A kinder form of exercise

Date: 22 June 2020   Author: Energise Me

Staying motivated to exercise can be tough. For many, it's harder than ever right now. If you're being self-critical, maybe it's time to be a little kinder to yourself. Personal Trainer, Ruth, shares her rollercoaster relationship with exercise.

Ruth running with her daughters, having a positive relationship with exercise

About Me

My name’s Ruth, I am a mum to two wonderful girls, Millie (12) and Libby (10) and I am based in Camberley on the Surrey/Hampshire border.  I have been a Personal Trainer for just over 6 years and have recently qualified as a Nutritional Therapist. I am passionate about helping people to become healthier through both sport and nutrition and show that exercise doesn’t have to be something that is hated, it is all about finding the joy in what you do.  Personally, I am a keen runner (which I know is not for everyone).


My relationship with exercise

I’ve enjoyed sport from a young age, having a good relationship with exercise. I never excelled particularly, but really enjoyed getting involved and trying my best. In middle school I joined the boys’ football team (there wasn’t a girls’ one). I was an enthusiastic participant in school sports – playing basketball, rugby and eventually taking up running.

As an adult, my relationship with exercise started to take a back seat. After I left home, my other passion of cooking took over and I started to gain weight. This was something I had never had to contend with in the past and I found this was a huge knock to my confidence. It led to a cycle of self-hate and obsession with weight.

Through my 20s I did a variety of exercise classes. Whilst I enjoyed many of them, nothing really stuck. I would weigh myself 20 times a day, cry, scream and hit myself because I hated myself so much. I can’t exactly put my finger on what changed this cycle.

Running helped me appreciate my body for what it can do and not what it looks like. I shifted my focus much more to health. My husband hid the scales and I was consistent with both exercise and eating well. I started doing things that scared me, such as training to be a Personal Trainer and Nutritional Therapist. This slowly, over the years, has nurtured my relationship with exercise and built my confidence. It is still a daily battle to remember to be kind to myself and to do things that push me out of my comfort zone. . . like writing this!


A career in fitness

I’d briefly considered a career in fitness in my 20s, but didn’t pursue it as I didn’t have the confidence. However, as I turned 30 I realised that I wanted a job I was passionate about and one that would fit around my family. I was really lucky that my family were so supportive of this change. After  many weekends in London, I qualified as a Personal Trainer. From there I went on to run an outside bootcamp style class and organically I built a client base of mainly women who I have enjoyed training for many years.

I have always focused on helping people find the fun in fitness and focus on goals that are linked to health and wellbeing, not just the way we look.

My view on fitness

I love being a part of people’s journeys and successes, helping them overcome fears or train for specific goals. For some, this has been walking up the stairs at work without being out of breath; it’s a small goal for many but a huge one when you’ve struggled with fitness for your entire adult life. I’ve helped people achieve fitness goals they didn’t think possible. I have trained women through their pregnancy and in the postpartum phase. And I’ve been a shoulder to cry on, encouraged healthy eating that supports not just them but their families too, and created training sessions that include their children or partners. I am very grateful to be welcomed into so many people’s homes and lives.

I have always focused on helping people find the fun in fitness and focus on goals that are linked to health and wellbeing, not just the way we look. I’ve always worked from peoples’ homes. I personally don’t enjoy gyms and know for many they are intimidating and unwelcoming places. Bringing fitness to people helps those who are nervous of this to get fit in their own home, without worrying what others think. It also eliminates those excuses we all make to ourselves about not training by having someone turn up at your front door. I often tell people to put exercise into their diaries and treat it with the same importance we would a meeting or appointment.



During COVID-19 it has been a struggle for me personally.  Only a few clients have transferred over to online training as they have other priorities at home, my children work self-sufficiently, and I feel like my purpose has gone. Instead, I have found projects to give myself purpose including a lot of gardening, creating new recipes and stripping all the wallpaper off the kitchen walls.

I have attended webinars, read and run, but I have days where I feel very demotivated, where I have struggled to do anything and have felt very unhappy. On these days I try and be kind to myself, not get frustrated if I do have a day where I do nothing and just look after myself and my family.

As a family we often say focus on what you can change not on what you can’t. This has helped the children as well as us.

Ruth exercising with her daughters, smiling due to positive relationship with exercise


My Top Tips for fitness in lockdown


  • Move every day. It doesn’t need to be formal exercise; I have done a lot of gardening which is very physical although I am terrible at it, we have created PE lessons, walked our dog, run, done online workout videos, danced and just made sure we are active every day. It is not in the same way we are used to, but that’s ok.
  • Don’t worry if you gain a bit of weight or lose a bit of fitness during this time. This is such an unusual situation so do what you can, don’t worry about the rest.
  • Stress can have a huge impact on the immune system, mental health and your overall sense of wellbeing so stressing yourself to achieve difficult goals at this time may not be the best thing for you. I have seen lots of social media posts about now we have more time we should try and achieve something but, to be honest, just trying to survive happily and healthily at this time is enough. Breathing exercises, walking, having fun and relaxing will all help you feel better.
  • Make exercise, food, and activities enjoyable, it should be fun especially at the moment.


Follow Ruth on Instagram: @redefine_nutrition_fitness and Facebook: @RedefineNF or take a look at her website.

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