Humans of Goodlife: Blaise McManus
Name: Blaise McManus
Club: Goodlife Jindalee
I joined Goodlife in 2012 after my colleague suggested that training at a gym could be a good way to deal with the stress I was under. I initially enjoyed it but, like a lot of people, life soon got in the way and it wasn’t long before I moved away from my home and my membership.
After maintaining contact with my personal trainer Ted Fox during the years that followed, it was easy to make the decision to then re-join in mid 2015. At that point, I was the heaviest I had ever been.
Not many people knew, but I had been battling mental health issues for most of my life, which had even landed me in hospital. I was struggling with the effects of being on and off medication and without even realising it, I had put on 25kgs. I hated how I looked, I hated the person I had become and I began to isolate myself from everyone. But it was after losing a close friend to depression that I knew I didn’t want to end up like that: someone that my friends had to bury.
Starting back at the gym was all about the small steps. I remember on one of my ‘good’ days, I forced myself into my workout clothes and said over and over again “just give it 20 minutes”. I knew I had to do something, even if it was just walking slowly on the treadmill. I was proud when I realised I had exercised for 30 minutes straight – 15 minutes on the bike and 15 minutes on the treadmill. For me, that was just the beginning.
As the days progressed, I continued to watch people in the gym enjoying themselves and I knew that if I surrounded myself with people who had similar goals and positive attitudes, I could become like them, too.
It has taken time, but I’ve now been off my medication for 8 months, old clothes are fitting again and I feel I have really found myself. I look at the gym as something I have to do for myself – it no longer matters what other people expect of me. I am doing this for me. It’s not just about the number on the scales anymore. I feel more confident, I’m more alert and I am saying ‘yes’ to more.
Everyone faces setbacks, so I continue to use an old photo of me when I was at my healthiest as motivation to keep going. It not only helps me visualise getting back there, but I also remember the transition in between: how unhappy I was, how isolated I felt. I never want to go back to that person.
Even when I felt I had lost everything – my family, friends, happiness in life – my sessions with my personal trainer were what gave me strength. That’s still what really drives me today. After a recent relationship breakdown, I remember telling myself “don’t cry, don’t cry” as I was throwing everything I had at a punching bag. When the session was over, my personal trainer told me it was okay to let go and to cry. I realised then that training with him wasn’t about money; I had actually found someone who cared about my mental and physical health. Even now he messages me after each session and I find comfort knowing that I can reach out to him whenever I am having a bad day.
By sharing my journey and my ongoing battles, I hope people can realise that even if sometimes you lack motivation or are struggling, you can still find that fire within you that you once had. And, no matter how hard it is through the down days, you need to continue to feed that fire to get to where you want to be. I know, for myself, that I will continue to feed that fire every day.
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