I used to always think that working out alone was far more effective when it came to my training regime. I was pretty good at maximising my time so that I didn’t have lots of waiting between reps and sets. I’ve always said that working out is my “me time” and where I get to switch off from everything and just focus on me. Surely having to train together with someone else would totally mess all of this up?
At the start of the year, my eldest daughter was having a bit of a tough time with bullying at school and add this to 18 months of covid isolation. It had not only significantly decreased her opportunities to be physically active, but now it had really started to show in her confidence (or lack of).
Being active has always been a huge part of our family (not much hope with a PE teacher and PT for parents). Obviously I knew COVID had affected clubs/park runs etc but I always thought that we would get back into it, and we did, mostly. However, my eldest didn’t.
Like most parents (I imagine), I became really conscious about how much time she was spending in the house. Actually, it wasn’t the house, it was spending time in her room. When she was in her room, she was usually online, and it really started to worry me.
I noticed a distinct change in her mood, her motivation to do anything outside of school and a real drop in her energy levels. Although I understood some of this was hormones and the bullying situation. I also knew a lot of it came from isolation in her room, the constant scrolling of social media and inactivity.
Having reached a bit of a plateau with my own training, coupled with worrying about my daughter. I decided to sign us both up to a David Lloyd membership having seen an offer when driving to work one morning. Believe me – I nearly died when they told me the price per month. However, I worked out that with a few cuts to my Costa addiction, one less takeaway a week and the promise to myself that I will spend every waking hour there to get my money’s worth. I could just about stomach the direct debit leaving my account each month.
Initially, my daughter point blank refused to train together in the gym. Having signed up to a 12 month contract I did think I had made a huge (expensive) mistake.
However, after a bit of persuasion, we came to a compromise to swim! I think she picked this on purpose trying to break me! Those who know me, know I absolutely hate swimming! Firstly I’m sh*t and secondly I’ve got the frizziest, craziest hair ever that is a workout in itself to try and blow dry! I really do not like getting wet! But, I wasn’t about to let a 12 year old beat me into submission (or pay for a membership that I wasn’t going to use!)
After a few weeks of swimming and realising that her hair was a ball ache to dry after chlorine, she agreed to finally give the gym a go! I was over the moon! The gym was my ‘sanctuary’ and I couldn’t wait to share it with my daughter! Although I was worried she might absolutely hate it and then it would be back to the drawing board.
I didn’t need to worry, as once she had found #gymoutfit on tiktok and kitted herself out in the latest gymshark combo, she couldn’t wait to get in there.
Ill be honest, at this point I was unsure as to how this was going to work. I was worried about whether I would actually get an effective workout…….or I would just be there to take pics of her posing in her new outfit ‘pretending’ to be working out.
My biggest worry was whether it would end up just being a social workout. In that case I would need to find additional time to go back and workout ‘properly’. This is not only going to cost me money, it’s going to cost me more time!
More sweat than chat
Six months into our training plan and I am not too proud to admit that I was wrong about it all! There is definitely more sweat than chat and I realise that maybe I’ve been missing out over the past few years by training alone all of the time. Yes my workouts are shorter, but there is something about working out with someone else that really pushes you to do that extra rep or lift that heavier weight.
It has been amazing, to not only see her confidence grow over the past few months, but to also see her fitness develop! She has hit new PB’s, learned new exercises, been able to see what her body is capable of achieving (rather than how it looks). But for me the big one is to feel that post workout endorphine/dopamine chemical romance that makes her feel amazing. Slowly, workout by workout I have seen her confidence creeping back and am watching her come into her own as she reaches her 13th birthday.
What really surprised me was that all this time I had been telling myself that this was all about my daughter. However, I realised that it was just as much about her motivating and encouraging me! On those days when I would have quite easily skipped the gym, she encouraged me to go! Exercising together has given us the opportunity to chat about things going on in both our lives, push each other to go that little bit further outside our comfort zones and to spend some time together doing something totally different to the normal mum/daughter things. I have been able to show her that exercise can be so much more than what social media is trying to tell her (and so many other girls).
6 out of 10
I read some worrying facts recently about Women & Girl’s physical activity and it really shocked me….
6 out of 10 teenage girls are not meeting the physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes activity per day.
1.3 million teenage girls opt out of sport when transitioning from primary to secondary school.
48% of girls tell us their mum encourages and supports them to be active.
Women in Sport have launched a campaign off the back of some of the stats being reported about participation in physical activity. They reported that girls in their teens feel burdened by school work and social expectations, and at the same time the lives of their mothers are often fraught with growing pressures of work and providing emotional support and care for relatives.
I can really relate to this and a few months ago, my daughter was one of the 6/10 girls. She was also one of the 1.3 million that opted out when she started high school.
I really wanted to do something about it. I know first-hand the benefits that both me and my daughter have experienced from being active together. I also totally appreciate that a David Lloyd membership is an expensive way to achieve it, and not affordable/realistic for everyone.
We (Sigma) have therefore decided to launch TrainTogether – a group fitness class for Mums & Daughters to come to a safe, judgment free space and be active together!
We will be hosting a taster session on Thursday 15th December 6:45pm for Mums and Daughters (10yrs+) to come and experience some #timetogether.