We use the phrase ‘More Than Just A Gym’ regularly and we meet so many diverse people and hear so many different stories daily that keeps re-emphasising this to us and re-emphasising why we do what we do and love what we do.
Meet Laurence, he started his journey with us in April 2019, his road to that point had been tarred with extreme unwavering pain both physical and emotional. Having a bad accident at 19yrs old and subsequent debilitating back injury he struggled physically from a young age which deteriorated further with age and lack of movement as well as weight gain over the years. A family man and businessman he experienced huge upheaval through the impact of life experiences he found himself then as he says ‘turning to the fridge for comfort’ as he dealt with this emotional pain on top of his crippling physical pain rightfully so highlighting his overeating as a genuine addiction. His weight began to increase as his health deteriorated, his pain increasing as his weight increased resulting in his movement decreasing along with his self-confidence in what felt like an unbreakable cycle.
At the age of 62 having heard the pool could help his symptoms and manage his pain, reluctant to have surgery, he says he was extremely embarrassed by how he’d let himself go, blaming himself for the poor condition he felt he had let himself get in to as over the years he felt he had accepted that this was it, that pain was his life! He decided he wasn’t ready to give up and braved his fears, he overcame his embarrassment to break the barrier and try break the cycle he was in, he came to us to enquire about using the pool and luckily feeling welcome and comfortable he subsequently joined.
In his time with us he has made the most remarkable and inspiring progress, having began using the pool a stout figure, hunched over he was only barely able to make it to the front door, assisted by his cane with crippling pain stopping him multiple times before even swiping in. It wasn’t easy and some days were harder than others but he persevered, feeling supported by the friendly staff welcoming him at the door, meeting others in the pool area and chatting he was now comforted by the fact he wasn’t actually alone and inspired to continue by the fact others were in the same or similar situations as him and everyone here was simply trying to improve in some way, their health, their fitness, their movement, their standard of life. His pain lessened gradually while in the water and his movement dramatically improved along with his mindset and motivation, he began to come in more frequently as his weight began to drop and symptoms lessened on the mornings he had used the pool.
When lockdown hit, it was another blow and a potentially huge setback to his progress, he managed his weight with measures in place as well as being more mindful of his eating habits continuing to drop weight. However his mobility was taking a huge hit again he became stiffer finding it once again harder to move as his pain began to dramatically increase and symptoms worsen due to lack of movement and exercise so much so it saw him return to medical professionals and consultants even considering surgery he had worked so hard to avoid. He also found he really missed the social element, the warm friendly staff always ready to welcome him with a smile regardless of their day or work load, and his exchanges and chats with others in the pool which were always uplifting. Needless to say Laurence could not wait for us to re-open, he dorve by regularly to keep an eye on any movement in the club toward the end of lockdown hopefully ringing daily for any updates and managed to catch us here one day preparing to re-open and popped his head in the door in hope of good news. His delight at the news was palpable, he simply couldn’t wait to get back in the door and true to his word was one of the first back over the threshold as we re-opened.
In the past 4 weeks since his return, Laurence’s results have been remarkable finding instant relief in his symptoms and pain that had returned over lockdown, mentally his mood and spirit have lifted, his energy levels surging along with his drive, determination and self-confidence. Within 2 weeks we spoke about his improvement in mobility, in pain management, in energy levels and his newfound desire to do more, to continue to progress and keep moving forward. I booked Laurence in to see a gym instructor having chatted at reception and suggested a water-based exercise program with some structure which Daniel devised and led him through a program specific to his needs with expertise. With the next two steps in sight, Laurence is planning on trying some of our water aerobics classes soon and now has his sights firmly set on moving onto the gym floor which he never in his wildest years would have envisaged. ‘If you had told me 4 years ago I would be here I would never have believed you, or believed I could do this.’ Having lost 10.5stone in the past 2years, gained movement and control of his body he hasn’t had in years, a renewed energy and love of the little things in life, vastly improved physical and mental health and over all standard of life with a remarkable surge in his self-confidence he stands taller and smiles brighter and is a different man to the one we first met.
We are motivated by his commitment to have come this far and drive to keep going, privileged to have Laurence inspire us daily in overcoming the many obstacles which seemed so solidly set in place and honoured to be a part of his incredible journey.