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Lily's story

"I believe exercise has a positive impact on the way I handle my other commitments."


TW // Eating disorder mention.

I had a lack of awareness in different types of sports and access to fitness or local gyms, but I notice now that a lot of gyms have junior gyms to encourage younger people to get involved as well as campaigns in local schools and clubs to provide opportunities in a range of sports for young people.

I lacked confidence in sport and felt that I would be judged and felt a bit like an outsider in sport so rarely got involved with it.

I also had personal issues going on such as an eating disorder and other things that inhibited me from participating in sport, at first the main reason I got involved with sport and fitness was in a negative way to lose weight, but I actually ended up finding my passion for sport.

I participate in powerlifting and running as well as training in boxing and being a boxing and powerlifting coach. I also enjoy general fitness, CrossFit, Pilates, and yoga but I am open for any kind of fitness calluses and challenges.

Initially, my motivators were negative in a way to lose weight or change my body to an unhealthy extent but eventually my motivators turned into pushing myself to new abilities, increasing my confidence, and getting as many people as possible, particularly young people to get involved with sport.

I have led numerous sporting clubs at my school and supported many young people at my gyms or sporting clubs. I also found motivation through social media and those around me. I remember NuttyFoodieFitness inspired me to recover from meeting disorder and to focus on building a healthy relationship with the gym and to increase my strength and fitness.

For running, I had a goal of running 10k which then changed to a goal of running the Great North Run at 17 for Cancer Research and it sparked my interest and love for running where I am now part of the Alpine Run Project with John McAvoy. I found how I could challenge both my physical strength and mental strength in a way that made me feel good and I noticed a huge increase in confidence in my ability to handle day-to-day events.

Lily and her friends outside stood together and smiling.

 I believe exercise has a positive impact on the way I handle my other commitments. I am in full time education as well as working three part time jobs and while that took priority during my exams and A Levels I made sure I spent time to exercise as this put me in a better mindset for revision and exams.

If that meant getting up earlier to walk to school or spending an hour in the evening at the gym or running in between revision sessions that is what I did.

The key is to get a routine that works for you and although that meant I was busy most waking hours of the day I felt better for going to the gym or coaching than if I had spent my down time on my phone.

A positive was that I took A Level PE course so even if I couldn't do as much exercise, I wanted learning about exercise and sport, particularly physiology and anatomy, allowed me to think of ways I can better my training and I got some enjoyment out of the revision.

Even if life gets too busy and I am caught up with something at home or had a long day at school or work I always make time to stretch, walk the dog or go for a run to clear my headspace- I have been known to run home after lifting sessions or after work.

I also care for my dad who has chronic illnesses and going to the gym is one way that me and him can spend time together in a positive way, my dad use to go to the gym and run when he was younger before he became sick so even though he cannot train as much now he comes to the gym to spot me on bench press and this allows me to see him. Even if I didn't see him for days if he hadn't been on his phone or hadn't been in touch, I meet him at the gym and see him.

Exercise is a form of motivation as well as a stress reliever for everyday life. I don't get stressed very often and when people ask me what my secret is I say exercise! It gives me a purpose and allows me to focus on tasks clearly as well as being able to handle the situations around me calmly and rationally.

I would say running makes me feel energised, boxing makes me feel purposeful, weightlifting makes me feel accomplished and Pilates/yoga allows me to connect my mind and my body.

I got into running during the pandemic and despite getting two injuries that put me out of running for a while- ITBS and a sprained ankle/achilles tendonitis- I learnt a lot about my body and the need to spend time outdoors.

I had a weekly schedule of 2-3 times running, 3 times boxing, 2 weight sessions and 1 yoga, these were not to the same intensity as it had been before the pandemic, but it allowed me to expand my knowledge of my sports.

Instead of using barbells, weights and sparring or pad work it now consisted of body weight exercises, shadow boxing, skipping and 2kg dumbbell exercises. I also regularly went on walks and spent a lot of time outdoors, the pandemic was in many ways awful, but it did allow me to experience some positive situations such as taking control in my recovery from an ED.

If you have been affected and need further support, please contact Beat Eating Disorder or MIND.  If you need to speak to someone urgently, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit their WEBSITE.