! 🥰 here’s to so much more of that…

For anyone that is unsure, nervous, anxious… I hope these comments encourage you. Show you that whatever your level and ability YOU CAN DO IT. No pressure, no expectations, you work at your level… getting started in anything is always the hardest bit, but once you take the leap and give it a go, you soon realise there was nothing to be nervous about at all. If you have ‘any’ questions, concerns, doubts about taking part… please do reach out, speak up and ask…

Hopefully see/meet lots more of you in class 😊

Kate x

If you’d like to know more about my Buggy Bootcamp and/or classes at Station 22 follow the links below:

Click to read more about Buggy Bootcamp at Stubbylee Park

Click to read more about classes at Station 22

All bookings for classes are now online, via the GymCatch app. Click here to view and book classes on the app.

If you have any questions at all… please do get in touch:

Call Kate on: 07875584383

Email Kate: hello@brooks-fitness.co.uk  

Alternatively fill out the contact form below and Kate will be in touch.

LikeStickersSparkle You can also follow on Facebook, check out our page and give it the thumbs up: Facebook.com/BrooksFitnessPT

Check out our Instagram pages for class clips and pics too:

Brooks Fitness on Instagram

Bump and Beyond Bootcamps on Instagram (Kate’s pre & post natal page)