YMCA Club member Carlton Cassius tells us about his fitness journey, which took him from never doing any exercise at all to hitting the gym up to four times per week. With the help of group exercises and Club PT Angela Rey, he learnt how to create a routine that he could stick to.
- Why did you decide to incorporate fitness into your life?
I just suddenly realised that everything I will ever do for the rest of my life will involve my body, so I had better start looking after it. Before, I never went to the gym or did any form of regular exercise.
- How did you get started?
I initially had no idea how to begin going to the gym, what exercises I should start with or even what outcome I wanted out of this. So I decided to seek help in the form of group exercise and then a personal trainer.
- Tell us about the most difficult obstacles you’ve encountered on your journey?
Nutrition for my body type is a constant struggle, I love all food but eating healthily and maintaining my body requirements with training is and was hard work. External influences have also been a big disruption to my fitness journey, namely friends, family and work. It’s hard trying to find a balance between sticking to your goals and also trying to eliminate the pressure of unhealthy social behaviour.
- How did you overcome these obstacles?
All of my obstacles have been overcome by simply sticking to the plan and constantly reminding myself why I began my fitness journey, which was to increase the level of priority of my own physical and mental wellbeing. Fitness is about being not only physically strong, but also mentally strong.
- How many times per week do you train now? How many times were you doing at the beginning?
In the very beginning I started very slow and only trained about twice a week. My routine was a one half an hour class and a home circuit with kettlebells. Now I train up to four times a week.
- What exercises did you start with?
Kettle bell – Squats, lunges, Swings, rows, military press and press ups
- What exercises are part of your regular routine now?
Squats, deadlifts, overhead press, bench press, lunges, military press, YTE extensions, upright rows, bicep curls, pull ups, rowing, running (pretty much everything!)
- What’s been the most positive change in your life since?
Since I have started including fitness into my life my sleeping pattern has improved, I am physically stronger, and I am also more self-aware in terms of my mobility and technique.
- How has YMCA helped you and your journey?
The YMCA Club staff have been incredibly supportive to me throughout my entire journey. I desperately needed guidance when I first walked into the gym and their advice on nutrition, technique and words of encouragement have been invaluable. Fitness is so personal, so it was nice to have a place where I was comfortable to be a beginner.
- Do you think the YMCA Club is quite a good place for new gym goers?
There are a great amount of diverse and fun group classes at the Club, which for me was a great way to start my journey as I felt totally comfortable making mistakes and being amongst other newbies. The instructors are really helpful and are always willing to help you if you have any questions so it is the perfect place for beginners.
- Will you stick to your fitness plan?
- Do you have any advice for gym-newbies? How would you encourage them to get into fitness?
Find a place where you feel comfortable, ask questions, don’t be afraid to try out something new and make sure you pick a routine that is challenging but also enjoyable! If you are scared of where or how to begin just try out a group exercise class. Whatever you do, don’t let outside obstacles or your own personal fears get in the way of achieving your goals.